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Hunt, David : Oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans, and others, 1974-1975, 1986


Quantity

2 card file boxes, 1/2 file box

Provenance

David Hunt donated these oral histories to the University of Massachusetts at Boston Archives and Special Collections Department of the Healey Library in November 1993.

History

David Hunt has been teaching in the History Department at UMass Boston since the early 1970s. He has been affiliated with the Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequence. In 1974 and 1975, he assigned students in the Research and Methods Seminar (History 480) to do interviews with veterans of the Vietnam War. Hunt comments, "we did these interviews to recognize and record historically significant experiences of Vietnam vets, many of whom attended UMB." In 1986 he traveled to Vietnam.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of audiocassettes, reel-to-reel audiotapes, and two partial and two complete transcripts of interviews UMass Boston students did with Vietnam veterans and one veteran who served in Korea. There are also audiocassettes from Hunt's 1986 trip to Vietnam, one of a WBCN radio program on Watergate, and two published by the American Arts Project on Vietnam.

The collection documents the war and related experiences of over fifty veterans during the Vietnam War, including some graphic and emotional details. The student interviewers were to begin with questions that provide an overview of each veterans' family and educational background and political attitudes before he joined the military or was drafted. The questions, which appear to be fairly consistent throughout the interviews, proceeded on to topics such as basic training; attitudes towards the military, Vietnamese people, and U.S. policy; race relations; military operations, discipline, and duties; and what it was like to return to the United States. Some students conducted better interviews than others, and some audiotapes are of poor quality.

The interviews were conducted in the mid 1970s, before public attention was as focused on veterans and remembering the Vietnam War. This may make the interviews more valuable as the veterans made their reflections in the context of the war being newly "over."

Note: Most, if not all, of the veterans interviewed for this class project agreed to participate under the condition of anonymity. Researchers are forbidden from attempting to discern the names of any of the veterans interviewed, from writing down the names of any of the veterans whose names are evident, and from attempting to learn more about or contact any of the veterans interviewed.

All interviews have been digitized as of March 2010, and are available to researchers in Archives & Special Collections.