Austin History Center

Nguyen Family Papers

An Inventory to the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Nguyen family
Title: Nguyen Family Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1970-2007
Bulk Dates: 1980-1990
Abstract: This collection includes family photos and correspondence between Phong and Tina Nguyen while they were separated by distance due to the Vietnam War.
Identification: AR.2009.056
Quantity: 0.40 linear feet (1 box)
Language: The records are in Vietnamese.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, 810 Guadalupe, PO BOX 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Phong and Tina Nguyen married in 1970 in Vietnam and had five sons. Faced with economic and political hardships, they decided to leave Vietnam in 1980. However, due to financial and logistical constraints, only Phong and two sons were able to escape by boat, landing at a refugee camp in Indonesia, then America. Tina and three sons stayed behind in Vietnam and thus, the couple was separated for 10 years. During this time, they corresponded through numerous letters and occasional phone calls. In 1990, the family was finally reunited in Houston, Texas, and in 1997, they moved to Austin.

Scope and Contents

The photographs in the collection document the time the Nguyen family lived in Vietnam, the months spent at the refugee camp in Indonesia, Phong’s first job as a contractor in Houston, Texas, the family reunion at the airport, and life in the 1990’s in America. The letters between Phong and Tina span between 1980 and 1990 and describe life Tina’s life in Vietnam and Phong’s adjustment to America. There are over 200 letters and some poems and writings in Vietnamese.


There is one folder of photos grouped and organized chronologically and 12 folders of correspondence organized by year.


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Nguyen, Phong, 1942- .
Nguyen, Tina, 1947- .
Nguyen, An, 1971- .
Nguyen, Thi.
Nguyen, Thien.
Nguyen, Bao.
Nguyen, Nghia.
Saigon (Vietnam)
Galang Island, Kepulauan Riau (Indonesia)
Baton Rouge (La.)
Houston (Tex.)
Austin (Tex.)
Vietnamese Americans.
Vietnamese American children.
Vietnamese American families.
Vietnam- History.
Vietnamese poetry.
Vietnam War 1961-1975.
Document Types:

Related Material

AF Subject Files

  • AF- Asian Americans-Vietnamese A7090 (1) General
  • AF- Asian Americans-Vietnamese A7090 (2) Vietnamese American Heritage Foundation

Archives and Manuscripts

  • AR.2009.048 "Vietnam to Austin: Restoring Community" Exhibit Collection

Administrative Information

Custodial History

The collection was kept in the Nguyen Family home and donated to the Austin History Center on 01/08/09.

Preferred Citation

Nguyen Family Papers (AR.2009.056). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/2009/036

Donation Date: 2009 January

Processing Information

Final Processing and Finding Aid: Dancy Zhou and Esther Chung/2009.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Nguyen Family Papers, 1970-2007

Box Folder
1 1 Photos, 1970-2007
2-12 Correspondence, 1980-1990
13 Clippings and writings, 1980-1990