AFSC Vietnam Curriculum Project: Children’s drawings depict life in 1960s Vietnam

Author: Alyssa Tkach, Archives Assistant

Children's drawing: two men shake hands with soldiers and a plane in the background

“Tong Thong Di Honolulu (The President Goes to Honolulu),” created by Le hoang Cuong in 1966 in Cholon, Vietnam, 12 x 16 in.

University Archives and Special Collections holds a collection of eighteen children’s drawings that document life in Vietnam in the 1960s. The drawings were made possible by various world peace organizations and activists, including the American Friends Service Committee, the Committee of Responsibility, and Le van Khoa. 

Child's drawing of Batman standing on grass with a building in the background

“Batman,” created by Vo Phuc Hai in 1966 in Cholon, Vietnam, 12 x 16 in.

These drawings were created by Vietnamese children around 1966 as resource materials for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The AFSC is a Quaker organization that was formed in 1917 by the Religious Society of Friends in order to aid civilians who were affected by World War I. In the 1960s, they helped build anti-war coalitions to challenge U.S. policy in Vietnam (1). Today, they continue to work to improve racial relations around the globe, advocating for social justice and peace. 

Child's drawing: a house with clouds and a tree

“Canh Nha Que (Country Scene),” created by Nguyen Huu Cuong in 1966 in Thi Nghe, Vietnam, 12 x 16 in.

Le van Khoa is a music composer, photographer, and educator who arrived in the United States from Vietnam in May 1975 as a war refugee (2). He was born to a working-class family on June 10, 1933, in Can-Tho, a city in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. As a child, Le van Khoa taught himself how to read and play music, which ultimately led him to win an award at age nineteen for two songs he had composed and submitted to a national music contest (2).

Child's drawing: a woman standing and a person rowing a boat

“Chinh Phu (Soldier’s Wife),” created by Vu thi Bich Tram in 1966 in Gia Dinh, Vietnam, 12 x 16 in.

Le van Khoa’s success earned him a job as a host for a children’s television show, World of Children (2). In addition to his passion for music, Le van Khoa is a renowned photographer who co-founded the Artistic Photography Association of Vietnam and published three books (3). The Special Collections and University Archives department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is home to a small collection of his photographs, which focus on life in Vietnam (3). The drawings were submitted to a contest that Le van Khoa sponsored in connection with World of Children, and he later donated the drawings to the Committee of Responsibility in an effort to help raise funds for Vietnam (4). 

Child's drawing: a smiling cat holding an umbrella in the rain

“Con Meo Xach O (Cat With Umbrella),” created by Ta thai Duong in 1966 in Cholon, Vietnam, 12 x 16 in.

The Committee of Responsibility (COR) was formed in 1966 by medical personnel, scientists, religious leaders, and other conscious citizens to assist Vietnamese children under the age of sixteen. The Committee provided medical assistance by bringing children to the United States for various treatments and rehabilitation. Around 100 children were treated by this program, and after completing their treatment, nearly all of them returned to Vietnam (5).

These images range from lighthearted cartoon characters and nature scenes to emotional depictions of soldiers and war. The drawings contextualize the impact of the Vietnam War from a Vietnamese perspective; researchers who study the residual effects of war on civilians and children will find this collection to be particularly valuable.


References and further reading

1. “Vietnam Summer,” American Friends Service Committee, accessed April 23, 2020, https://www.afsc.org/vietnamsummer.

2. “Le Van Khoa Collection,” UMass Amherst Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, accessed April 23, 2020, http://findingaids.library.umass.edu/ead/mums170.

3. “Le Van Khoa Photograph Collection,” UMass Amherst Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, accessed April 23, 2020, http://scua.library.umass.edu/umarmot/vietnam/.

4. “American Friends Service Committee, Vietnam Curriculum Project: children’s drawings and resource materials, 1954-1977, bulk 1963-1976,” UMass Boston Digital Collections, Joseph P. Healey Library, accessed April 23, 2020, https://openarchives.umb.edu/digital/collection/p15774coll8/id/135/rec/1.

5. “Committee of Responsibility Records, 1966-1978,” Swarthmore College Peace Collection, last modified February 9, 2018, https://www.swarthmore.edu/library/peace/DG151-175/DG173COR.htm.

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Massachusetts Association of Older Americans records re-processed and available for research

Boston Mayor Kevin White and unidentified women, taken for the publication The Older American, 1975. MA Association of Older American records, University Archives and Special Collections.

