William and Beatrice Eisman papers HLL.2019.004

Benjamin Cohen, edited by Allison Ransom
Holt Labor Library at CSU Dominguez Hills
September 2019

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


U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Association Series I. 1978-2005


Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents

Series I. contains correspondence, newsletters, bulletins, press releases, and newspaper clippings which document the reparation activities of the U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Association and various subjects of interest to the Association, including attacks and harrassment of Vietnamese people in the United States. Correspondence of note, including letters written by Beatrice Eisman to Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, flyers advertising pro-Vietnam events, and announcements regarding the death of William Eisman are present as well.
box 1, folder 1

Nutrition for Vietnamese 1978-1983

box 1, folder 2

Chinese Invasion of Vietnam 1979-1981

box 1, folder 3

Incarceration of David Truong 1979-1986

box 1, folder 4

U.S. / Vietnam Friendship Association Newsletter August 1979- December 1986

box 1, folder 5

Correspondence, Newsletters, and Press Releases 1979-2005

box 1, folder 6

Murder of Lam Trong Duong 1980-1983

box 1, folder 7

St. Paul Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam 1981-1988

box 1, folder 8

Preventative Dental Health Program 1981-2001

box 1, folder 9

Murder of Edward Lee Cooperman 1984

box 1, folder 10

Politically-Motivated Attacks on Vietnamese Emigres/Supporters 1984-1986

box 1, folder 11

Harassment of Vietnamese in the United States 1985-2003

box 2, folder 1

Vietnam Today : Newsletter of the US / Vietnam Friendship Association Winter 1987- April 1996

box 2, folder 2

William Eisman Memorial 1993


Conflicts in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia Series II. 1964-2005


Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents

Series II. contains newspaper clippings, press releases, and subject files which include correspondence, petitions, flyers, and other documents that reflect the statuses of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos after the Vietnam war and other conflicts. Also included are various periodicals such as Vietnam Studies and Women of vietnam Review, and subject files related to the health affects of Agent Orange on the environment and public health.

Vietnam 1979-2005

box 2, folder 3

Vietnam Woman's Union 1979

box 2, folder 4

Association of Vietnamese Patriots in the United States 1979-1981

box 2, folder 5

Newspaper Clippings 1979-2004

box 2, folder 6

Socialist Republic of Vietnam Press Releases 1979-1984

box 2, folder 7

Environmental Issues 1982-1996

box 2, folder 8

Beatrice Eisman's Writings 1991, undated

box 2, folder 9

Vietnam Studies 1998

Scope and Contents

No. 1-2, 4.
box 3, folder 1

Vietnam Review 1999-2000

Scope and Contents

1999: No. 481-482, 487. 2000: 493, 495, 497
box 3, folder 2

Women of Vietnam Review 2001-2005

Scope and Contents

2001, No. 4; 2002, No. 2-4; 2003, No. 1, 3; 2004, No. 3-4, 2005, No. 1.
box 3, folder 3

Publications regarding Vietnam 2004, undated

Scope and Contents

Includes Friends of the Vietnam Center, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2004, and "The U.S. and Vietnam" article manuscript by Felix Greene.

Cambodia and Laos 1979-2003

box 3, folder 4

Articles about the conflict in Cambodia 1979-2002

box 3, folder 5

Opposition to Pol Pot's Seating in the United Nations 1980-1984

Scope and Contents

Includes newsletters, petitions, and correspondence sent to Beatrice Eisman.
box 3, folder 6

Campaign to Oppose the Return of the Khmer Rouge (CORKR) 1990-1991

Scope and Contents

Contains flyers, press releases, and blank petitions.
box 3, folder 7

Cambodian Government Press Releases 1980-1997

box 3, folder 8

Articles about the conflicts in Laos 1982-2003


Agent Orange 1980-2004

box 4, folder 1

"Operation Ranch Hand" Research 1980-1983

box 4, folder 2

Politics of Agent Orange 1986-1995

box 4, folder 3-4

Newspaper Clippings 1989-2002

box 4, folder 5

Environmental Conference on Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam Reports and Articles 2002

box 4, folder 6

Health Issues 2004

box 5, folder 1-2

Newspaper Articles and other Research Materials 1970-2004


Other Conflicts and Issues 1964-2005


Arranged chronologically.

Scope and Contents

Series III. contains correspondence, meeting notes, and legal documents regarding a lawsuit between the Veterans Speakers Alliance (VSA) and the U.S. Army for damages caused by the Army to the VSA when they were attacked by police during the 1991 Armed Services Day Parade at the Presidio Army Base in San Francisco. Also included are various publications and newsletters regarding nuclear power, disarmament, and the opposition to the use of nuclear energy in space, such as Citizen's Watch and Space Alert.

Persian Gulf War 1991-1994

box 5, folder 3

Veterans' Speakers Alliance Lawsuit Against U.S. Army 1991-1994


Anti-Nuclear Activism 1964-2005

box 5, folder 4

Scientist and Citizen September-October 1964

Scope and Contents

Contains one issue.
box 5, folder 5

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists July / August, September, December 1987

box 5, folder 6

Flyers and Newsletters 1999-2005

box 5, folder 7

Space Alert 2000, 2003-2004

Scope and Contents

2000: No. 8-10; 2003: No. unknown; 2004: No. 15 (2 copies).
box 5, folder 8

Citizen's Watch 2001-2004