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Notes on the Imperial Archives of Hue, and Résidence supérieure d'Annam

Je vous adresse ci-joint quelques réponses concernant les archives impériales/Attached below please find several responsess about the Imperial.

Archives query :

Is anyone aware of any Imperial or colonial archives still existing in Hue?
Existe-il encore des archives impériales ou coloniales à Hue ?

Dr Colin Long
Postdoctoral Fellow
Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific
Deakin University

1) As I understand there is an institute (Vien Bao ve cac di san Hue) that have an imperial archive open for researchers, but I don't know how rich is that archive. You can contact to that Institute for further details.

Thach Nguyen

2) What survived the two wars eventually made their way to the National Archives (Center #1) in Hanoi.  They have been accessible for research for about a decade now, but the published results so far have related more to Bac Bo than Trung Bo. It's quite possible that family collections survive in Hue.  Does the `Friends of Hue' association still exist in France, to be able to ask questions there?

David Marr

3) Il existe des archives familiales impériales

4) During the last time I studied them (early 1990s) some of the colonial archives of the Residence Superieure d'Annam were in the  National Archives #2 in HCM City. I was told that many of the imperial archives are in Hanoi now but I never studied those.

Oscar Salemink
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1081c
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Phone: (+31)(0)20-444 6712 / 6704
Fax: (+31)(0)20-444 6722
E-mail: O.Salemink@scw.vu.nl
Website: http://www.scw.vu.nl/medewerkers/casnws/salemink.html

5) Seems all moved up to Dalat in the 60's. Anyway, in Hue, there are some folks who may guide you in Hue culture, one of them is Phan Thuan An . Another serious review, named Nghien Cuu Hue, publishes some articles dealing exclusively about Hue area, from history to geography . Peace Tung Thai

6) Most of the imperial archives have been moved to the National Archives in Hanoi. However, there is a small research organization in the old city, called the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre.  They have a small document collection, but I dont think that they have enything unique there.

Judith Henchy

From judithh@u.washington.edu Thu Jul 31 07:11:37 2003
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 13:53:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: Judith Henchy <judithh@u.washington.edu>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: VN Archives


In partial response to your question of some time ago, I came across this as I was updating my web page on our colonial era sources:

Tr`an, Van K`y
Les archives du gouvernement de la Cochinchine : organisation, methode de
classement / par Tr`an-Van-Ky
Pub info Hanoi : Imprimerie tonkinoise, 1915
Suzzallo/Allen Stacks CD233 .T73 1915

I presume this has a list of the original record groups, which supposedly are still housed at LT II in HCM City.  I have not looked the book.


Judith Henchy
Head, Southeast Asia Section, Box 352900
University of Washington Libraries
Seattle, WA 98195

Telephone: (206) 543 3986
Fax: (206) 685 8049

Web address: http://www.lib.washington.edu/southeastasia/

From eric.jennings@utoronto.ca Thu Jul 31 07:27:35 2003
Date: Wed, 02 Jul 2003 20:20:43 -0400
From: Eric Jennings <eric.jennings@utoronto.ca>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Colonial Archives of Annam?

I'm wondering if anyone on the list might know where to find the colonial-era archives of the Résidence supérieure d'Annam?  I uncovered
fragments of it at the CAOM in Aix, and have looked in vain in Hanoi. Friends who have used the Saigon archives assure me they are not there

As you will note from the following responses to somebody else's query on the Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia list, there seem to be a lot of different opinions as to what happened to these archives...

Thanks in advance for any leads!

Eric Jennings

Eric Jennings
Associate Professor
History Department
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario

From OJHM.Salemink@fsw.vu.nl Fri Aug 1 12:22:39 2003
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2003 20:30:58 +0200
From: Oscar Salemink <OJHM.Salemink@fsw.vu.nl>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: Colonial Archives of Annam?

Dear Eric,

I am afraid that your friends gave you wrong information. Part of the RSA archives are in Aix, part are in the Trung tam tai lieu luu tru 2 in HCM City - at least, when I have used them in 1990/1991. At that moment the records seemed very incomplete but that was difficult to gauge then because of the sorry state of the catalogue. Things might have changed since then.

I assume that part has been lost as well. One indication is that there original RSA records were are now in the Cornell University archives under the rubric "Question Moi" and "Penetration du Pays Moi". I was told that the records were offered by a Frenchman and bought by Cornel in the 1950s. If this is any indication at all, then other RSA records might have been scattered or lost.

Oscar Salemink

From phpey@hotmail.com Thu Jul 31 07:31:12 2003
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 15:44:54 +0000
From: Philippe Peycam <phpey@hotmail.com>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: Colonial Archives of Annam?

Oskar is right,
There are quite a few RSA files held at the National Archives 2 in HCM City, but there seems to be huge holes in the collection. Also, the cataloguing system in Saigon is pretty bad and even if things have improved in the last few years, chances are that there are still some discrepancy between what is on the catalogue and what the archives actually hold. I think there are more documents in these archives that what the catalogue may suggest. It is that after 75 nobody really paid much attention to the importance of keeping records. The catalogue used today has been painfully compiled in the last years or so. This situation is also true for the Gv't of Cochinchina archives, and for the RVN ones. I haven't been to the archives in Saigon since the end of my research there in 97, and things may have changed again.

I remembered finding in 1997 'new' material that were not on the card catalogue in 1994 when I began my work. It might be a good idea to spend some time there and check what is the 'new' situation.

Philippe Peycam

From: David Marr <dgm405@coombs.anu.edu.au>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: "Vietnam Studies Group" <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: Colonial Archives of Annam?
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 11:46:16 +1000

If the situation in Hanoi in the summer of 1945 is any guide, the RSA archives in Hue would have been taken over by the royal government and then the Uy Ban Hanh Chinh Trung Bo.  Because of the general shortage of paper, the back sides of some documents would have been used to create new documents, and file folders turned upside down and given new titles.  However, a substantial percentage would have remained intact -- until the fighting of early 1947.  We have anecdotal evidence that some archival materials were lost at that time, but, unlike the situation in Hanoi on 19-12-46, the UBHCTB had more time to evacuate stuff.  Where did the committee go?  I don't know yet.

David Marr

From cfirpo@msn.com Mon Aug 25 12:02:38 2003
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 02:48:45 -0700
From: Christina Firpo <cfirpo@msn.com>
Reply-To: vsg@u.washington.edu
To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: Colonial Archives of Annam?

Dear Eric and List,

The RSA documents that were sent to Da Lat are here in HCMC. Today I found six or seven books of Muc Luc dating from 1854-1939. I will include the contents in my summary of the HCMC archives which will hopefully be finished by October. Please let me know if you'd like me to look out for anything in particular in the RSA collection or anything else in the general collection.


Christina Elizabeth Firpo
Doctoral Student of Southeast Asian History- UCLA
tele: (84) 90-3731560


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