Photograph of Boston Mayor Kevin White and unidentified women outside The Mobile Market taken for the publication The Older American, 1975. Massachusetts Association of Older American records, University Archives and Special Collections.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that the records of the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans have been re-processed to be more accessible for research.

The Massachusetts Association of Older Americans (MAOA) was founded in 1969 by Frank Manning as a non-profit advocacy agency. The organization works to ensure a dignified life for older people by striving for adequate income, affordable housing, and accessible, quality health care. The statewide membership is comprised of individuals working to keep older people in the mainstream, increase public awareness about aging issues, and build a strong network for elder advocacy in the Commonwealth. An early Faneuil Hall rally organized by MAOA drew more than 1,000 elders to fight for reduced Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) fares. In 1971, MAOA (then called the Massachusetts Legislative Council for Older Americans) gathered 14,000 seniors and supporters at Suffolk Downs to rally for elder issues. Speakers included Frank Manning, Massachusetts House Speaker David Bartley, United States Senator Edward Brooke, and Boston Mayor Kevin White.

Yellow program book cover for the Third Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Legislative Council for Older Americans.

Cover of program book for Third Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Legislative Council for Older Americans, held on April 23, 1971, at Suffolk Downs in East Boston. The event and rally was attended by around 14,000 people and included remarks by a number of local and national public officials.

MAOA’s advocacy efforts led to the creation of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs in 1971, which was one of the first cabinet-level senior agencies in the nation. MAOA is also responsible for helping to end mandatory retirement at age 65. MAOA continues to advocate for increased funding for home care, nutrition, and fuel assistance, and some of MAOA’s current programs include mental health programs, elder advocacy training for interested groups throughout the state, and SeniorNet, which provides computer training. MAOA collaborates with the UMass Boston Gerontology graduate programs and a number of other groups, such as Boston Partnership of Older Adults, Mature Workers coalition, Senior Actualization and Growth Expectations-Boston Collaborative, Senior Housing Coalition, the Senior Pharmacy Coalition, Action for Boston Community Development, Massachusetts Home Care, and the Massachusetts Councils on Aging and Senior Centers.

The re-processed collection includes organizational files, membership lists, board meeting minutes and agendas, correspondence, and the organization’s by-laws. The collection also includes files related to the Legislative Council of Older Americans and materials used as part of the organization’s advocacy efforts and research. A run from 1975 to 2000 of the MAOA’s quarterly newsletter, The Older American, is available as part of Series IV in the re-processed collection.

View the finding aid for the records of the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans here.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment, please contact library.archives@umb.edu or 617-287-5469.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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Theresa-India Young papers processed and available for research

Theresa-India Young, undated. Courtesy of the Theresa-India Young Estate.

University Archives and Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston was awarded a Research Inventory Grant from Mass Humanities in June 2017. This allowed us the opportunity to devote a significant amount of time and resources to acquire, arrange, and describe the papers of noted Boston fiber artist, educator, and artist activist, Theresa-India Young. The collection was donated by Jacqueline McRath, executrix of Young’s estate in 2016. An exhibit showcasing materials from the collection is planned for June 2018 at the Grossmann Gallery in the Joseph P. Healey Library.

The Theresa-India Young papers, spanning 41.75 linear feet, document her work as a fiber artist, interdisciplinary arts teacher, and education consultant working in the Boston area from 1975 to 2008. Young taught studio art and museum education at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where a scholarship is endowed in her name. She also taught at the Museum of Fine Arts, Roxbury Community College, Boston Public Schools, Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, Harvard University Museum, Cambridge Friends School, Lesley University, and Wheelock College.

The collection documents her involvement with various Boston communities, including the Piano Craft Guild Tenants’ Association and Piano Factory Gallery, where Young worked as an advocate for her fellow artists at the Piano Factory Studios when rising rent threatened to displace resident artists. Young served as a mentor in her community, helping her colleagues and local youth claim their identities as artists, and pursue opportunities related to those roles.

University Archives and Special Collections, UMass Boston, 1972, Kingston Black Arts Theatre exhibit flyer, artwork by Theresa-India Young

Young mentored Boston youth by developing the Kush Club, a teen docent program, and managed Primal Arts, an educational consulting business that specialized in cultural presentations, art workshops, and museum tours. As a teacher and purveyor of cultural heritage, Young worked to preserve and maintain folk art traditions in her artwork, such as the Gullah heritage of basket weaving. Her work was informed by her research into African aesthetics and traditions, particularly weaving and hair braiding. She was also prolific in ceramics, European Tapestry, and ethnic weaving.

