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Edgar Snow Papers

Identifier: KC-19-1

Scope and Contents

The Edgar Snow Papers are divided into seven sections which reflect Edgar Snow's contribution to American journalism and Sino-American relations. In general, the papers are straightforward in their contents and are arranged to follow the course of Snow's life work: personal and business correspondence; diaries and notebooks; notes related to manuscripts and interviews; various drafts and revisions of both article and book manuscripts; clippings of published articles and book reviews; research materials; photographs; audio tape and film material, the majority of which were compiled for his documentary, "One Fourth of Humanity."

The Edgar Snow Papers were received in installments, and an overall organizational scheme for the papers did not exist. Though often individual folders or groupings of folders had an internal order, there is some question whether this was, in fact, Snow's doing. It is likely that some of the ordering was established by individuals Lois Snow hired to process the papers before the University Archives gained possession. However, whenever possible, the papers have been retained in the order in which they were received.

Though the papers are arranged into sections, materials related to one section may be located within another. Generally, the sections are sorted chronologically, or in some cases alphabetically, due to the nature of the subseries. Subject groupings within the general correspondence have been filed following the general correspondence for the year in which the grouping begins. Undated materials are located at each section's end. When necessary, introductory paragraphs and additional descriptive notes have been added to the inventory listing. The sections concerning book-related correspondence, book reviews, articles about Edgar Snow, and his research materials, also contain items written by others after Snow's death.

Note on Chinese romanization: within the introduction and descriptive paragraphs, the modern Pinyin system has been used (for example "Beijing"). Elsewhere within the inventory the Wade-Giles system, used during the period Edgar Snow was writing, is employed for article titles, folder headings, etc. Thus, for example, Beijing is written as "Peking". All proper Chinese names have been conformed to the following standard: Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai, etc.


  • 1928-1982


Language of Materials

English , Chinese , French .

Conditions Governing Access

Materials in this record group (series) are stored onsite and offsite. Items stored onsite require a minimum of 1 business day to retrieve them for use. Any items stored offsite will list a Location number and will require a minimum of 2 business days to retrieve them for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the materials are advised to contact UMKC University Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

All reproduction requests for these materials must be submitted to UMKC University Archives for approval by the donor. Please contact UMKC University Archives for more information.

The Donor, Mrs. Lois Wheeler Snow, retains all copyrights to the papers, consisting of manuscripts, photographs, audio tapes, and films. She may restrict certain materials in the papers that she feels are of a confidential nature. Access to view and/or use these restricted materials will only be granted with written permission of Mrs. Snow or, upon her death, the permission of either of her children, Christopher Snow or Sian J. Snow. The papers will cease to have any restriction upon their use after the death of Mrs. Snow and her two children named above.


39 Linear Feet

Other Finding Aids

The University Archives also holds other collections of special interest related to Edgar Snow, including the papers of his sister, Mildred Mackey, his brother, Howard Snow, and his nephew, John Snow.

Custodial History

The main body of the Edgar Snow Papers was donated by his widow, Lois Wheeler Snow, to the University of Missouri in 1986. Ownership of the collection passed to the University Archives in increments over several years with the last installment transferred in 1989. Additional materials from Mrs. Snow have been received as recently as 1994.

Finding Aid for the Edgar Snow (1905-1972) Papers
Becky Briggs Becker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 1994-07-05: Finding aid created on July 5, 1994.
  • 2010-04-19: Finding aid revised on April 19, 2010.
  • 2022: Finding aid revised in 2022.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City University Archives Repository

UMKC University Archives
UMKC University Libraries
800 E 51st Street
Kansas City MO 64110 United States