The Several Worlds of Pearl S. Buck: Essays Presented at a Centennial Symposium, Randolph-Macon Woman's College, March 26-28, 1992

By Elizabeth J. Lipscomb; Frances E. Webb et al. | Go to book overview

8
Welcome House: A Forty-Year History

Peter Conn

Since its founding by Pearl S. Buck and a handful of friends in 1949, Welcome House has assisted in the adoption of over five thousand children: black and white children, Amerasian children, children from Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Brazil, Romania, Russia, and China, children of all ages and races, children in sibling groups, children with physical and mental handicaps.

This is actually a good time to look back at Welcome House, since the agency has just passed a significant turning point. Welcome House has recently merged with the Pearl S. Buck Foundation and is no longer a separate organization. Welcome House is still very much in business--it is in fact flourishing--but now under the auspices of the other major charity that Pearl Buck founded on behalf of children.

Return for a moment to the creation of Welcome House, just over forty years ago. The organization was grounded in Pearl Buck's lifetime of opposition to discrimination and her simple but passionate faith in human solidarity.

She often said that she was apolitical. What she actually meant was that she had neither the training nor the inclination for substantive political argument. Instead, she tended to appeal directly to broad moral categories and personal virtues. This is certainly unsophisticated. On the other hand, in a century in which abstract ideas and ideologies have bequeathed so much destruction, Pearl Buck's more primitive humanitarianism has much to commend it. In a letter of April 1945, she wrote: "I am extremely frightened of . . . any theorist, political or religious. I have deep belief in the average person of all countries."1 She responded to the complexities of the modern world with an impatient common sense, a headstrong belief that human relations, in the end, should be a matter of straightforward and usually quite obvious choices.

-77-

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