Revered in China for recording the political climate of the 1930s in war-torn China, Snow (1907-1997), a Utah native, was memorialized at the Great Hall of the People upon her death. With her husband, Edgar Snow, she interviewed the early leaders of modern China (including Mao Zedong) in the caves of Yan’an, thus introducing them to the world. She is most known as the initiator of the Gung Ho (or Indusco) movement, which provided financial aid for refugees to establish local cooperatives. This “work together” model empowered them to survive the war with Japan.
Helen’s ideas were endorsed by notables such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India, where 10,000 of Helen’s Gung Ho cooperatives were established.
Across China, there are hospitals, schools, and museums bearing her name. She was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. Helen remains a national icon in China, a symbol of understanding and cooperation.
Northwest China is known as “Snow Country,” where scholars are actively involved in preserving her legacy. Because her works are housed in the Special Collections Library at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Chinese scholars come to Utah to learn about their own history, and visit her statue located in Cedar City where she was born. Helen’s special role in modern day China places Utah uniquely on the map for historians, politicians, and international advocates. To learn more about Helen Foster Snow, view her Wikipedia page.
Also see Spencer Standing and Daniel Nelson’s student project: Helen Foster Snow, American Journalist in the Chinese Revolution.
Also see a student produced documentary Helen Foster Snow: The Bridge Connecting the U.S. and China by Camellia & Acacia Yuan.