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Helen Foster Snow photographs of Asia, approximately 1902-1949, approximately 1970-1987, bulk: 1931-1940

 Sub-Series
Identifier: MSS 2219 Series 5 Sub-Series 2

Scope and Contents

Photographs taken by or collected by Helen Foster Snow during her time as a photojournalist in China during the rise of the Chinese Communist Party. Also includes photographs of Helen Foster Snow and husband Edgar Snow on their trips to Bali, the Philippines, and various locations in China. Photographs dated 1970 and later are mainly from Helen’s trips back to China, one of which was with Tim Considine in 1978, and many of which are slides. Materials span 1902 to 1949, and 1970 to 1987, with the bulk between 1931 to 1940, when Helen was working in China. Wherever the pictures have indicated names, locations, events, and dates they have been included, along with other information on captions or attached notes. If no information about the photograph is indicated, there is no information available.

Dates

  • approximately 1902-1949
  • approximately 1970-1987
  • Majority of material found within 1931-1940

Language of Materials

Materials are in English, with some Chinese, Spanish, and Indonesian content, 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

12 boxes

10 folders

2 oversize boxes

Other Finding Aids

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

General

Magnum Photos Inc. photographs are dispersed throughout the subseries and contain copyright issues.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

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