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Military Photographs: Finding Images in the Prints & Photographs Division at the Library of Congress

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War spanned the years 1955 to 1975 with the United States supporting South Vietnam. The Prints & Photographs Division has a few collections with images related to the war. Many of these images could still be under copyright, and it is up to you to investigate their copyright status.

US News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection

A group of young men in civilian clothes with shaved heads stading while a soldier in uniform stands on a platform.
Warren K. Leffler, photographer. Young soldiers who have just been drafted stand in rows front of a man on a platform at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina. 1967. US News & World Report Collection. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

The US News & World Report Collection contains both military and political photos related to the Vietnam War. Military photos include scenes in Vietnam with US troops and with the South Vietnamese Army, interviews with returned POWs including John McCain, and the enlistment procedures new draftees went through when joining the Army at several bases around the United States. On the political side, photos include Lyndon Johnson's visit to Vietnam in 1961, press conferences held by various US agencies and groups, and photos of such key figures as Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky and Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker.

Contact sheets for the photographs are in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room. An online finding aid and a card catalog in the reading room can also help you locate images in this collection. A selection of photos are online, but most images are not scanned.

New York World-Telegram & Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection

The New York World-Telegram & Sun collection has a variety of press photos related to the first half of the Vietnam War. Many can be found in the SUBJ/GEOG section under the heading “Vietnam.” Other photos are under subject headings for the individual US military branches. Relevant photos can also be found under such subject headings as “Defectors-Vietnam” and “Missiles-Vietnam.” The names of military and political persons are in the BIOG section. The NYWT&S newspaper went out of business in 1967, so all photos were published before then. The collection is stored off-site. Please contact the Prints & Photographs Reading Room in advance of your visit to request folders.

LOOK Magazine Collection

The Look Magazine Collection has several groups of photos (called “jobs”) taken in Vietnam. They show military activities, including one job focusing on General William Westmoreland. Several jobs focus on individuals affected by the war—wounded soldiers, the wives of POWs, and Vietnam civilians brought to the United States for medical treatment. To locate relevant jobs, search the LOOK collection for the word “Vietnam.” Most of the photos from the Look Magazine Collection are not scanned, which makes in-person visits useful.