Vietnam Center Digitizes Collection for Public Access
The Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech University recently completed its project to digitize two Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association (FVPPA) collections as part of a National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant received in December 2011.
The digitization was finished in May and resulted in the availability of 355,274 pages of documents online free of charge. Anyone can access the documents through the Virtual Vietnam Archive.
“It's really awesome to have the collection in general because of the rarity of the South Vietnamese perspective of the war,” said Amy Mondt, Vietnam Archive associate director. “We're hoping by having it online it will not only let scholars know about this collection but also help the Vietnamese-American community trace their roots so they can research their own history. Since documents of any kind on this topic are rare, it's nice to have it online for easy access.”
The $144,000 grant funded a three-year project originally intended to digitize the Orderly Departure Program (ODP) applications from the first FVPPA collection donated to the Vietnam Center and Archive. However, the files were digitized so quickly the grant also funded the digitization of the office files for the first collection as well as the ODP applications for the second collection, Mondt said.
The ODP was created as a way for South Vietnamese people to safely leave Vietnam after the war ended. The applications include information about the applicant's family, service in the military and life after the end of the Vietnam War. The office files show documentation of the FVPPA organization, including their advocacy activities to gain support for refugees and how FVPPA found sponsors for the South Vietnamese and funding for their housing.
“These files are very important to the Vietnamese-Americans and document an important part of their history as well as the aftermath of the Vietnam War,” Mondt said.
The first FVPPA collection was donated in 2005 and the second in 2012.
For more information on the grant, the FVPPA collections and for step-by-step instructions on how to access and search the online collections, visit the collections website.