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Moraes, Francis Robert

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 PP MS 24
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Moraes, Francis Robert
Date(s): Created 1930s-1974
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 17 boxes
Name of creator(s): Moraes | Francis Robert | 1907-1974 | journalist and author


Administrative/Biographical history:

Francis (Frank) Robert Moraes was born in Bombay in 1907, the son of a Goan civil engineer. His childhood was spent in Poona. He attended Catholic schools in Poona and Bombay. In 1923 he entered St Xavier's College, Bombay, where he read History and Economics. From 1927 to 1934 he read History at Oxford University. He was active in student politics and was elected President of the Oxford and London Indian Majlis (Indian Students' Association) and of the Indian Students' Union in England. He was the editor of an Oxford student newspaper, Bharat. Later he studied Law at Lincoln's Inn, London and was called to the Bar.

He returned to India in 1934 and practised as a barrister for a few months. Bored with his profession, he wrote several articles for a subsidiary newspaper of The Times of India. In 1936 he joined the staff of The Times of India as a journalist and in 1938 he was promoted to junior assistant editor. From 1942 to 1945 he toured Burma and China as the newspaper's war correspondent.

He married Beryl in 1936/7. They had a son Francis (Dom) who became a well-known poet in the 1960s. During the 1940s Beryl Moraes became ill and was confined thereafter to mental institutions. From 1946 to 1949 Francis Moraes lived in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) as editor of The Times Ceylon and The Morning Standard. He also served as Indian correspondent for several British newspapers. In 1950 he returned to The Times of India and became its first Indian editor. He was a member of the Indian Cultural Delegation and travelled extensively. In 1957 he was appointed editor-in-chief of the Goenka family newspaper, the Indian Express (formerly the Morning Standard). He became one of India's best-known journalists. His two regular columns appeared on Sundays and Mondays in the Indian Express and his 'Ariel' column in the Sunday Standard. He also wrote articles for various newspapers outside India. Occasionally he broadcast for the BBC and Radio Australia. In 1961 he was appointed Sheriff to Bombay. In December 1972 he retired from the Indian Express. He settled in London as its representative in 1973, with Marilyn Silverstone, a well-known American photo-journalist. He died in London on 2 May 1974, aged 66.

Francis Robert Moraes was the author of several acclaimed books. With H L Stimson he wrote Introduction to India (1945); then followed a series of political studies, Report on Mao's China (1953); Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography (1956); Sir Purshotamdas Thakurdas (1957); Yonder One World: A Study of Asia and the West (1957); The Revolt in Tibet (1960); India Today (1960); Nehru, Sunlight and Shadow (1964); The Importance of Being Black: an Asian Looks at Africa (1965). He co-edited John Kenneth Galbraith Introduces India (1974). His own political autobiography, Witness to an Era: India 1920 to the Present Day, was published in 1973.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Francis Robert Moraes, 1930s-1974, reflecting his career as a journalist and author, particularly the period 1950-1974, and including his notebooks and diaries, 1950-1974, from Australia and New Zealand, South East Asia, China, Japan, Pakistan, India, Africa, Western and Eastern Europe and the USA; correspondence, 1956-1974, including professional and personal matters; newspaper clippings, regular columns and articles, 1945-1974, some for the Indian Express and Sunday Standard; reviews of his books, 1953-1961; photographs, 1930s-1970s; recorded broadcasts, 1965-1969; and the diary of Beryl Moraes, 1962.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged into categories as follows: notebooks and diaries; correspondence; newspaper clippings and typescripts of Moraes' regular columns, articles and tour articles; reviews of Moraes' books; photographs; drawings, illustrations and programmes; recorded broadcasts; papers of Beryl Moraes; objects. Within each category, items are arranged chronologically.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated in 1986.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Correspondence and literary papers of Frank Moraes' son, Dom Moraes, are held at Leeds University, Brotherton Collection, and in the USA at the University of Arizona Library, Special Collections; University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections; State University of New York College at Buffalo; and University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ranson Humanities Research Centre Library.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Revised by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Source: National Register of Archives.

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
15 May 2000, revised Jan 2002

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