Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates

Monday, September 30, 2013

Staff Departure – Mary Saffell

As many of you may have already heard, longtime Associate Director and Archivist Mary Saffell has accepted the position of Senior Archivist/University Archivist with Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, beginning in October.  Mary joined the Vietnam Center and Archive in the spring of 2002 and has been instrumental in the growth the Archive has experienced over the last decade, as well as the development of the Virtual Vietnam Archive.

During her time with the VNCA, Mary has been a part of a significant number of wide-ranging projects.  She has received grants for and directed numerous archival projects, starting with a project to preserve the film “Dong Tam Base Camp,” part of the William Foulke Collection.  In 2005 Mary applied for a grant through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to process the Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association/Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation (FVPPA/VAHF) collection.  This grant was awarded in 2006 and led to the creation of the Vietnamese American Heritage Project at the Archive, as well as an additional NHPRC grant (currently ongoing) to digitize this invaluable collection.  In 2011  Mary, along with current Assistant Archivist Amy Mondt, and the VNCA’s former Communications Coordinator Victoria Lovelady, initiated the VNCA’s Guest Lecture Series, which to date has brought 14 speakers to Lubbock and will continue this fall with two additional speakers, and four speakers planned for 2014.

These are just a few of the many things Mary has been a part of during her nearly twelve years with the Vietnam Center and Archive.  She has played a vital role with the VNCA and will be greatly missed.  We wish her the best of luck in Fort Worth!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Watch Online: The VNCA 2013 Conference, Vietnam, 1963

The Vietnam Center and Archive’s 2013 Conference focusing on Vietnam in the year 1963 is currently underway.  You can watch the conference online through the US National Archive’s Ustream channel:

If you are in the DC area, there is still time to join us.  This free conference continues until 5pm today, and starts again on Saturday at 8:30am.  For more information on the conference and panelists, visit

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ready for takeoff! Vietnam: The Helicopter War exhibit


U.S. Art Company load
Vietnam: The Helicopter exhibit

The Vietnam Center and Archive is proud to announce that the Vietnam: The Helicopter War exhibit is on its way to Australia.

The National VietnamVeterans Museumin Phillip Island, Australia, island just south of Melbourne, Victoria, will host the exhibit starting November 17th 2013 and ending January 26th 2014.

In the summer of 2013, the exhibit was on display in Lubbock’s Silent Wings Museum for the first time. Then, it was displayed in Midland,Texas. And now, a year from its creation, the exhibit will be available to the Australian public.

Friday, September 20, 2013

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

The third Friday in September is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. There are 83,343 Americans listed as MIA since WWII, including 1,644 from the Vietnam War. Please take a moment today to remember those who are still missing from the Vietnam War and all other wars.

To learn more about efforts to account for and recover all of our missing personnel, visit the Defense Prisoner of War Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), or this lecture by Major General (Ret) W Montague Winfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs and Director of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office, who spoke as part of the Vietnam Center and Archive Guest Lecture Series earlier this year.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival 2013

Vietnam Center Collection. Unicorn paper mache mask.

Thursday, September 19th marks the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon or Full Moon Festival. Traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon appears larger than it does on any other night of the year, the Mid Autumn Moon Festival (Tet Trung Thu) is the second biggest holiday in Vietnam and is widely celebrated throughout Asia.


Kathryn Campbell Collection. 8 year old Thi Thi Bich Nhi blends Vietnamese and Chinese legend in her drawing titled, Chi Hang (The Moon Goddess). She depicts both the Vietnamese man in the moon, Chu Cuoi, and the Chinese woman in the moon associated with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.


It is a time for family and to celebrate life, prosperity, and the harvest. During the Mid-Autumn festival, parents prepare their children’s favorite dishes and buy them new toys. Children hear the story of Chu Cuoi (the man in the moon) and other fairytales.

