Scope and arrangement
The collection consists of Michael and Barbara Foster's papers regarding their research from 1977-1991 for the publication of their biography Forbidden Journey: The Life of Alexandra David-Neel in 1987. The bulk of the papers consist of correspondence between the Fosters and various people throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, France, India, and Thailand. These letters include answers to inquiries about David-Neel's life and further research opportunities as well as responses and corrections for the book. Much of the correspondence is with the British diplomat and Tibetologist Hugh E. Richardson. In his letters he exchanges anecdotes on David-Neel's life and makes suggestions for the biography. Other correspondents include Lawrence Durrell, Dorothy Middleton, Emily Hahn, and Lowell Thomas, Jr. There are a few letters to publishers and entertainment agencies about ideas for a film or docudrama television version of Forbidden Journey. A couple of the letters are addressed to Janice Johnson, the Fosters' editing manager, concerning book corrections and remarks. The collection also includes lists of David-Neel's published works, Barbara Foster's notes on Jacques Brasse's 1978 biography of David-Neel, L'Adventure et la spiritualité, and Michael Foster's business card.