In the U.S., the best depository of South Vietnamese publications remains the Echols Collection at Cornell University. The University of California also has a sizable number of holdings from its various libraries, especially at Berkeley.
More recently, the University of Washington libraries system has acquired the sizable collection of South Vietnamese publications from the late Robert “Bob” Jones III. (The last I heard, the collection is still being processed.)
For Vietnam, check out this list of major archives and libraries. Here are the official guidelines about National Archives II with holdings from the Republic of Vietnam, and some tips about utilizing it. (Some information may be dated by now.)
The National Library of Vietnam has made public some of its digitized periodicals. They are not actually from the South Vietnamese period, and most were published in Hanoi before 1945. But they could be of great use for scholars interested in noncommunist continuities between South Vietnam and the antebellum era.
At Berkeley, two history graduate students, Matthew Berry and Cindy A. Nguyen, have begun a digital humanities project called the Vietnamese Intellectual Networks Database. There is merely a description at this point on the website, plus contacts for further information. The focus at this point looks to be the early twentieth century at this point, but there should be implications for intellectual in the later periods, including that of South Vietnam.
VIETNAMESE IN AMERICA
The Vietnam Center & Archive at Texas Tech has made available a small but growing number of collections on Vietnamese in the U.S. Perhaps most important – and certainly most extensive – are the files from the Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association (FVPPA). At several hundreds of thousands of pages, this collection should be a goldmine for researchers today and in the years ahead.
UC Irvine. In Southern California, a number of holdings related to Vietnamese, especially in Orange County, are kept at UCI’s Southeast Asian Archive. It should be noted that some of the files may be closed for fifty years from the time of reception, and researchers should check with archivists about availability.
Also at UCI is the Vietnamese American Oral Interview Project, which has conducted and made available many oral histories from refugees and immigrants in the region. Elsewhere, the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation has also conducted 500 interviews across the U.S.
Online Archive of California is a handy resource to start research in the state. Here is an example of records that pop up after I type “Vietnamese” in the search engine.
Presidential libraries. Also in Southern California, the archives at the Reagan Library hold some materials related to refugees and related topics. (I have seen, for instance, some records on Amerasians.) Other presidential libraries – Ford, Carter, Bush Sr., and Clinton – should have federal materials related to refugees, immigrants, reeducation camps, and normalization, among other issues.
Archives of religious institutions. Besides local archives, researchers on refugees may also want to consult archives of U.S. religious organizations, both national and local. Many played an important role in the resettlement of refugees in the 1970s and 1980s: Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc.
THE LARGER DIASPORA
Australia – Archive of Vietnamese Boat People. Located in Flemington, it collects “documents relating the events of Vietnamese boat people from 1975 and the establishment of the Vietnamese Community in Victoria.”
Leave a Reply