Douglas Pike Photograph Collection
Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration – “Moon Men” – Enterprising merchant in Saigon uses display of Lunar Astronauts to call attention to “Moon Cakes,” a traditional delicacy sold during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Hanging and floating lanterns are set out to decorate and people dance the lion and dragon dances. Mooncakes (made from lotus seed, ground beans, and containing a bright salted egg yolk in the center) are given to family and friends.

Ogden Williams Collection USOM/Office of Rural Affairs

Pomelo fruit and watermelon seeds are a special treat. At night children parade through the streets to the beat of drums wearing Paper Mache masks and carrying lanterns in the shapes of stars, rabbit heads, fish (carpe), butterflies, or lanterns with a lit candle inside that makes shapes spin representing the seasonal spinning of the earth.

Vietnam Center Collection. Paper mache mask.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Latest Issue of the Friends of the Vietnam Center Newsletter Available Online

The current issue of the Friends of the Vietnam Center Newsletter is now available online.  This issue is focused on our upcoming conference, Vietnam, 1963, to be held at the National Archives in Washington, DC on Sept. 26-28th, 2013, and includes a full agenda for the conference.

The conference is free and open to the public, but we ask people who are planning on attending the conference to pre-register online.

If you would like to receive a full color printed version of this newsletter in your mailbox, please consider becoming a friend of the Vietnam Center. Membership information can be found on our Friends of the Vietnam Center webpage.


Fall 2011 Issue:

Newsletter Back Issues:

Membership Information:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Orderly Departure Program Digitization Update – 200,000 Pages Online

Half-way through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) funded project to digitize the Orderly Departure Program (ODP) Application Files of the FVPPA/VAHF collection, two major milestones have been reached – over 10,000 ODP files are now available online, totaling more that 200,000 pages.  Although the pace has slowed down this summer with many of the students involved in the project taking summer vacations, the project is still well ahead of schedule, with over 90 of the 124 boxes of ODP files completely digitized.

This three year project is projected to make available online over 250,000 pages of materials documenting the immigration experience of Vietnamese to the United States following the end of the war in Vietnam.   All of these files are accessible through the Virtual Vietnam Archive, and you can keep up with the project on our ODP Digitization Project Page.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day from the Vietnam Center and Archive, and thank you to all of those who have worked to preserve our freedom!

Undated, Michael G. Kelly Collection

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

VNCA 2013 Conference Registration

The Vietnam Center and Archive’s 2013 Conference, Vietnam: 1963, will be held at the National Archives in Washington, DC on Sept. 26-28th, 2013.  The conference is free and open to the public.  Seating in the McGowan Theatre is limited, and due to the high level of interest in this conference, the VNCA is opening online pre-registration.  Pre-registration will guarantee you a seat in the theatre.

The conference agenda is also available online.  More information is available at

Online Registration Form

Conference Agenda

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Guest Lecture Series Presents Dr. Patrick Hagopian

Dr. Patrick Hagopian is a Senior Lecturer in History at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom and is the author of The Vietnam War in American Memory: Veterans, Memorials and the Politics of Healing, an in-depth examination of the development of many of the Vietnam War memorials in the United States and the vital role the Vietnam Veteran community played in their creation. Dr. Hagopian will be donating his papers relating to the writing of this well received work to the Vietnam Center and Archive and will speak about the collection and his experiences in writing his book on US Vietnam War memorials on Thursday, July 18th at 3:00pm in the Formby Room of the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library on the TTU campus.  The talk and collection viewing is free and open to the public.

The mission of the Vietnam Center and Archive Guest Lecture Series is to enrich the intellectual and cultural life of students, faculty, and the community at large by bringing distinguished individuals to campus for presentations on specific aspects of the Vietnam War, its lasting impact on American politics, society and culture, and on contemporary issues in Southeast Asia.

This lecture series is funded in part by a generous grant from the Helen Jones Foundation.  For more information on the 2013 VNCA Guest Lecture Series see, or contact Mary Saffell at 806-742-9010 or

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