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Pearl Buck collection moves to WVU

AP file photo from The Charleston Gazette Pearl Buck in the library in her Philadelphia home in 1967. In front of her is a bound version of the magazine Asia, which in 1925 published Buck for the first time.
AP file photo from The Charleston Gazette
Pearl Buck in the library in her Philadelphia home in 1967. In front of her is a bound version of the magazine Asia, which in 1925 published Buck for the first time.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Renowned author Pearl S. Buck left West Virginia as a baby, and spent most of her life in China.

But her decision to leave behind nearly every trace of her literary legacy to the state of West Virginia speaks volumes, said John Cuthbert, director and curator of the West Virginia and Regional History Center at West Virginia University.

“Her parents had deep West Virginia roots and she said herself many times that to her, West Virginia was America. When she thought of America, she thought of West Virginia,” Cuthbert said. “The mere fact that she made the decision that her manuscripts should reside here — there could be no better proof that she considered herself to be a West Virginian.”

Buck is among only a handful of authors to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her book, “The Good Earth,” was an international best-seller that led to her recognition as a leader in the fight for human rights.

When Buck died in 1973, her dozens and dozens of manuscripts were gifted to The Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation and Museum, located at the site of her parents’ farm in Pocahontas County.

 But the small museum did not have the proper facilities to store the documents, so West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon took them in for safekeeping.

The collection went largely unknown, until now…

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