Guide to the Harrison Forman Papers
1931-1974

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Forman, Harrison, 1904-1978
Title: Harrison Forman papers
Dates: 1931-1974 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 7.75 linear feet (10 containers, 1 package, 11 volumes)
Collection Number: Coll 024
Summary: Harrison Forman (1904-1978) was an American explorer, aviator, photographer, journalist and author. Collection comprises 62 diaries kept by Forman while a world traveler and journalist, as well as photographs, journalism, interviews, writings, and books by Forman. Collection materials include accounts of the Sino-Japanese conflict, the Chinese government under Chiang Kai-shek, the Japanese bombardment of Shanghai in 1937, and the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939.
Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon, 97403-1299
(541) 346-3068
spcarref@uoregon.edu

Languages: Collection materials are in English. 

Historical Note

Harrison Forman (1904-1978) was an American explorer, aviator, photographer, journalist and author. Forman was born June 15, 1904 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 11329 after majoring in Oriental Languages. During the early 1930's he went to China where he sold American aircraft and trained pilots.

It was in China that he heard of a mysterious mountain in Tibet supposedly taller than Mt. Everest, officially the highest mountain in the world. Forman went to Tibet and although he never found the mountain he sought he did earn the distinction of being one of the first western visitors to visit Tibet. As a result of his experience in Tibet, Forman in 1937 was the technical director for Lost Horizon, an Academy Award-winning film.

During the late thirties Forman covered the Sino-Japanese conflict as a cameraman for the "March of Time" newsreel service and also reported for the New York Times on Japanese forces across Asia. Forman became best known during this time for his coverage of the Sino-Japanese conflict, the Chinese government under Chiang Kai-shek, the Japanese bombardment of Shanghai in 1937, and the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. It was also during World War II in 1944 that Forman interviewed Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai, and other communist leaders.

After the war Harrison Forman became an often quoted authority on Far East matters. He wrote books on China, Africa, photography and later ran a travel agency. Among the many newspapers and magazines he worked for were the London Times, New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Harper's, Life, Reader's Digest, and National Geographic. He was also a lifetime member of the Explorer's Club. Mr. Forman died on January 31, 1978 in New York City.

Content Description

The Harrison Forman Papers include a variety of material, the most noteworthy being 62 diaries he kept while a correspondent and traveler. They have been arranged chronologically, 1932-1973. Of specia1 interest is Diary #19 (2/1) which includes interviews with Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai. There is only one folder of correspondence and a limited amount of manuscript material. Also included in the collection are news dispatches (mostly concerning China») radio broadcast interviews, audio-visual scripts concerning geographic areas, and books.

Approximately 100 photographs, 59 slides of Tibet, and 8 filmstrips on Africa are included.

A catalogue of Harrison Forman photographs which the donor separated from this collection for separate sale can be found in Box 7, Folder 1)

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Collection includes sound recordings or moving images to which access is restricted. Access to these materials is governed by repository policy and may require the production of listening or viewing copies. Researchers requiring access must notify Special Collections & University Archives in advance and pay fees for reproduction services as necessary.

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation :  

[Identification of item], Harrison Forman Papers, Coll 024, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Collection is organized into the following series:

  • Series: Correspondence
  • Series: Manuscripts: Articles, news stories
  • Series: Diaries
  • Series: Dispatches
  • Series: Newsclips
  • Series: Other writings
  • Series: Radio broadcast interviews with Forman
  • Series: Photographic materials: Audio-visual scripts
  • Series: Photographic materials: Photographs, slides
  • Series: Photographic materials: Filmstrips
  • Series: Photographic materials: Miscellaneous
  • Series: Packages

Separated Materials :  

Maps in this collection are stored separately in the Map Library.

Artworks in this collection have been transferred to the University of Oregon Museum of Art.

