The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University
by Jason Stewart
University of Southern Mississippi

Graduate Students who are interested in conducting research at the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University should begin by checking the archive’s website. Of the millions of documents that the Vietnam Archive holds, over 3 million pages are available for free online. These materials, which include documents, letters, pictures, maps, oral histories, as well as audio and visual recordings, can be accessed by going to and clicking on the Virtual Vietnam Archive link.

For researchers interested in copyrighted materials or materials that have not been digitized, a research trip to the Vietnam Archive in Lubbock, Texas will be necessary. Located in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library on the campus of Texas Tech, the archive houses the largest collection of Vietnam War related materials outside of the National Archives.

While it is not required, researchers are generally encouraged to contact the archive staff in advance. By doing so, the staff can ensure that materials the researcher has requested will be readily available. The well prepared researcher will also benefit from making a list of desired copyrighted materials that are listed on the Virtual Vietnam Archive website, but are only available at the physical location.

The archive’s reading room provides researchers with a number of amenities.  These include lockers for personal items, desktop computers, audio/visual equipment, electrical outlets for laptops, and wireless internet service. However, in order to access the wireless internet service, the researcher must register for an e-raider account. To ensure access to the e-raider account upon arrival, it is recommended that the researcher contact the archive in advance. Imaging equipment such as cameras and scanners are forbidden in the reading room, but one can obtain all digitized copyrighted materials for free by downloading them to a laptop hard drive or thumb drive. Paper copies of materials can be obtained for a fee by making a request at the reference desk.

For those traveling to Lubbock, the hotels near the campus of Texas Tech have rates from about $75 to $120 per night. However, some researchers have found rooms for rent on Craigslist for more economical rates. Researchers can dine inexpensively on campus or at nearby restaurants for as low as ten to fifteen dollars per meal. For those that choose to drive, parking is available on campus, but it is recommended to contact the staff in advance so that a parking permit can be readily available upon arrival.

(Summer 2010)