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Helen Foster Snow published and unpublished manuscripts, approximately 1919-1995

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2219 Series 3
Contains manuscripts and associated materials produced by Helen Foster Snow, both inside the United States and in China. Includes non-fiction and fiction writings on China and other topics. Materials date from between 1919 and 1995.


  • approximately 1919-1995

Language of Materials

Materials in English, with some documents in Chinese and some photographs displaying Spanish and Filipino content.

Conditions Governing Access

Restricted. Permission to use materials must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Helen Foster Snow papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.


76 boxes

Biographical History

Helen Foster Snow (1907-1997) was an American journalist, photographer, and activist in China.

Helen Foster Snow was born on September 21, 1907 in Cedar City, Utah. She attended West High School and, after graduating, attended the University of Utah. She took the civil service exam, gained a position in China, and moved to Shanghai in August of 1931. After arriving in China, Helen met Edgar Snow, a reporter also from the U.S. The two were married on December 25, 1933 in Tokyo, Japan. After moving to Peking where Helen Foster Snow attended and Edgar taught at Yanjing University, they began publishing information regarding the Manchurian incident. Helen Foster and Edgar Snow sympathized with the students who protested the government and its complacency toward Japanese invasion. They helped plan the December movements, and covered events censored in Chinese papers.

Helen published an interview with Zhang Xueliang, a general, who expressed support for communists, contradicting Chiang Kai Shek. In 1937, Edgar and Helen published the magazine Democracy. She worked on the editorial board of the magazine and later as the editor while Edgar wrote Red Star over China.

Snow entered the Communist camp in April of 1937, where she interviewed leaders, women, and children of the camp. She would publish her findings in her book Inside Red China in 1938. Helen later toured the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives and wrote to raise support of the initiatives. She later returned to the United States, living in Madison, Connecticut, and travelling the world. Helen died on January 11, 1997.
Biographical History Edgar Snow (1905-1972) was a journalist and foreign correspondent in China.

Edgar Snow was born on July 10, 1905 in Kansas City, Missouri. Snow moved to China as a correspondent for the Consolidated Press Association. Edgar met Helen Foster Snow when she came to China. The two were married on December 25, 1933 in Tokyo, Japan. They moved to Peking, where Edgar taught at Yanjing University. At the University, Edgar and Helen sympathized with the students protesting the government’s allowance of Japanese invasion. The two helped organize movements like the December 9th movement of 1935, and provided press coverage of events censored by Chinese papers.

In June of 1936 Edgar left Peking for Xian, and into the communist camp as the first foreign journalist in that territory. He composed the first biographical account of Mao during this time. Mao asked Ed to set peace terms between the Nationalists and the Chinese Government. An interview with Mao published in Life magazine in 1936 gained a great amount of attention. Edgar Snow became the editor to his new magazine Democracy. Red Star Over China, Edgar’s book on his time with the communists was published in 1938. Edgar Snow died on February 15, 1972 in Eysins Switzerland.

Arrangement note

Arranged in seventeen subseries: 1. Helen Foster Snow manuscripts published inside the U.S., 1936. 2. Helen Foster Snow files on Song of Ariran, undated. 3. Helen Foster Snow files on China Builds for Democracy, undated. 4. Helen Foster Snow files on The Chinese Labor Movement, undated. 5. Helen Foster Snow files on Fables and Parables, undated. 6. Helen Foster Snow files on Red Dust, undated. 7. Helen Foster Snow files on Women in Modern China, undated. 8. Helen Foster Snow files on My China Papers, undated. 9. Helen Foster Snow files on Living China, undated. 10. Helen Foster Snow files on New China, undated. 11. Helen Foster Snow manuscripts published outside the U.S., 1923-1940. 12. Helen Foster Snow unpublished manuscripts about women, undated. 13. Helen Foster Snow works of fiction, undated. 14. Helen Foster Snow files on The Root and the Branch, undated. 15. Helen Foster Snow unpublished manuscripts on miscellaneous topics, 1982-1991. 16. Helen Foster Snow poetry, 1925-1995. 17. Helen Foster Snow essays, 1919-1993.

Other Finding Aids

Item- and file-level inventory available online.


Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States