STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
In case you were wondering, Bucks County was not named after writer and humanitarian activist Pearl S. Buck.
However, she and her husband, Richard Walsh, did live a notable portion of their lives at 520 Dublin Road, Hilltown Township, raising seven adopted children and numerous foster children.
They moved here in 1934, after Buck had lived in China for almost her entire life.
The farmland where they lived is now a National Historic Landmark, and the grounds include award-winning gardens, an International Gift Shop and the headquarters of Pearl S. Buck International. The nonprofit provides opportunities to explore and appreciate other cultures, seeks to build better lives for children around the globe, and promotes Buck’s legacy by preserving and interpreting the Pearl S. Buck House.
PSBI grew out of the 1949 adoption agency that Buck established for bi-racial children — who were considered unadoptable due to their mixed race — and a foundation she implemented in 1964 to advocate for children that were discriminated against because they were fathered, and abandoned, by American servicemen serving in Asian countries overseas. Buck passed away in 1973.
“She said in America, diversity is actually our strength. I think she would say we still have some work to do,” said PSBI marketing manager Laura Lomax.
Today, PSBI assists children in China, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam that are ethnic minorities, orphans, disabled, displaced, refugees or HIV-affected.
There’s an audio recording of an excerpt of an interview with Buck by Edward R. Murrow that you can listen to in Buck’s office. In the clip, Bucks says she believes all human hearts are born good, and that there are enough resources to adequately feed everyone in the world.
The house also features the typewriter that she wrote “The Good Earth” on, artwork and rugs from China, a massive library (from which she would often lend books), and Walsh’s office, which was originally a free-standing structure on the property in the 1740s.
House tour hours are 11 a.m. and 1 and 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 and 2 p.m. Sundays. Group tours are offered for parties of 10 or more (visit www.pearlsbuck.org/grouptours). Cost is $15, $12 for seniors, $7 for students.
Upcoming special events include a one-hour “Discover the Legacy” program at 1 p.m. April 14, and a “Woman of Influence” Award Dinner, honoring Jane Golden of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts, at 6 p.m. April 28. According to Lomax, the picturesque grounds are booked around 30 times per year for weddings.
For more information, go to www.pearlsbuck.org or call (215) 249-0100, ext. 110 to book a tour.