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Epstein, Israel (1915-2005)



  • Existence: 1915 - 2005


Israel Epstein (April 20, 1915-May 26, 2005) was a Polish-born Chinese journalist and author. He began his journalism career at age 15, when he wrote for the Peking and Tientsin Times English-language newspaper. He covered the Japanese invasion of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War for the United Press and other Western news agencies. He joined the China Defense League, established by Sun Yat-sen's widow Soong Ching-ling, in 1938. He joined to publicize and enlist international support for the Chinese cause.

After reviewing one of Edgar Snow's books, Epstein and Snow became friends. Snow showed Red Star Over China to Epstein before the book was published. He later joined Snow's Democracy magazine as an editor.

Epstein married his first wife, Edith Bihovsky, in 1934, and later divorced in the early 1940s. He was then married to his second wife, Elsie Fairfax-Cholmeley, until her death in 1984. Epstein would later marry his third wife, Huang Huanbi.

After living abroad in Great Britain and the United States, Soong Ching-ling invited Epstein to return to China in 1951 to edit the China Reconstructs magazine, which later became China Today. He remained editor-in-chief of China Today until his retirement at age 70, and stayed on as editor emeritus. He became a Chinese citizen in 1957 and a Chinese Communist Party member in 1964.

His published works include The People's War (1939), Notes on Labor Problems in Nationalist China (1980), My China Eye: Memoriors of a Jew and a Journalist (2005), and History Should Not be Forgotten (2005).

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Israel Epstein and Elsie Fairfax-Cholmeley Papers

Identifier: KC-19-11
Scope and Contents

This material was donated by Dr. Henry Mitchell, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and International Affairs at UMKC. He secured the material from the Epsteins via UMKC professor Dr. Robert Farnsworth in China in November 1984.

This collection contains one folder of copies of letters sent by Edgar Snow to Chinese journalist and author Israel Epstein and his wife Elsie Fairfax-Cholmeley. The letters discuss publications as well as Chinese and world affairs.

Dates: 1939, 1948, 1958, 1962-1968