Jean Escarra was born in April 1885 and died in August 1955. He was an eminent French jurist, specializing in various branches of the law and allied subjects, and held many professorships. These were mainly, of course, at Paris, but he exercised his extensive knowledge in other parts of the world as well, for he traveled widely, particularly in China. In Egypt he aided the commission for codification of the law; in Ethiopia the emperor gave him charge of the codification of commercial law.
Escarra served in the war of 1914-18 and was mobilized again in 1939. In August of 1940, however, in order not to be associated with the armistice, he left France for England, where he soon felt the certainty of ultimate allied victory. His efforts to convince the Vichy Government of this having proved fruitless, he joined the Free French Forces in England. For nearly five years he worked with them either in charge of their foreign affairs or himself serving as the ambassador of Free France in China, at Chung King.
In the field of mountaineering, he was for several years a distinguished president of the Club Alpin Français. He took a leading part in furthering the first French Himalayan expedition, that to Hidden Peak in 1936, and was one of the founders of the National Committee for Himalayan Expeditions, of which he later became president and finally honorary president.
Many members of the American Alpine Club had the pleasure of meeting Monsieur Escarra when he visited the United States in 1931. In 1932 the Club made him an Honorary Member.