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Primary Sources in Library Databases
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Observer: News for the American Soldier in Vietnam, 1962-1973 This link opens in a new window
More than 5,200 page images from The Observer, a weekly newspaper published by the Command Information Division of the U.S. Military Assistance Commands Office of Information which carried official news about and for American troops in Vietnam.
Presidential Recordings Digital Edition: The Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon White House Tapes This link opens in a new window
Hundreds of hours of presidential audio recordings (and full text transcripts) from the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. Covers many major issues, from the Kennedy Assassination and the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam War, the War on Poverty, and much more. Also includes photo and video galleries and a linked timeline.
U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994 This link opens in a new window
Reports, documents, journals of U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 1817-1994. Every publication, over 415,000 documents, from 15th - 103rd Congresses.
U.S. Congressional Serial Set Maps This link opens in a new window
Over 65,000 maps, 1872-1979, 42nd Congress 3rd session - 96th Congress 1st session. Diverse topics such as diseases, railroads, migrations, explorations, international events.
America's Historical Newspapers 1690-1998 This link opens in a new window
American and U.S. local newspapers from all 50 states, ranging from 1690 to 1998.
Primary Source Collections Online
Virtual Vietnam Archive
Largest online source for information on the Vietnam War. Formed by Vietnam veterans in 1989 with a mission to “collect and preserve the documentary record of the Vietnam War.” Contains more than 550,000 items for searching and browsing. Note the curated subject guides on many topics for help digging into the wealth of content. (Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech Univ.)
Antiwar and Radical History Project, Pacific Northwest
Hundreds of photographs and documents cataloguing the history of protest and activism against war--particularly, the Vietnam War--among students, soldiers, and residents of the Pacific Northwest. (Univ. of Washington)
CIA Vietnam Histories
Sampling of primary documents showing CIA's involvement in every aspect of the Indochina War. (George Washington Univ.)
Documents on Indochina: Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
Spans from 1950 to 1964, ending with President Lyndon Johnson’s reaction to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, providing a narrative of the run up to war as told in diplomatic cables, government statements, and presidential addresses. (Avalon Project, Yale Law School)
FBI Files on the Anti-War Movement
From the FBI Vault. Note: modern dates beside files indicate when they were put online, not when they were created.
FBI Files on Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW)
Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) was founded in 1967 and quickly became one of the most visible antiwar groups of the 1960s and 1970s. This archive, containing 21,477 pages of documents received in response to VVAW’s Freedom of Information Act requests, chronicles the group’s organizing activities across the country.
Gulf of Tonkin: NSA Documents
Declassified documents related to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964. (National Security Agency, NSA)
LBJ Presidential Library - Reading Room
Two parts of the digital reading room in particular are most interesting to Vietnam researchers. The first is a collection of Johnson’s National Security Action Memorandums, which are presidential directives that relate to national security. The second is a collection of contemporary interviews with key Cold War figures—such as Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Foreign Policy Adviser Walt Rostow, and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara—which are helpful to understanding the war from the administration’s perspective.
Memoirs V. Tapes: Nixon and the December Bombings
Online exhibit from the Nixon Library & Museum. Includes tapes, documents, photos, and videos related to the Dec. 1972 bombing of North Vietnam and the Paris Peace negotiations. Look for "Additonial Media" links at the bottom of each page to find audio, maps, etc. (Nixon Library, National Archives)
Nixon Presidential Library and Museum - Virtual Library
Includes President Nixon’s own daily diary and National Security Action Memorandums, along with Nixon’s speeches, news releases, press conference transcripts, some private memos, and the diary of Nixon aide H. R. Haldeman, as well as the full text of the Pentagon Papers, which revealed the United States’ covert role in the Vietnam conflict starting in the 1940s.
Oral History of Utah Peace Activists
Features transcripts and audio interviews with a wide range of activists, including military veterans who turned against the war and longtime peace activists. (Utah Valley Univ)
The Pentagon Papers: Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force
The complete report, declassified and with no redactions, available online in PDF format. This report was originally commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1967; small portions were leaked to the press in 1971. The online release includes significant amounts of content never before available. (National Archives)
Rutgers Oral History Archives - Vietnam War
Oral histories from Rutgers graduates who served in Vietnam. All four branches of the military are presented, and interviews may be downloaded in HTML or PDF format. (Rutgers Univ.)
Veterans History Project
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. (Library of Congress)
Vietnam Era Oral History Project
20 interviews with Vietnam veterans, most conducted in 2010. Only excerpts of interview videos are provided, but full interviews are available in audio and transcript form. (Utah Valley Univ.)
