Published: May 9, 2018

Children playing on an ox in Vietnam in the 1960s

Meritt W. Stark, MD (1916-1996) graduated from CU Medical School and was a pediatrician in Denver before joining the Volunteer Physicians in South Vietnam for 2 months in 1967. He returned to South Vietnam as a public health physician in 1969 and remained there until the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. During his time there, he was conducted hospital inspections, established clinics, carried on immunization and sanitation programs, and worked with orphans, refugees and minorities. The bulk of his collection, however, consists of mounted and unmounted photographs, slides, and photo albums of Vietnamese, Hmong, and Montagnard refugees, orphans, patients, and onlookers of the war. The images featured in the post are from Stark's investigation of high incidence rates of hemorrhagic fever in Bien Hoa and Binh Duong during 1974. Sadly, his daughter died in the plane crash during Operation Baby Lift, during the fall of South Vietnam.

A man works a rice field in Vietnam

One of our own archivists, David Hays, has a personal connection with this collection. While processing the material, he came across an image of a man he recognized: his Godfather, Lieutenant Colonel Chuck Merck! This is not the only collection with a conneciton to our archivists. One day, this same archivist noticed the Howitzer (the United States Military Academy yearbook) in the Neal B. Kindig collection. He noticed it was 1949, so he picked it up and looked through it, knowing his family had been at West Point that year. No kidding, in the Social Science Department photograph, there was his father, then Major Samuel H. Hays, among the department’s faculty, looking stern. Later when he called his mother to tell her, she asked him the name of who donated the yearbook. When he said, “Neal Kindig,” she replied in a proprietary way, “Oh yes, he was one of our boys.” 

100 stories for 100 Years logoThe University of Colorado Boulder Libraries will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Archives on June 6, 2018. This is story #72 in our series: 100 Stories for 100 Years from the Archives!