Pearl S. Buck International logoGive generously to help childrenRegister for News




Stories of Acceptance, Assimilation, and Discrimination in China as Told in Pearl Buck’s Works

Our new exhibit shares the stories of Jewish communities in China over millennia. These stories intrigued Pearl S. Buck and her husband Richard Walsh so much that each explored them in their published works. The exhibit, "Jewish Flight into China" will run through August 30, 2017, in the Exhibit Gallery at Pearl S. Buck International's Welcome Center, 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA.

Ms. Buck wrote the play “Flight into China” and the novel "Peony" on the subject. Mr. Walsh included scholarly articles about the topic in his publication, Asia magazine.

Jews settled in China as tradespeople on the silk road. They had strong communities and became part of society. One of the largest communities was in K’aifeng. A stele (stone tablet) commemorates the construction of a synagogue there in 1163, but by the 1850s there were only remnants of the building standing and most families had assimilated. This is this period in which Ms. Buck set her novel, “Peony,” which tells the story of a Chinese bondmaid, sold into the service of one of the remaining Jewish families. 

Part of the exhibit at Pearl S. Buck International is a retelling, through words and photos, of one Jewish family’s flight from Nazi Germany into China. Packed in their luggage was a copy of “The Good Earth” which descendants presume was carried so far in order to become part of a lending library established during their stay in China. Photos and captions can be viewed in the Exhibit; read the family's complete account in this downloadable story.

Mon-Fri 8:30 to 5:00
Saturday 10:30 to 3:00
Sunday 12:30 to 3:00
Admission to the Exhibit Gallery is complimentary.

Curator: Marie Toner
Graphic Designer: Kati Sowiak
With the assistance of:

    • Professor Dan Ben-Canaan, Founder and Director of the Sino-Israel Research and Study Center, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin, China
    • David M. Crowe, Ph.D., Presidential Fellow, Chapman University and Professor Emeritus of History, Elon University
    • Steve Hochstadt, Treasurer, Sino-Judaic Institute
    • Photographs by Leslie Starobin, MFA, Professor of Communication Arts at Framingham State University

Made possible by the generous funding from Visit Bucks County.

Jewish Flight into China Exhibit Photos

Print this page and present at the Welcome Center desk for $1.00 off the price of a full tour of the Pearl S. Buck House. For more information, visit Hours and Admissions.

If you have questions, please contact Curator Marie Toner at 215-249-0100 x149 or email to

Become a Conservation Partner

The precious objects in the museum collection need careful attention, controlled humidity—and sometimes, repairs. We invite you to become a Conservation Partner and become a part of Pearl S. Buck’s legacy with a gift that makes history.