Dear AsiaLIFE: Where Can I Find Old Postcards of Saigon?

January 15, 2010

Dear Mr. DiChristopher

I read and continue to read your magazine with considerable enthusiasm. The articles show the ever changing landscape, infrastructure and vibrance of Vietnam, bringing  this to the  front door of the lazy traveller ( of which I am one).  Your article in Volume 22 covering urban archaeology was particularly interesting and while I have seen over the years,  some of these older images of HCMC/Vietnam, wonder if you  know where perhaps one could purchase such images,  as well as any  old maps of the city?

Any assistance, views and/or contacts on this  would be very much appreciated.

Richard Skene

Thanks for the positive words, Richard. First off, I should let you know that Mr. DiChristopher is my father … you can call me Tom.

As for the vintage postcards, many of the shots we featured in the Urban Archaeology story came from the private collection of Philippe Chaplain, which can be found on his website, www.hanoilavie.com. We also turned to Caravelle Saigon: A History, which was released in September to mark the Caravelle Hotel’s 50th anniversary. We did, however, go to vintage bookstore and newstand Bookazine at 28 Dong Khoi for some old photographs (mostly personal snapshots) and old flyers.

We asked another of our Ho Chi Minh City Historians, Thomas Hutchings for advise, and he too pointed us to online resources, particularly Belle Indochine. He also had this advice:

Another way to find old photos is to use the search term in google “saigon ngay xua.” This will return hits with old photos. It’s best after getting the hits to click on images, then go down to various photos and click on any of those. One will thus find even more photos. A knowledge of Vietnamese is not necessary. However, when hits return and the diacritical marks are shown over the term “Saigon ngay xua,” then copy and paste the phrase with the marks and use that as a search term. It will return even more possible sites of old postcards and photos.

So I’m not sure if we answered your query about where to get physical postcards, Richard. Perhaps some of our readers might know. Anyone out there care to leave a comment on where to find vintage postcards of Saigon?

Contributed by Tom DiChristopher

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2 Responses to “Dear AsiaLIFE: Where Can I Find Old Postcards of Saigon?”

  1. liz Henderson Says:

    hi,
    The best way to find postcards, old photos ect is just to wonder around saigon and find random, that’s what I did. downtown (dong khoi). http://www.flickr.com website is one of the best place to look, I have some amazing old photos of saigon and Vietnam in general. it’s amazing to see the city now and then, something’s have changed, others have not. happy hunting.

  2. Robi Anni Says:

    As in the previous post, I can say that last week i was taking a walk not far from the cathedral and i’ve been stopped by a vietnamese girl who sold me a ten nice old Saigon’s (twenty’s) pics package for 30 or 40 thousands dong! I’m going to digitalize them and to publish a slide gallery on my site.

    Good luck, bye


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