Helen Foster Snow
Born and raised in Cedar City, Helen Foster Snow was a journalist, traveler, thinker, and activist who was present during the revolutionary period leading up to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and became a heroine to the people of the war-torn land. She was and still is revered as one who played an important role in rallying the Chinese people to oppose the occupation of the country by the Japanese in the 1930s and as one who helped organize support for the Chinese cause in the capitals of the Western World.
Helen Snow was a prolific writer. Using the pseudonym, Nym Wales, nearly 25 of her 50 books and manuscripts were written on China, and some are considered a primary historical source of the period. The most lasting and important accomplishment of the decade she spent in China was the major role she played in the founding of the Gung-Ho industrial cooperatives that spread throughout China, and India as well, serving as a laboratory for democracy, teaching principles of self-government, self-help and mutual endeavor, resulting in two Nobel Peace Prize nominations.
When she died on January 11, 1997, four public functions were held to honor her (two in China and two in the United States) including one in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing with many of China’s leaders in attendance. In Xi’an, China, a permanent exhibition of her life and works was instituted and, some years later, a school was named in her honor and a statue was erected at the school’s entrance.