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Lam (Tony) papers
MS.SEA.058  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Content Description
  • Arrangement
  • Repository Processing Note

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
    Title: Tony Lam papers
    Creator: Lam, Tony C. M.
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.SEA.058
    Physical Description: 2 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1965-2008
    Language of Material: English and Vietnamese.
    Abstract: This collection is comprised of the personal and political papers of Tony Lam, a refugee from Southern Vietnam who influenced Orange County, California for several decades. The collection documents Lam’s life at Camp Asan refugee camp, his campaigns for Westminster City Council, and his influence on Orange County’s Vietnamese American community. Materials include pamphlets, stickers, and other campaign objects, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs.
    Physical Description: Materials relating to Camp Asan are brittle and discolored. Newspaper clippings are brittle throughout box 2.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where the UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    Tony Lam Papers. MS-SEA-058. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations

    Processing Information

    Processed by Samantha Noelle Hilton in 2016.

    Biographical / Historical

    Tony Lam was the first Vietnamese American to be elected to public office in the United States. In addition to serving as a politician, Lam was a refugee from Vietnam and an activist who assisted Vietnamese refugees with their settlement in the United States and helped create an inclusive community for the Vietnamese American community in Orange County, California.
    Before the 1975 fall of Saigon, Tony Lam worked for the U.S. government in Vietnam as both the assistant director of counterinsurgency at Vietnam’s embassy to the U.S. and as the U.S. government contractor in Vietnam. Because of his ties to the United States, Lam became a political target when Communism began to take over Vietnam; Lam, his wife, and six children fled in 1975. The family lived for a few months in Guam at refugee camp Asan. Lam utilized his leadership skills by serving as the director of Asan where he oversaw the activities of 60,000 refugees. From Asan, Lam was relocated to Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California where he assisted over 120,000 refugees transition to life in the United States.
    The Lam family settled in the City of Westminster in California. Tony and his brother established an insurance agency and an immigration consulting firm that assisted fellow Vietnam refugees by connecting them with local language classes, ensuring that their homes and businesses were following legal codes, and helping to enroll their children in schools. Additionally, Lam was a leading force behind the establishment of Westminster’s Little Saigon district and he further fostered a sense of community by organizing the country’s first Tet festival in Westminster in 1980.
    In 1992, Tony Lam ran for a seat on Westminster City Council; he wanted to make sure the populous Vietnamese American community was represented in local politics. His campaign was successful with the backing of the police and housing community and he became the first Vietnamese American elected to public office. Lam’s early political career was successful and he was well-received. That changed in 1999 with the Hi-Tek protests. Lam was accused of being a communist sympathizer and the Vietnamese American community was harshly divided over the unrest. In 2002, after serving 10 years on City Council, Lam chose not to run for re-election. Despite the tumultuous end to his career, Lam was recognized in 2005 for his many contributions to Orange County.

    Content Description

    This collection is comprised of the personal and political papers of Tony Lam, a refugee from Southern Vietnam who influenced Orange County, California for several decades. The collection documents Lam’s life at Camp Asan refugee camp, his campaigns for Westminster City Council, and his influence on Orange County’s Vietnamese American community. Materials include pamphlets, stickers, and other campaign objects, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

    Arrangement

    The collection is arranged into four series: Political papers, Personal papers, Clippings, and Visual media

    Repository Processing Note

    DACS minimum finding aid requirements met.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Orange County (Calif.) -- Politics and government -- 20th century -- Sources
    Lam, Tony C. M.