Pearl S. Buck was a revered American author and her birthplace, located in the town of Hillsboro, West Virginia is a charming, two story, hand-built home. Buck wrote several novels and short stories during her life, but she is best known for her 1932 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Good Earth which detailed life in China at the time. In 1938, she became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature for the same novel.
The daughter of missionaries to China, Pearl Sydenstricker spent her formative years growing up in Zhenjiang, China after being born in West Virginia. Buck returned to the states in 1935 and spent her life writing and advocating for the rights of women and minority groups, specifically Chinese and Asian minorities. By the early 1930’s she had been married to John Lossing Buck, an agricultural economist missionary for almost two decades. Eventually, the two would divorce and Buck would marry Richard Walsh and move to Pennsylvania.
The Pearl Buck Homeplace was built sometime around 1875 and was the home of Caroline Stulting and Absalom Sydenstricker, Pearl’s parents. The couple were Presbyterian missionaries. Caroline’s family had built the home after escaping from the religious persecution in the Netherlands. They came to Pocahontas County, West Virginia on a 16 acre farm nearby. Pearl’s father’s family were also missionaries to China and her grandfather, Dr. Absalom Sydenstricker built The Sydenstricker Cabin, which remains standing nearby. Pearl was born in the Sydenstricker Cabin on June 26, 1892.
Guided tours of the home are offered May 1 – November 1, Mondays and Thursdays through Saturday. You can schedule a tour for another day by contacting the museum for an appointment. The house contains antiques from the late 19th and early 20th century. The 2 story home serves as a museum dedicated to Pearl’s life and her writing. Visitors can also check out the antique carpentry shop and barn which contains woodworking tools and 13 acres of scenic Appalachian farmland.