University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
SCUA

Collection area: Southeast Asians

Cambodian Crisis Committee

Cambodian Crisis Committee Records, 1982-1990
17 boxes (26 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 361

In 1979 the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia removing the Khmer Rouge from power and ending the four year reign of a regime responsible for the deaths of more than a million people. In the upheaval surrounding the invasion hundreds of thousands of Cambodians fled to nearby Thailand. From camps along the border of Thailand and Cambodia 150,000 Cambodian refugees eventually resettled in the U.S.

The Cambodian Crisis Committee in Amherst, Massachusetts worked to educate Americans about the situation of the refugees, as well as help Cambodian families reunite. Elaine Kenseth Abel, a member of the Family Reunification Advocacy Project, received numerous letters from Cambodian refugees in the U.S. seeking assistance in getting their family members out of Thailand. The collection consists of case files, correspondence, and photographs documenting Cambodian refugees and their American advocates reunite families. The collection also includes newsletters and correspondence from other advocacy groups like the Cambodian Crisis Committee throughout the U.S.

Subjects
  • Cambodians--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Political refugees--United States
  • Refugees--Cambodia
Contributors
  • Cambodian Crisis Committee
  • Kenseth-Abel, Elaine

Cambodian New Year

Cambodian New Year Celebration Collection, 1986
1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 114
Image of At home, photo by Cham Nan Koy, 1982
At home, photo by Cham Nan Koy, 1982

Organized by UMass anthropology professor Joel Halpern, the images in this collection were put on display during the Cambodian New Year celebration in 1986. As part of the celebration, members of the large community of Cambodian refugees who have resettled in Amherst were recognized.

The collection consists of photographs as well as programs, correspondence, and financial records pertaining to the Cambodian-Americans in Amherst New Year’s Day Celebration and Exhibit of 1986.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Cambodian Americans
  • Political refugees--United States
  • Refugees--Cambodia
Contributors
  • Halpern, Joel M. (Joel Martin), 1929-
Types of material
  • Photographs

Cambodian-Americans in Amherst

Cambodian Americans in Amherst Exhibition Collection, 1986
1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 114

Organized by UMass anthropology professor Joel Halpern, the images in this collection were put on display during the Cambodian New Year celebration in 1986. As part of the celebration, members of the large community of Cambodian refugees who have resettled in Amherst were recognized.

Subjects
  • Cambodians--Massachusetts--Amherst
Types of material
  • Photographs

Chigas, George

George Chigas Collection, 1987
1 box (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 180
Image of Men at consecration of statue at the Trairatanaram Temple, 1987
Men at consecration of statue at the Trairatanaram Temple, 1987

A Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and formerly the Associate Director of the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale University (1998-2001), George Chigas is a noted political commentator on the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s.

This small collection is comprised of photographs taken by George Chigas of Cambodian sites and ceremonies in Lowell, Mass. The images document the ordination of novice monks, the consecration of a Buddhist statue, a Cambodian festival kite, and a community money tree celebration.

Gift of George Chigas, Sept. 1987
Subjects
  • Cambodians--Massachusetts
  • Lowell (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Chigas, George
Types of material
  • Photographs

Kenseth-Abel, Elaine

Elaine Kenseth-Abel Cambodian Photographs, 1970-1979
1 box (1.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 115

The collection primarily consists of photographs taken by Elaine Kenseth-Abel of Cambodians refugees in Thailand who later relocated to Amherst, Massachusetts during the 1970s-1980s. The collection also includes color prints of drawings by E. Seng Huot depicting Cambodian genocide.

Subjects
  • Cambodia--Photographs
  • Cambodians--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Refugees--Cambodia
  • Refugees--Thailand
  • Thailand--Photographs
Contributors
  • Huot, E. Seng
  • Kenseth-Abel, Elaine
Types of material
  • Photographs

Nguyen, Lucy Hong Nhiem, 1939-

Lucy Nguyen Papers, 1983-2001
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 026

A scholar of Francophone literature in Asia and Director of the United Asia Learning Resource Center, Lucy Nguyen Hong Nhiem was born in Kontum, Vietnam, in 1939. A graduate of the University of Saigon and teacher of French, she fled Saigon in 1975 just three days before its fall. From a refugee camp in Arkansas, she traveled through Connecticut and then to Springfield, Mass., before arriving at UMass in 1976 to resume her studies. After completing her MA (1978) and PhD (1982), she held positions at Smith, Amherst, and Mount Holyoke Colleges before beginning her tenure at UMass in 1984. An Adjunct Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures, she also served as Academic Advisor to the Bilingual Collegiate Program and Vice-Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants.

Nguyen’s papers are a small but critical collection of materials on Southeast Asian Refugees. Included among the papers are materials relating to the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees, materials relating to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees and Immigrants (1983), and a paper on the status of refugees in Massachusetts in 1987, along with unpublished writings, professional correspondence, and a handful of notes from a search committee.

Subjects
  • Refugees--Vietnam
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Bilingual Collegiate Program
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Vietnamese--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Nguyen, Lucy Hong Nhiem, 1939-

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Collection, 1925-1986

The Southeast Asia Collection highlights the regional wars from the 1970s to the 1980s, including a series on Southeast Asian refugees in America, along with materials on regional economic development, especially in the Mekong River Basin. The collection contains hundreds of reports on agricultural and industrial projects in the region, examining everything from the impact of electrification on village life in Thailand to a description of a Soviet-built hospital in Cambodia in 1961, to an assessment of herbicide in Vietnam in 1971.

Collected primarily by Joel Halpern and James Hafner, the collection includes background, field, and situation reports by U.S. Operations Missions and U.S. Agency for International Development; reports, publications, statistics, and background information from other U.S. government agencies, governments of Laos and Thailand, and the United Nations; correspondence, reports, and reference materials of nongovernmental organizations; reports and essays by individuals about Southeast Asia; news releases and newspapers; published and unpublished bibliographies; and interviews with U.S. military personnel. Most material comes from governmental and organizational sources, but there are papers by, and debriefs of, numerous individuals.

Subjects
  • Cambodia--History--1953-1975
  • Laos--History
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Contributors
  • Hafner, James
  • Halpern, Joel Martin

Spragens, John

John Spragens Cambodian Photograph Collection, 1983
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 116

The photojournalist John Spragens spent the better part of a decade living in Southeast Asia from 1966-1974, working for a variety of relief and peace organizations.

Taken by John Spragens late in 1983, the black-and-white photographs in this collection document Cambodia shortly after the Vietnamese Army defeated Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge and installed a new order.

Acquired from John Spragens, 1986
Subjects
  • Agriculture--Cambodia--Photographs
  • Cambodia--Photographs
  • Farmers markets--Cambodia--Photographs
  • Fishing--Cambodia--Photographs
  • Orphans--Cambodia--Photographs
Types of material
  • Photographs
Restrictions: The photographer retains copyright to all images in the collection.

Vietnamese Students Association (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Vietnamese Students Association New Year's Day Celebration Collection, 1985
1 envelope (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 106 bd

The Vietnamese Students Association hosted a Vietnamese New Year celebration at the Campus Center of the University of Massachusetts Amherst on February 20, 1985. Collection contains twelve photographs and a program listing sponsors, speakers, performers, the sequence of events, descriptions of ancestor worship, the legend of the earth and the sky cakes, the menu, and some song lyrics.

Gift of Lucy Nguyen, 1985
Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students--Social life and customs
  • Vietnamese New Year--Massachusetts--Photographs
  • Vietnamese Students Association (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
  • Vietnamese students--Massachusetts--Folklore
  • Vietnamese students--Massachusetts--Social life and customs
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Songs

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