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Eisman (William and Beatrice) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope and Contents
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Related Collections
  • Custodial History
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Holt Labor Library at CSU Dominguez Hills
    Title: William and Beatrice Eisman papers
    Identifier/Call Number: HLL.2019.004
    Physical Description: 2.08 Linear Feet
    Physical Description: 5 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1964-2005
    Language of Material: Collection material is in English.
    Abstract: The collection contains the personal and professional papers of William and Beatrice Eisman, political activists who founded the U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Committee in 1979, which aimed to normalize relations between the U.S. and Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. It includes correspondence, newsletters, press releases, articles, and publications.

    Scope and Contents

    The William and Beatrice Eisman papers (1964-2005) comprises correspondence, newsletters, press releases, articles, and publications that document the activities of various reparational and anti-war organizations, namely the U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Association, in the years after the Vietnam War. Some subject files concerning the Chinese invasion of Vietnam and politically-motivated attacks on Vietnamese emigres are present, as well as documents regarding the Association's fundraising for St. Paul Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam and the establishment of a preventative dental health program in Vietnamese schools. Other organizations represented in the collection include the Association of Vietnamese Patriots in the United States, the Vietnamese Women's Union, and the Campaign to Oppose the Return of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, among others.
    Also included are subject files related to the environmental and public health effects of Agent Orange and the political situations in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos after the wars. The collection also contains various periodicals, magazines, and other publications regarding the anti-nuclear weapon movement, and records documenting the Veterans' Speakers Alliance successful lawsuit against the U.S. Army at the end of the Persian Gulf War.

    Processing Information

    The collection was processed by Benjamin Cohen in 2006 at the Holt Labor Library in San Francisco, California. In 2019 Allison Ransom edited the finding aid in ArchivesSpace at the Gerth Archives and Special Collections, California State University, Dominguez Hills.

    Preferred Citation

    [title of item] William and Beatrice Eisman papers, HLL.2019.004, Gerth Archives and Special Collections, California State University, Dominguez Hills.

    Related Collections

    Holt Labor Library pamphlet collection, HLL.2019.001; Berta Green Langston papers, HLL.2019.002; Marjorie and Paul Colvin papers, HLL.2019.003.

    Custodial History

    The William and Beatrice Eisman papers were donated to the Holt Labor Library in San Francisco, California in 2005, and were acquired by the Gerth Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2019.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.


    The collection is arranged in three series: Series I. U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Association, 1978-2005; Series II. Conflicts in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, 1964-2005; Series III. Other Conflicts and Issues, 1964-2005.

    Biographical / Historical

    William Eisman (1922-1993) was a dentist as well as a political activist who worked to normalize relations between the U.S. and Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In the 1950s he joined a dental group in Southern California which developed a dental plan for children of West Coast longshoreman, and in the 1970s he organized the first dental care center for the Sonoma County Indian Health Project. After the 1975 U.S. defeat in Vietnam he formed the U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Association with his wife, Beatrice Eisman, in 1979 to reconcile relations between Vietnam and the U.S., as well as Laos and Cambodia. He frequently traveled to Vietnam and established a children's dental project there to provide dental equipment, toothbrushes, and a fluoride mouth washing and oral examination program for over 800,000 Vietnamese children. Eisman also worked with the Committees of Correspondence to reduce the U.S. military budget, and participated in other political actions related to the aftermath of U.S. wars with Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
    Beatrice Eisman (1926-2014) was born in Monticello, New York, studied dietetics at Hunter College in New York City, and trained at the Veteran's Hospital in Los Angeles. In 1979 she formed the U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Association with her husband, William Eisman, which worked to normalize relations between the U.S. and Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia after the Vietnam War and other associated conflicts. After witnessing the effects of Agent Orange upon visiting Vietnam, she became dedicated to fundraising for the victims of the Vietnam war. The U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Association raised money to provide prostheses for about 100,000 Vietnamese victims of the war. After her husband's death, the Association continued to fundraise for various political and reparational causes related to the U.S. role in destabilizing Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
    "Beatrice Eisman," obituary. San Francisco Chronicle Feburary 16, 2014.
    William and Beatrice Eisman papers, 1964-2005, HLL.2019.004, Letter to U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Association, December 1993, Box 2, Folder 2.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--United States
    Agent Orange--Health aspects
    Nuclear disarmament--Cold War--20th century
    Dental public health--Human rights advocacy--Vietnam--20th century
    Peace movements--United States--20th century