Arago: Exhibits


Women with a Political Mission

Throughout history women have used literature as a way to express a political message. Pearl S. Buck and Ayn Rand are two prominent female authors that used their fiction to inform the public of their political and social causes.

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) had missionary parents so spent the majority of her childhood and adolescence in China. This experience exposed her to both Eastern and Western traditions from an early age. In 1931 she wrote her Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winning work, The Good Earth that told the story of a peasant family in China. Many of her literary works dealt with East-West tensions, and Buck devoted her life to improving the level of understanding between the two cultures.

The Pearl S. Buck stamp was issued in Buck’s birthplace of Hillsboro, West Virginia, at Hillsboro Elementary-Middle School. This stamp was designed by Paul Calle and is based on a head portrait of Pearl S. Buck by Freeman Eliot.

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) is a controversial writer and philosopher. Rand was fiercely anti-communist, and was greatly impacted after witnessing her own family’s financial ruin after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia. After attending the University of Petrograd, she moved to the United States. Her two most famous works, Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), stress Rand’s philosophy of “objectivism,” which focuses on capitalism, individual freedoms, and rationality.

The Ayn Rand stamp was issued as part of the American Literary Arts Series. The ceremony was held in New York City at the spring postage stamp mega event. The stamp was designed by Phil Jordan and features an illustration of Ayn Rand with the Manhattan skyline.

United States Master Collection, Scott 1848

This 5-cent stamp was issued on June 25, 1983.

Scott 3308

This 33-cent stamp was issued April 22, 1999.