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Tibetan Adventure: William Montgomery McGovern and the British Buddhist Mission Visit Phari and Gyantse in 1922, by James Willert, unpublished manuscript (1), undated

 File — Box: 13, Folder: 2

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The William Montgomery McGovern Papers fill five boxes and span the period 1919-1967. They are arranged in five major categories: biographical materials; professional correspondence; manuscripts and notes; class materials; and personal records.

The biographical materials fill nearly half a box and consist largely of clippings on McGovern's lectures, and obituary notices. Also in this section are two folders of McGovern family correspondence and one folder of biographical information on McGovern's mother, Janet B. Montgomery McGovern.

The professional correspondence fills about two boxes and covers the periods 1919-41, 1944-50, and 1958-64. The correspondence dating between 1919 and 1941 is largely rather shallow, consisting mainly of “fan” letters and letters concerning lecture arrangements. A major exception is a memorandum from McGovern to University President Franklyn Bliss Snyder, proposing the establishment of a Latin American Studies program at Northwestern. The later correspondence is more general in nature. A substantial portion of it is to and from Kenneth Colegrove, chair of the Political Science department from 1940 through 1947; the remainder mostly concerns speaking engagements and recommendations for students. The manuscripts and notes fill about one and one-half boxes and consist mainly of handwritten and typed manuscripts of shorter articles, reviews, and monographs. Only one of McGovern's books, Early Empires of Central Asia, is represented in this section, and the manuscript of this book is incomplete.

The class materials occupy about half a box and consist chiefly of student papers; they also include a number of examinations and occasional reading lists. The personal records fill roughly half a box and are mostly of a financial nature, including contracts, insurance policies, and royalty statements.

Addition, Box 5 This addition contains copies of correspondence between James Willert and various repositories concerning Montgomery's work in England: copies of correspondence of Montgomery, 1922-26, concerning his work in England: and an audiocassette, “The Roving Professor,” June 1938 radio talk.

Addition, Box 6 This addition is comprised of one volume, "An Unfrequented Journey" (London: The Scholartis Press, 1928), by John Easton. This volume contains considerable text devoted to McGovern's stay in Tibet.

Addition, Box 7-13, 1915-1997

Description of the Addition: This addition consists primarily of the papers of James Willert and includes correspondence, articles, publicity, clippings, notes, photographs, journals and manuscripts; all related to the life of McGovern. Willert was writing a biography and the papers comprise his in depth research of McGovern from his career to interviews with family, friends and neighbors. Willert’s book was unpublished, but the manuscript is included here. The papers are arranged in alphabetical order, with audio-visual materials at the end.


  • Other: undated


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


From the Collection: 6.00 Boxes

Language of Materials


Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US