In Memoriam: Dr. Roger Pearson
Print Friendly and PDF

Roger Pearson, author and editor of 17 books, numerous articles, founding publisher of The Journal of Indo-European Studies, editor of The Mankind Quarterly, founding editor of The Journal of Political, Social and Economic Studies and Conservative Review, died in early January 2023. He was 95. (Published reports, including Wikipedia, citing the date of his passing as February 23 are inaccurate!)

Pearson’s multifaceted career-path in academic, business, and political spheres, including as World Chairman of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL), put him into contact with several influential scholars, political luminaries, and heads of state. His diverse range of collegial affiliations included Admiral John S. McCain Jr. (father of the Senator), elected public officials and their staff, and leading scholars in the academic world, particularly in the field of Indo-European Studies, such as Lithuanian archaeologist Marija Gimbutas and celebrated mythologist Joseph Campbell. He was once commended by J.R.R. Tolkien for his work on Northern World, a publication he founded in the 1950s.

Person served with honor in the (British) Indian Army, and later the British Army from 1944-1948.

Pearson with fellow cadets: 28-mile map reading expedition, North-West Frontier Province, OTS, 1946

After leaving the military, he returned to England and obtained degrees in economics and sociology from the University of Exeter. He ventured back to India and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and secured important corporate positions during the 1950s, managing a tea garden in East Pakistan and eventually serving on the Board of the Pakistan Tea Association. After a period of archival research, he wrote Eastern Interlude, a vivid account of cultural life in colonial Calcutta, published in November 1954 (reprinted in 1997). The Times Literary Supplement (March 1955) described Eastern Interlude as “a most diverting and readable book, based upon letters, diaries, and other personal records, published and unpublished, which together cover a span of nearly two and half centuries…. The story is told amusingly and vividly; it comes to life in every page.” 

Pearson eventually settled in the U.S. in the early 1960s and took up several academic posts, first at the University of Southern Mississippi, then at Queen’s College, Charlotte. After an invitation to chair the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern Mississippi, he returned to Hattiesburg briefly before relocating to Montana Tech as the Director of Academic Affairs.

He authored a leading textbook in the field of anthropology, Introduction to Anthropology (Holt, Rinehart and Winston [1974]). The 616pp textbook received an enthusiastic review by the general editors, two Stanford University anthropologists, George and Louise Spindler. In a two-page review of the manuscript for the publisher, George Spindler wrote:

The text as a whole reads extremely well and is interesting to read…. I repeat that I find the book very interesting, read it, believe it or not, with pleasure, and think it will be a most useful text. I might even use it at Stanford since it covers so much ground that I do not in lectures. It is amazing that he has been able to cover so much ground with apparent authority.

Pearson maintained long-standing friendships with former CIA chief of counterintelligence James Jesus Angleton, Brigadier Gen. Robert C. Richardson III, and Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, a former director for the Defense Intelligence Agency and founder of High Frontier, a private organization that promoted President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. As members of the Army-Navy Club, Pearson and Angleton, Richardson, and Graham routinely met over lunch at the prestigious private venue. He also escorted small congressional delegations to Latin South America, which included Rep. Larry McDonald (GA), Rep. Bob Dornan (CA), and key congressional staffers to Sen. Jesse Helms. These trips included meetings with high-ranking foreign dignitaries such as Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Gen. Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay. He also met with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia while serving as World Chairman of WACL in 1978.

He lived the life of an adventurer, traveling to far off places (nearly taking a major corporate position in South Africa just after Verwoerd’s assassination prior to settling in the U.S.), he piloted two small aircraft which he owned and maintained during his time in India and East Pakistan. He learned some hard lessons as a pilot, nearly becoming disoriented when flying over a sea at night and once making an emergency landing on a beach strip.  

The loss in battle of his elder brother Philip, a 21-year-old RAF fighter pilot shot down over North Africa near the Mediterranean Sea, affected him deeply, even later in life. He would fondly recall in conversation how much he looked up to his brother, then tragically losing him. The death and devastation of both World Wars, including not only the loss of his only sibling but also four cousins, were cataclysmic events which shaped his broader outlook on the dysgenic impact of Europe’s widespread generational loss.

In patriotic nationalist circles, Pearson is best remembered for his books promoting Northern European culture and civilization. These books stressed the importance of kinship bonds and the preservation of Northern European culture. Over the years, he received savage criticism from his adversaries for his writings on race, culture, and eugenics. These critics, who never knew him, routinely depicted Pearson (usually quoting him out of context) as some unhinged fiend hell-bent on genocide.

His actual personal demeanor, nothing remotely like the one-dimensional caricature described by his adversaries, reflected exemplary traits: a devoted husband, loving father, a true gentleman in every sense of the word; ever pleasant and polite, cheerful and gregarious, he was neither profane nor disrespectful of others. Contrary to the image portrayed by his critics, he was kind, generous, and reflective—a well-rounded, good-hearted soul. He worked tirelessly as an editor and publisher with a prodigious output (publishing sixty-seven monographs and editing three serial publications).

Those who knew him will remember him for his intellect, friendship, and generosity. A crucial piece of advice to a young married friend—“listen to your wife and spend time together… the one thing your wife expects from you is your time!”—is one of countless sage-like admonitions.

On his departure from Octavius Steel & Company in January 1965, the Pakistani staff presented him with “A Farewell Address,” which reflected their loss of his stewardship and sums up his personal attributes all too well! It reads in part,

Your amiable disposition, self-confidence, devotion to duties, untiring zeal, deep affection and your unreserved sympathy for your staff have won the admiration of all. A dynamic personality, we have found in you a rare combination of idealism and realism of strength and generosity, which qualities have made you an efficient executive officer of the Company. In your judgment we have placed reliance: in your steadfastness of purpose we have placed our confidence and security; in your integrity we have trusted and we have always looked upon you as our guiding star.

Your love, affection and sympathy for your staff are never to be forgotten and specially during the re-organisation we have found that you have put yourself out to a great extent in finding the retrenched staff employment, which we feel, can only be equaled by a very few. We all owe you a deep debt of gratitude.

It is with the reluctant hearts that we bid you Farewell.

It is with a profound sense of loss that I, among friends and family, bid you a final Farewell.

(Pearson’s own reflections on his life, given at a private gathering last summer, can be read here).

Cooper Sterling [email him]  is a freelance writer in the Washington, DC area.

Print Friendly and PDF