January 25, 2012
Over a period of three years, students will digitize files regarding Vietnamese individuals who were applying to immigrate to the U.S. after the war.
For patrons of Texas Tech’s Vietnam Center and Archive, researching the historic immigration experience of Vietnamese Americans will soon go electronic as a result of a recent grant allowing the center to digitize one of its collections.
The grant, awarded at a sum of $144,000 by Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), will fund student workers, who will digitize the 250,000 page Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association Collection (FVVPPA), which documents the immigration of thousands of Vietnamese Americans following the end of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam Center and Archive works closely with the Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation in Austin, collecting and preserving the history of Vietnamese Americans around the country.
The collection, containing records of more than 10,000 former Vietnamese re-education camp detainees, includes correspondence, speeches, meeting notes, financial and legal records, printed materials, immigration applications, and other administrative records.
Over a period of three years, students will digitize files regarding Vietnamese individuals who were applying to immigrate to the U.S. after the war. As it is digitized, the entire collection will be added to the center’s Virtual Vietnam Archives.
Mary Saffell, associate director for the Vietnam Center and Archives, said while thousands of volumes exist about the Vietnam War itself, relatively little has been studied about the Vietnamese immigration experience. Digitizing these records on one of the largest immigrant groups in the nation provides historians and other scholars a comprehensive resource that can provide insights into Vietnamese American immigration.
“Coming from a war-torn nation and fleeing a communist regime, Vietnamese Americans have a unique and tumultuous history,” Saffell said. “The FVVPPA collection is as important to the study of Vietnamese Americans as the Ellis Island records are to the families of immigrants from the early 20th century.”
This will be the second grant the Vietnam Center and Archive has received from NHPRC for the FVVPPA records. In 2010, the center received a grant to initially process the collection.
Founded in 1989, the Texas Tech Vietnam Center and Archive houses the largest collection
of materials related to the Vietnam conflict outside of the U.S. National Archives.
Its mission is to support and encourage research and education regarding all aspects
of the American Vietnam experience.
In 2017, the archive was renamed the Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive to honor U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, a former prisoner of war who worked as an advocate for troops and veterans following his 29-year career in the U.S. Air Force.
The mission of the Archive of Modern American Warfare is to encourage, promote, support and enhance the long term study and preservation of all aspects of America's diplomatic and military experiences and involvements on a global scale, beginning in 1975 and continuing to the present. Through this, the Archive strives to help researchers develop a better understanding of America’s modern military experiences.