West Virginia flowers © Author Adventures

Pearl S. Buck, West Virginia’s Prize-winning Classic Author

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), the daughter of missionaries in China, published a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in 1931 that shed light on the roles of women in a Chinese dynasty. The title of that book is The Good Earth, and it has been recommended on high school reading lists for decades. The main characters endured brutal challenges facing humanity, particularly women, and their environment. It was made into a feature film in 1937 that won two Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Cinematography.

Young and young-at-heart readers may enjoy Pearl Buck: Jewel of the East, part of the The Treasure Chest series by Ann Hood, which also has a fun website at http://www.treasurechestseries.com. It features information about Pearl S. Buck in its book “Jewel of the East.”

More Information

Read more about Pearl S. Buck, author of more than 70 books, in our Pennsylvania section and at:  https://www.biography.com/writer/pearl-s-buck.

“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday,” wrote Pearl S. Buck.

The Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Museum

The Nobel Prize-winning author’s birthplace is now a museum in Hillsboro that is open to the public for tours. It is an ideal setting for anyone with an interest in classic literature, the life of peasants in China during the 1920s, or both. Read more about it here: https://pocahontascountywv.com/pearl-s-buck-birthplace.

According to the museum’s website: “Pearl lived half her lifetime in the East, half in the West. She began in poverty and ended her life as a millionaire, along the way winning the most coveted literary prize in the world. She played a leading role in major twentieth-century struggles for human rights and established herself as one of the most powerful women of the century. In all of this, she left a legacy far larger than her classic novel,The Good Earth, and her other writings.”


The population of Hillsboro is tiny and just slightly more than the number living there during the author’s time.

On the Path

Pearl S. Buck’s birthplace is the fourth stop on our West Virginia Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart