Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 281 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Gerald Zahavi

Committee Members

Richard F Hamm, Carl Bon Tempo, Jeannine Chandler


Radio broadcasters

Subject Categories



This dissertation examines Lowell Thomas’s 1949 trip to Tibet, its political implications, what Thomas did to raise awareness for Tibet in the US, and how he helped Tibetans over the last few decades of his life. Lowell Jackson Thomas (1892-1981) became a household name as a newsman, writer, lecturer, explorer, and entrepreneur. His passion for exploration and public speaking led him to crisscross the globe in search of his next big story. One of Thomas’s goals as an explorer was to visit Tibet. After decades of attempting to reach the mecca of travelers, he spent several weeks traveling to Lhasa with his son, Lowell Thomas, Jr., during the summer of 1949, on the eve of its invasion by communist China. Thomas and his son initially traveled to Tibet only to gather material for a new travelogue, but they became entangled in a relationship with the Tibetan people that would last for the rest of their lives.

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