Helen Foster Snow papers
Scope and Contents
- Majority of material found within 1930-1980
- Snow, Helen Foster, 1907-1997 (Creator, Person)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
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. Helen and Edgar divorced in 1949. Helen continued to write about her experiences in China, became a genealogy research on her New England family, and traveled the world, including two return trips to China in the 1970s. Helen died on January 11, 1997.
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. Helen and Edgar divorced in 1949. Edgar Snow died on February 15, 1972 in Eysins, Switzerland.
190 boxes (95 linear ft.)
8 cartons (8 linear ft.)
13 oversize boxes (6.5 linear ft.)
1 oversize folder (0.1 linear ft.)
Other Finding Aids
Helen returned to the United States in 1940 and purchased a farm in 1941 in Madison, Connecticut where she accumulated and housed materials until her death in May of 1997. She entrusted her niece, Sheril Bischoff, to be the executors of her estate, which included the task of finding an archive for her collection. The storage conditions made it difficult for the Bischoffs to establish an original order.
As alumni of Utah State University, the Bischoffs made an offer to place the papers there. The Bischoffs retrieved the collection and placed it elsewhere. The Bischoffs contacted Harvard Heath to explore the possibility of donating the Helen Foster Collection to Brigham Young University. The library and administrative officers at Brigham Young University endorsed the proposal and the donation was accepted. The instruments of gift for the collection was executed in two installments: one in September 1997 and the other in July 1998.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Alley, Rewi, 1897-1987
- Beijing (China)
- Drafts (Documents)
- International Relations
- Mao, Zedong, 1893-1976
- Politics, Government, and Law
- Shanghai (China)
- Snow, Helen Foster, 1907-1997 -- Archives
- Xi'an Shi (China)
- Yan'an Shi (China)
- Zhongguo gong chan dang
- Zhou, Enlai, 1898-1976
- Zhu, De, 1886-1976
- Register of Helen Foster Snow papers
- Harvard Heath, Lisa Lyons Van Tassell, and Taylor M. Dix
- 2004 March
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
- Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008