Vietnam War Declassification Project
Includes sample declassified documents on the war from the Ford Library. There is also a link to other war documents and photographs.(Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library)
Vietnam War Documents from the Wilson Center
"Documents on the Vietnam War. These telegrams, minutes, and discussion notes range from the mid-1950s to the end of the 1970s, and most come from Chinese and Albanian archives." (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars)
Vietnam War Ephemera Collection
Leaflets and newspapers that were distributed on the University of Washington campus by the Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s and 1970s; covers hot social issues of the time, including the antiwar movement. (Univ. of Washington)
Vietnam War Records from the National Archives
National Archives portal to their records on the Vietnam War. Most records relate to casualty counts for both U.S. and Vietnam. Also files on prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action. (National Archives)
Vietnam War Veterans Oral History Collection
Includes interviewees are from all branches of the armed forces, serving in various years of the nearly ten-year-long conflict, representing different ranks and different fields of duty. (Univ. of Florida)
Sample of Primary Sources in Print - Vietnamese Perspectives
Death in the Ricefields: An eyewitness account of Vietnam's three wars, 1945-1979
Call Number: DS535.S3613 1981 (4th floor)
A Vietcong Memoir
Call Number: DS556.93.T78A38 1985 (4th floor)
Victory in Vietnam: The official history of the people's army of Vietnam, 1954--1975 : the Military History Institute of Vietnam
Call Number: DS558.5 .V47 2002 (4th floor)
Hmong Means Free: Life in Laos and America
Call Number: DS558.8 .H56 1994 (4th floor)
Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The diary of Dang Thuy Tram
Call Number: DS559.44 .D36 2007 (4th floor)
Tears Before the Rain: An oral history of the fall of South Vietnam
Call Number: DS559.5 .E45 1997 (4th floor)
Poems from Captured Documents
Call Number: PL4378.65 .E5 P64 1994 (3rd floor)
These poems were written in journals and notebooks by ordinary soldiers who fought against American forces in Vietnam. The format of this edition is bilingual to enable both Vietnamese and American readers to appreciate these documents.
Mountain River: Vietnamese poetry from the wars, 1948-1993 : a bilingual collection
Call Number: PL4378.6 .M74 1998 (3rd floor)
When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese woman's journey from war to peace
Call Number: LS959.704 .H334W (3rd floor)
What is a Primary Source?
Sample of Primary Sources in Print - American and Multi-National Perspectives
Often a variety of primary documents are collected together into a book (usually related to a time period, topic, or theme).
Below are just a few broad collections in the Library; each book contains many original documents.
(Note: many of these books will contain both primary and secondary content, so use your judgement or ask a librarian for help in distinguishing the two).
Documentation on Viet-Nam agreement
Call Number: DS557 .A692 U5 (4th floor; 2 copies)
The United States in Vietnam
Call Number: DS557.A6K28 (4th floor)
Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam Papers: A documentary collection
Call Number: DS557.4 .J64 1997 (4th floor)
U.S. casualties in Southeast Asia : statistics as of April 30, 1985
Call Number: D 1.2:C 27/2 (1st floor, US Gov Docs)
The Viet-Nam reader : articles and documents on American foreign policy and the Viet-Nam crisis
Call Number: DS557.A6R3 (4th floor)
Days of Decision: An oral history of conscientious objectors in the military during the Vietnam war
Call Number: DS559.5 .G56 (4th floor)
To Bear Any Burden: The Vietnam War and its aftermath in the words of Americans and Southeast Asians
Call Number: DS559.5.S25 1985 (4th floor)
Patriots: The Vietnam War remembered from all sides
Call Number: DS559.5 .A66 2003 (4th floor)
American Civil Liberties Union archives, 1950-1990. Series 2, ACLU Foundation project files
Call Number: GUIDE at REF JC599 .U5 A547 (2nd floor); Complete work on microfilm at JC599 .U5 A547 Reel 1-42 (1st floor, Microforms Room)
Documents from the ACLU related to Vietnam War protest movements and conscientious objectors.
Inconvenient Stories - Vietnam War Veterans
Call Number: DS559.73 .U6 W65 2006 (4th floor)
Portrait of the Enemy
Call Number: DS559.5 .C47 1986 (4th floor)
Vietnam Labyrinth: Allies, enemies, and why the U.S. lost the war
Call Number: DS553.5 .T69 2012 (4th floor)
The Vietnam War
Call Number: DS556.2 .V56 2003 (4th floor)
13/13, Vietnam: search and destroy
Call Number: DS557.A61B3 (4th floor)
Call Number: DS557.A69S46 (4th floor)
War without heroes
Call Number: DS557 .A61 D85 (4th floor)
The Vietnam War (1956-1975)
Call Number: DS557.4 .V54 2015 (4th floor)
The Vietnam War
Call Number: DS557.4 .V59 2004 (4th floor)
The Vietnam War
Call Number: DS557.72 .V55 2005 (4th floor)
Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War
Call Number: DS557.7 .M355 2008 (4th floor)
Cultures in Conflict: The Viet Nam War
Call Number: DS557.7 .V29 2002 (4th floor)
The Vietnam Photo Book
Call Number: DS557.72 .J87 1986 (4th floor)
By Sea, Air, and Land: An illustrated history of the U.S. Navy and the war in Southeast Asia
Call Number: DS558.7 .M36 1994 (4th floor)
Larry Burrows: Vietnam
Call Number: DS557.92 .B87 2002 (4th floor)
Call Number: NE539 .S346 A4 2011 (3rd floor)
Call Number: THOM DS557.72 .J66 2012 (4th floor, Thomason Room)
Mixed media: poems, songs, paintings, drawings, and more.
A Different War: Vietnam in art
Call Number: N6512 .L57 1990 (3rd floor)
From both sides Now: The poetry of the Vietnam War and its aftermath
Call Number: PN6110.V53 F76 1998 (3rd floor)
Winning Hearts and Minds: War poems by Vietnam veterans
Call Number: PS591.V4R6 1972 (3rd floor)