Papers of Francis [Frank] Robert Moraes

Scope and Content

The papers reflect Francis Robert Moraes' career as a journalist and author, particularly the period 1950-1974. They include his diaries, correspondence, newspaper clippings, regular columns and articles, reviews, photographs, recorded broadcasts and personal items. Also included is the diary of Beryl Moraes (1962).

His archives include papers covering mainly the 1930s-1974 period, and are useful considering that he worked as a journalist, author and editor during a crucial period in the history of India and a then just-being-decolonised Asia - particularly between 1950-1974.

Administrative / Biographical History

Francis (Frank) Robert Moraes was born in Mumbai of Goan descent, the commercial-capital of India then known as Bombay in 1907, Moraes was the son of Anthony Xavier Moraes, a Goan civil engineer. There has been considerable migration of Goans to Bombay for many decades. He spent his childhood in Poona, a city in western Indian state of Maharashtra (now called Pune) and studied at Catholic schools in both the cities. His childhood was spent in Poona. 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 1960's. During the 1940's 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); Nehru, Sunlight and Shadow (1964); Sir Purshotamdas Thakurdas (1957); Yonder One World: A Study of Asia and the West (1957); The Revolt in Tibet (1960); India Today (1960) and 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.


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.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated in 1986.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Related Material

Associated Material held elsewhere: Correspondence and literary papers of Frank Moraes' son, Dom Moraes held at Leeds University, Brotherton Collection; University of Arizona Library, Special Collections [NUC MS 72-933]; State University of New York College at Buffalo, Edward H Butler Library; University of Texas at Austin: Harry Ranson Humanities Research Centre Library.

See related sources listed on Open University portal: Making Britain: 'How South Asians shaped a nation'