Much of her research is preserved in the collection, in the form of clippings, handwritten notes and varied publications. As a longtime resident of the Piano Factory, Young lived and worked within a dynamic local arts scene. The collection documents her relationships with other local artists, like Allan Rohan Crite, as well as the issues they faced, such as affordable housing.

This collection consists of correspondence, handwritten notes, curriculum research, meeting minutes, scrapbooks, clippings, publications, ephemera, photographs, slides, and original artwork by Young and others, and includes personal papers related to Young’s early years in New York, her education, and genealogical research of her Gullah heritage in South Carolina and Africa.

Logo for Mass Humanities in orange and blue.

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Research areas include but are not limited to: African-American art and artists in Boston, multicultural education, museum education, and artist tenancy rights. University Archives and Special Collections also hold the records of the Piano Craft Guild Tenants’ Association, 1972-2000, which provide  researchers with a complete picture of Young’s life while living at the Piano Factory Studios.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment, please contact library.archives@umb.edu or 617-287-5469.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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Cathy Buckley papers and the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway publications: Explore the history of bicycling in these newly-processed collections

"On The Path," Minuteman Bikeway 4th grade class project

“On The Path” by Mr. Levy’s 4th grade class, 1993-1994

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that a number of our collections related to the history of bicycling have been processed and are now available for research. This is the fifth of several planned posts on Open Archives News that will highlight some of the recently-processed collections in University Archives & Special Collections related to the history of bicycling.

Minuteman Commuter Bikeway publications, 1993-1994

This collection contains the signed first edition copy of the booklet On the Path, published by Mr. Levy’s fourth-grade class at the Bowman Elementary School in Lexington, Massachusetts, as well as the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway brochure guide from 1993. View the finding aid for this collection here.

Arlington, Massachusetts celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway in September 2017 by placing art along the bike path and conducting lectures and presentations. Learn more about these events here.

Cathy Buckley papers, 1973-2007

Cathy Buckley worked for the Central Transportation Planning Staff in Boston, Massachusetts and was one of the founders of the Boston Area Bicycle Coalition (now the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition) in 1977. This collection mostly contains correspondence, but also includes notes, proposals, clippings, studies, reports, brochures, and maps. This collection contains documents primarily related to Cathy Buckley’s bicycling work as part of the Central Transportation Planning Staff including planning, design, and construction of the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway. View the finding aid for this collection here.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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Ann E. Berthoff papers now available for research

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that the Ann E. Berthoff papers have been processed and are available for research. The papers were processed by Ashlie Duarte-Smith and Donna Russo, graduate students in UMass Boston’s History Department.

Ann E. Berthoff, Red notebook: Advanced Composition, 1983-1986

Ann E. Berthoff, red notebook: Advanced Composition, 1983-1986

This collection documents the career of Ann E. Berthoff as an instructor and philosopher of the English language while at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Prior to joining the faculty at UMass Boston, Berthoff taught English at Bradford Junior College, Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, and Haverford College.

Very little material pertains to Berthoff’s personal life. Correspondence primarily consists of communications with editors regarding various publications and intellectual exchanges with other authors and teachers. The collection also includes Berthoff’s records of her teachings, personal research materials that include work not her own, manuscripts of Berthoff’s published writing, and one unpublished manuscript.

The bulk of the collection contains professional and personal research that Berthoff collected over the course of her lifetime related to her writing and teaching. These materials include newspaper and magazine clippings, printouts of published third-party work, copious handwritten notecards, classroom exercises, syllabi, student work and grades (student names have been redacted), lectures, correspondence, and course reviews.

Subject matter includes reviews of student and colleague work, colleagues’ teaching syllabi, ventilation systems and air quality at the University of Massachusetts Boston, I.A. Richards, Susanne K. Langer, Paulo Freire, and various authors and their publications. Much of the collection was annotated and arranged in a secondary order by Hephzibah Roskelly as she conducted research for a book about Berthoff’s work.

Materials in this collection are now available for consultation in the Archives Research Room (Healey Library, 5th floor). View the finding aid for this collection here.

For questions about this collection or to schedule a research appointment, please contact library.archives@umb.edu or 617-287-5469.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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