The Pearl S. Buck Archive Project
partnering with the Pocahontas County Historical Society has received
funding from the West Virginia Humanities Council, The Marie Leist Foundation
and The Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation to inventory and digitize
the Historical Archives and the Marie Leist Collection at the Pearl S. Buck
Birthplace Museum in Hillsboro, West Virginia.
Pearl S. Buck, literary
daughter of West Virginia, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel
Prize in Literature, activist and humanitarian, and one of most powerful
women of the Twentieth Century, was born in Hillsboro. Her birthplace, now
a museum, is home to a priceless archive of historical material.
Orndorff Leist was a native of Pocahontas County, born in Arbovale in
1901, one of nine children of Jesse Brown Orndorff and Cora Ella Ervine.
She married Stanley P. Leist of Ronceverte in 1925 and upon his death in 1934
opened a specialty shop in Ronceverte to provide for and educate her four
Marie Leist was a successful businesswoman and
received many honors for years of service to her friends and community.
Her long held dream was to bring worldwide recognition to Pearl S. Buck
and her birthplace. Serving as State Chairman of the Pearl Buck Home
Restoration Committee and later as the President of the Pearl Buck
Birthplace Foundation she worked tirelessly with Pearl Buck and the WV
Federation of Women's Clubs to restore the birthplace, which opened to
the public in May 1974. Marie Leist died in 1976.
Officer, B.J. Gudmundsson, will head up the Archive Project. Assisted by
the staff and board of the Birthplace Foundation, the work will encompass
digitizing the collection, preparing it for public access and creating a
safe archival system for storage and retrieval.
"The Pearl Buck
Archives is a perfect example of the importance of preserving our
information heritage," says Gudmundsson. "A word-wide audience
of researchers will be drawn to the collection as parts of it become
available on the Internet for the very first time. People will then be
aware of the Museum's archives, and the staff will be able to accommodate
visitors searching for documents and information."
The Marie Leist Collection
includes photographs, slides and architectural material that document the
work involved in restoring the author's birthplace and opening the Museum
to the public. Unfortunately, Pearl Buck died a year before the 1974 Grand
matters!" Gudmundsson says. "Her birthplace inspired
her life and her work. She wished it to be a place filled with learning and
useful things for life. By digitizing this collection we honor that wish
and we honor the work of Marie Leist and others who helped her to fulfill
PEARL S. BUCK COLLECTION
Go to Pearl Buck Photos
Go to Project Photos