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Helen Foster Snow photographs, approximately 1853-2000

 Series
Identifier: MSS 2219 Series 5

Scope and Contents

Contains photographs, including slides and negatives, taken by or collected by Helen Foster Snow throughout her life. Photographs of Helen’s personal life include family members, friends, vacations in the United States, Europe, and other destinations, and trips she took throughout Asia with her husband, Edgar Snow. The bulk of the photographs come from her professional life, documenting her time as a photojournalist in China beginning in 1931 and later returns to China in 1972 and 1978. Also contains several binders and loose documents of documentation about the photographs and photographs related to Helen Foster Snow that are owned by Tim Considine. Materials are dated approximately 1853 to 2000.

Dates

  • approximately 1853-2000

Creator

Language of Materials

Contents mainly in English and Chinese, with some content in Spanish, Indonesian, Greek, German, French, or have no linguistic content.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

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.

Biographical History

From the Collection: Helen Foster Snow (1907-1997) was an American journalist, photojournalist, 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. 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.

Biographical History

From the Collection: 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. Helen and Edgar divorced in 1949. Edgar Snow died on February 15, 1972 in Eysins, Switzerland.

Extent

20 boxes

3 oversize boxes

Arrangement

Arranged in five subseries: 1. Helen Foster Snow photographs of family, friends, and vacations, approximately 1853-2000. 2. Helen Foster Snow photographs of Asia, approximately 1902-1949, 1970-1987. 3. Helen Foster Snow photographs distributed by Magnum Photos, Inc., approximately 1933-1937. 4. Helen Foster Snow negatives 5. Helen Foster Snow photograph documentation, 1973-1979.

Other Finding Aids

Item- and file-level inventory available online.http://files.lib.byu.edu/ead/XML/MSS2219.xml

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

Contact:
1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States