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Inventory
Container(s)
box
folder
1 1

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Correspondence, 1949-1969 (15)
Container(s)
box
folder
1 2

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Manuscripts: Articles, news stories
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
1 3 Beyond Bali, 2 pp.
1 3 Brooding Peshawar, 13 pp.
1 3 The Matriarchy of Bukit Tinggi, 4 pp.
1 3 Catwalk in the Clouds,S pp.
1 3 Catwalk in the Clouds,S pp. (carbon)
1 3 Chen Yi--Scholar General, 6 pp.
1 3 China's Cleopatra, 3 pp.
1 3 China's Floating.Population, ..4 pp.
1 3 Dying House, 2 pp.
1 3 The Fabulous Khyber, 7 pp.
1 3 Flight to Tipuani, 9 pp.
1 3 Gold Runners of Macao, 4 pp.
1 3 Horse-Fishing in Afghanistan,S pp.
1 3 I Rode a Railway to the Clouds, 15 pp.
1 3 Indonesia, 50 pp.
1 3 Indonesia (rough draft), 43 pp.
1 3 Khartoum, 12 pp.
1 3 Khartoum, 12 pp. (rough draft)
1 4 The Matriarchy of Bukit Tinggi, 4 pp.
1 4 Nepal, 7 pp. (rough draft)
1 4 The Posse of Patpong, 10 pp.
1 4 Rangda--Queen of Evil, 3 pp.
1 4 Shanghai on the Eve, 7 pp.
1 4 Stone Age Nias, 1 p.
1 4 Sultan of Johore, 18 pp.
1 4 Sultan of Johore, 16 pp.
1 4 Tourist Explorers, 2 pp. (draft)
1 4 Tourist Explorers, 3 pp.
1 4 The Worship of Cao Dai, 15 pp.
1 4 Miscellaneous untitled-draft-pages, 2 pp.

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Diaries
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
1 5 #1 April, 1932 (China, Tibet)
1 5 #2 February, 1933 (Japan, Italy, England)
1 6 #3 June, 1937 (China)
1 6 #4 August, 1937 (China)
1 7 #5 July, 1938 (China)
1 7 #6 1938 (Japan, Taiwan, Korea)
1 8 #7 July, 1939 (U.S.S.R.)
1 8 #8 August-September, 1939 (Poland)
1 8 #9 September-October, 1940 (Indo-China)
1 9 #10 January-May, 1942 (China)
1 9 #11 December, 1942-March, 1943 (China)
1 10 #12 April, 1943 (China)
1 10 #13 June, 1943 (China)
1 10 #14 October, 1943 (China)
1 10 #15 October, 1943-May, 1944 (China)
1 11 #16 December, 1943-January, 1944 (China)
1 11 #17 May-June, 1944 (China)
1 11 #18 June-July, 1944 (China)
2 1 #19 June-August, 1944 (China: including interviews with Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai)
2 2 #20 July-September, 1944 (China)
2 2 #21 September, 1944 (China)
2 2 #22 September-October, 1944 (China)
2 3 #23 May-July, 1949 (China)
2 3 #24 August-September, 1949 (China)
2 3 #25 September, 1950 (Bali)
2 4 #26 October, 1950 (Indonesia)
2 4 #27 November, 1950 (Malaya)
2 4 #28 November, 1950 (Malaya)
2 5 #29November, 1950 (Malaya)
2 5 #30 November, 1950 (Indo-China)
2 6 #31 November, 1950 (Indo-China)
2 6 #32 April, 1953 (Cambodia)
2 7 #33 July, 1953 (Borneo)
2 7 #34 August, 1953 (Afghanistan)
2 7 #35 August, 1953 (?)(Hunza, Pakistan)
2 8 #36 September (1), 1953 (Gurkhas, India)
2 8 #37 June, 1954 (Peru)
2 8 #38 June, 1954 (Peru)
2 9 #39 July, 1954 (Peru)
2 9 #40 July, 1954 (Peru)
2 9 #41 September, 1954 (Argentina)
2 10 #42 1954 (Bolivia)
2 10 #43 1954 (Colombia)
2 11 #44 1954 (Paraguay)
2 11 #45 1954-55 (Japan) (Indonesia}
2 11 #46 1955 (?) (Indonesia)
3 1 #47 1955 (?) (Indonesia)
3 1 #48 March, 1956 (Bali)
3 1 #49 June, 1959 (U.S.S.R.)
3 2 #50 January, 1960 (Burma, Thailand)
3 2 #51 January, 1960 (Burma, Thailand)
3 2 #52 November, 1960 (Poland, Czechoslovakia)
3 3 #53 November, 1960 (Hungary)
3 3 #54 December, 1960 (Rumania)
3 3 #55 December, 1960 (Bulgaria)
3 4 #56 April, 1961 (Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast)
3 4 #57 May, 1961 (Ghana, Nigeria)
3 4 #58 1961 (Angola)
3 5 #59 1961 (Congo)
3 5 #60 1960-61 (?) (Cuba)
3 6 #61 May, 1973 (China)
3 6 #62 June, 1973 (China)

