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Donation Received Of Original Pearl S. Buck Book Illustrations

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Donation Received of Original Pearl S. Buck Book Illustrations

Pearl S. Buck International recently acquired original Anna Marie Magagna artwork created to illustrate Pearl Buck’s 1958 children’s book, Christmas Miniature. The artwork was donated by Jeanne Deuschle, sister of the artist who died January 1, 2022.

Pearl S. Buck, the founder of Pearl S. Buck International, was a humanitarian, activist, and Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning writer, best known for her novel The Good Earth. Buck was a prolific writer, and among her many novels was Christmas Miniature, a children’s book published by the John Day Company in 1958. Anna Marie Magagna was chosen to illustrate the book after her neighbor, who worked at John Day, submitted some of her drawings for consideration.

About the Illustrator Anna Marie Magagna

Magagna had a storied decades-long career as an artist. Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, she graduated from Marywood University in Scranton in 1950 with a BA in Fine Arts and Drama. She continued her studies at the Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

In addition to working as an illustrator, Magagna excelled in various art fields, including as an art director, creative consultant, teacher, and designer in advertising, marketing, packaging, product design, and fashion. She was one of the country’s top fashion illustrators, and in her many artistic roles worked with Christian Dior, Revlon, Dupont, Bendel’s, Bloomingdales. Lord & Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch, Helena Rubenstein, Gillette, Avon, The Limited, Bristol Myers, and many more.

She served on the faculty of Pratt Institute, Marist College, the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art, and the Parsons School of Design. Her drawings for Christmas Miniature were shown in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and her work is included in the New York Historical Society’s “Two Hundred Years of American Illustration.”

Illustrations Donated to Pearl S. Buck International

Following Magagna’s death, her sister came into possession of her art, including her original artwork for Christmas Miniature. The collection includes the original proof drawings submitted to the John Day Company for publishing; process drawings with notes, depicting how color layers were used for printing; and process study drawings.

Deuschle ultimately chose to gift the collection to Pearl S. Buck International. The organization will put the artwork on display inside the Pearl S. Buck House National Historic Landmark museum during the annual Festival of Trees holiday event, which will run November 16, 2022-January 8, 2023. In addition to the original art, Deuschle also donated to Pearl S. Buck International a German-translation edition of Christmas Miniature, and a copy of the book with an inscription from Pearl Buck to Magagna.

In an interview with her artist assistant, Magagna recalled her first meeting with Pearl Buck at an engagement party after the publication of Christmas Miniature. “Pearl Buck was such a presence. When she walked into the room, you just knew someone of stature had entered. … She made an impression on me as a person, because you knew this was someone important without anyone pointing this out.” Magagna added that while Pearl Buck ended up writing several children’s books, she was “happy to be chosen for her first two books … I want this to be seen forever, because I think the drawings and history are so important and I’m proud of it.”

Honoring the Art and the Artist

Pearl S. Buck International President & CEO Anna Katz and Pearl S. Buck House Curator Samantha Freise traveled to New York City to meet Deuschle in person and personally accept and transport the donated collection back to Pearl S. Buck International headquarters in Hilltown, PA.

“Pearl S. Buck International is so fortunate and grateful to be the recipient of such a wonderful gift of illustrations and rare books and the history that goes along with it,” noted Katz. “This collection represents the collaboration of two amazing women of their times—Ms. Buck, the celebrated writer, humanitarian and activist, and Ms. Anna Marie Magagna, an icon in the art field. We are honored to receive this gift.”

“This donation is a wonderful addition to our museum collection,” added Freise. “We are so happy to honor the legacy of Anna Marie Magagna and Pearl S. Buck together through the exhibition of these drawings.”


Pearl S. Buck International® provides opportunities to explore and appreciate other cultures, builds better lives for children around the globe and promotes the legacy of our founder by preserving and interpreting her National Historic Landmark Home.

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