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Vietnam War Era, 1945-1975: Primary Sources in Special Collections: Primary Sources in Special Collections

This guide will help you locate primary source material on the Vietnam War.

Primary Manuscript Sources With Online Finding Aids. Click On Links To Access Full Collection Descriptions.

Primary Manuscript Sources Without Online Finding Aids

Kentucky Military Institute Archives/Vietnam War Collection, ca. 1966-1991. This collection consists of anti-American Viet Cong propaganda leaflets aimed at U.S. African-American soldiers, a scrapbook of photocopied Vietnam War era leaflets prepared by Joe Hertel of the Vietnam Museum in Chicago, Illinois, a pack of survival materials for U.S. soldiers, Allied propaganda leaflets appealing to the Viet Cong, Viet Cong propaganda leaflets in Vietnamese appealing to South Vietnamese (ARVN) soldiers, and United Nations propaganda leaflets from Operation Desert Storm, 1991 and an anti-United Nations leaflet. This collection (Accession #1997MS216) is in process.

Wade Hall Collection of American Letters, Warren and Eve Cogan Papers Series, 1965-1974. Warren Cogan was born in 1903, the son of Jay M. and Loretta M. Cogan, in Canton, Ohio. He later owned a lumber business in that city. This collection consists of travel diaries kept by Warren during his vacation travels around the world with his wife Eve. They enjoyed traveling as passengers aboard cargo freighters, and the daily entries document the economic, cultural and social conditions in the cities and tourist destinations they visited in Europe and Asia, the people they met along the way, the weather they encountered, the meals they enjoyed, life aboard a cargo vessel, as well as world events. In particular their cargo shipped docked at Da Nang, South Vietnam during the height of the Tet Offensive in January and February of 1968 when Saigon was under attack, and they describe the precautions the ship’s captain took to prevent the ship from being attacked as others in the harbor apparently were. This collection also contains a travel diary ca. 1955 that was kept by a couple known only as Nina M. and Nels (last name unknown) and sent to the Cogans, whom they had travelled with on at least one occasion. (Accession #2009MS132).

Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - James Gibson, Jr. Letters Series. This series contains letters written by a soldier, James Gibson, Jr., to his girlfriend and later wife, Linda (Mills) Gibson, who lived in Buhl, Idaho, between 1967 and 1971. Gibson was first stationed in Germany but was later sent to Vietnam. The letters detail their romantic relationship as well as everyday military life. (Accession #2009MS132)

Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - Richard Keener Letters Series. This series contains letters from Richard Keener to his fiancee and later wife Patricia (Torres) Keener. The letters indicate their marriage took place in October or November of 1968. Richard, a sergeant, participated in combat during the Vietnam War. He write his letters while he was stationed in California, once he was deployed to Vietnam and while he recovered from a leg injury in San Francisco. The letters primarily discuss everyday life and family, while touching upon various aspects of military life in Vietnam. The letters also shed light on the recovery process of an injured soldier. (Accession #2009MS132)

Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - Marilyn Pfoff Letters Series. This series contains letters written to Marilyn Pfoff primarily by her boyfriend, Joseph Grams. Grams wrote to her during his deployment to Vietnam in 1969. During this time, Pfoff was attending the Wisconsin School for Girls in Oregon, Wisconsin. While Gram's letters mainly discuss his affection for her, they also mention everyday life in the military. The letters describe some of the horrible conditions under which the Vietnam War was fought. There are also letters from Pfoff's brother, Peter, and her friend, Jeanne Prickil. (Accession #2009MS132)

Wade Hall Collection of American Letters - Dennis M. Valentine Papers Series, 1967-1969, 1968-1969 (bulk dates).  Dennis M. Valentine enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. He was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma from 1967-1969. He was discharged in 1969. Valentine served as a private and his unit was never deployed to Vietnam. This collection of 26 letters from his parents Palmer and Lillian Valentine of Aurora, Illinois offer detail on the protest movements in the U.S. during the war, as well as commentary on race riots and the assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. Valentine's mother was critical of the racial violence and riots that erupted following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. She viewed the upheaval as only hurting African Americans in their quest for equal rights and stirring up further discontent in the country. She also expressed negative opinions toward war protestors on college campuses and at the 1968 Democratic National Convention held in Chicago. Lillian Valentine's letters highlighted the way the protest spirit spread across age groups, noting that high school students were protesting and demanding the removal of certain teachers and administrators in Illinois. After Dennis Valentine expressed apprehension toward volunteering for the Vietnam War, his mother told him his feelings were understandable considering the "way things are", but not to worry because he would be serving with his "buddies". She expressed feelings of wanting the country to return to normal and needing to find the right solution to stop international and domestic upheaval. The letters offer insight into a conservative opinion of the radicalization of youth and the Vietnam War. (Accession #2009MS132)