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1949 Expedition

2016 Expedition


As the dust was still settling after WWII and the Cold War began to divide the world, the mysterious and impenetrable mountain kingdom of Tibet sent out a plea to help stop the invasion of their country by the communist forces of China. They chose the most well known newsman of his day to document their plight, in the hopes that it would garner international support to protect their borders from the overwhelming Chinese Red Army. Lowell Thomas, along with his son, became only the seventh and eighth Westerners invited to walk through the Western Gate of Lhasa.  They ventured for weeks from the monsoon rains of Sikkim, India, over the Himalayas to the high, dry plains of southern Tibet. Meeting the fifteen year old Dalai Lama was an adventure of a lifetime for father and son, and the start of a relationship between His Holiness and the Thomas family that has now spanned three generations.

This book is curated by Anne Donaghy, Lowell Thomas’ granddaughter, the third generation of the Thomas family to have met the Dalai Lama. She recently returned from Tibet on an expedition to retrace the steps of her grand-father and father in 1949, accompanied by photographers Jo Keller and David Wright.  The book contains images from the original expedition and new images that celebrate the enduring spirit of the Tibetan people.

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