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Dispatches
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
3 7 June 9, 1938 (China)
3 7 April 24, 1942 (China)
3 7 November 25, 1942 (China)
3 7 July 20, 1944 (China)
3 7 May 21, 1953 (Indo-China)
3 7 n. d., (China)
3 8 January-February, 1949 (China)
3 9 March, 1949 (China)
3 10 April, 1949 (China)
3 11 May, 1947 (China)
3 12 June-September, 1949 (China); miscellaneous undated dispatches

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Newsclips
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
4 1 1931-1945
4 2 1947-1951
4 3 1952-1956
4 4 1957-1974; miscellaneous undated clips

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Other writings
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
4 5-6 Book reviews: Changing China
4 7 Newsletter, The China Window, edited by Forman, 1974
5 1 Galley proofs: The Land and People of Nigeria
5 2 Page proofs: Changing China
5 3 Page proofs: How to Make Money with Your Camera

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Radio broadcast interviews with Forman
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
5 4 October 23, 1937, Caravan of Truth, 2 copies with annotations
5 4 October 30, 1939, We the People
5 4 January 22, 1940, Meet Some People with Jimmy Vandiveer, 2 copies with annotations
5 4 1940's, Wake Up America!
5 4 May 9, 1950, Ben Grauer
5 4 March 27, 1959, Today
5 4 October 18, 1959, UN in Action
5 4 n.d.

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Photographic materials: Audio-visual scripts (PH139)
Forman, Harrison, 1904-1978
Container(s)
Description
Africa Filmstrips
Box
3 South Africa (#153)
3 Countries of East Africa (#154)
3 Countries of the Congo Basin (#155)
3 Countries of Central Africa (#156)
3 Countries of West Africa (#157)
3 Historic Cities of Africa (#158)
3 Countries of North Africa (#159)
3 Children of Africa (#160)
Folder
5 6 East Africa
5 6 The French Community in Africa
6 1 Countries of Northwest and West Africa
6 2 South Africa
6 3 Africa research notes
Asia: Central
Box
Folder
6 4 Afghanistan
6 4 Children of India
6 4 Historic Cities -Tashkent...
6 4 The Republic of India
6 4 Nepal
6 4 Pakistan
Asia: Southeast
Box
Folder
6 5 Borneo, Celebres, and Bali
6 5 Burma
6 5 The Republic of Indonesia (plus revision)
6 5 Java and Sumatra
6 6 Malaya
6 6 Philippines (plus revision)
6 6 Thailand
Europe: Iron Curtain Countries
Box
Folder
6 7 Bulgaria
6 7 Children-Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania, Hungary, Bulgaria
6 7 Children of Russia
6 7 Czechoslovakia
6 7 Hungary
6 7 Poland
6 7 Rumania
6 8 U.S.S.R.
6 8 East Europe Research Notes
Box
Folder
6 8 United-States -Historical-Landmark-and Monuments

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Miscellaneous
Forman, Harrison, 1904-1978
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
7 1 Brochures
7 1 Layout designs
7 1 Catalogue of Harrison Forman photographs
7 2-3 Publicity material
7 4 Artwork (originals removed to the Museum of Art)
7 5 Miscellany
7 Press IDs, passports, cable credit cards

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Packages
Container(s)
Description
package
Pkg. 1 Scrapbook of newsclippings
Pkg. 1 Posters announcing speaking engagements

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Subjects

  • Personal Names :
  • Forman, Harrison, 1904-1978
  • Forman, Harrison, 1904-1978--Diaries
  • Geographical Names :
  • China--Politics and government--1928-1937
  • Subject Terms :
  • Journalists--United States
  • Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945--Journalists
  • War correspondents
  • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Poland

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