Welcome to the Orange County Historical Society
The Orange County Historical Society (OCHS) is a non-profit group which collects, preserves and shares the history of Orange County, California for the benefit of its members and the general public. To navigate the OCHS Website, use the menus and links in the top and left panels, or click Site Map. Check back often to find the latest Society news.

Upcoming Events


Discovering the History of the Vietnamese in Orange County

Thursday, April 9, 2015, 7:00 pm

The Orange County Historical Society will mark the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the beginnings of our local Vietnamese-American community at their upcoming meeting, April 9, 2015, 7:00 p.m. (program begins at 7:30 p.m.) at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. Dr. Thuy Vo Dang, Archivist for the Southeast Asian Archive and Regional History at UCI's Libraries, will discuss "Black April and the Vietnamese in Orange County." This program is open to the public at no charge.

When Saigon tragically fell to the communists on April 30, 1975, it marked the end of the long and bloody Vietnam War and sparked a mass exodus by those who valued their lives and their freedom.

Although dispersed throughout the world, many came to central Orange County, where three cities—Westminster, Garden Grove, and Santa Ana— now have "Welcome to Little Saigon" signs. The people here constitute the largest population of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. They have created flourishing residential neighborhoods and bustling commercial centers and have transformed the social, cultural, economic, and political life of the region.

Prior to 1975, there were a small number of Vietnamese in the United States, many of whom were international students, war brides or military personnel. But Vietnamese Americans today arrived as refugees and immigrants since the end of the war. Although they were lumped together as "refugees," they were and are diverse in terms of their class, ethnic, regional, religious, linguistic, and ideological backgrounds. Their migration paths varied, and they often struggled with resettling in a new homeland and rebuilding their lives.

Thuy Vo Dang has a doctorate in ethnic studies from the U.C. San Diego. Before her appointment as archivist, Vo Dang served as the Project Director for the Vietnamese American Oral History Project at UCI. It was during this period that OC Weekly dubbed her "The Studs Terkel of Little Saigon."

Her book, Vietnamese in Orange County, with co-authors Linda Trinh Vo and Tram Le, was published this year by Arcadia Publishing. Images in this book came from UCI's archival collections and the authors' personal collections, as well as from journalists, artists, students, and community leaders.



Past Meetings & Events

List of Past Meetings and Events
from 1919 to 2015


Followup on
Recent OCHS Activities

Calico Trip photos and videos

Blue Light Mine History Hike photos


Orange Countiana I - IX


Jim Sleeper's
Orange County Almanac of Historical Oddities

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OCHS Seeks Home for Our Historical Collections

Contact us if you have any leads on
places we can rent or acquire to store
and work with our historical collections
to make them available to members
and public to view:
officespace @ orangecountyhistory.org