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Gilbert Jonas collection

Identifier: 00166

Scope and Contents of the Papers

The Gilbert Jonas collection covers the years 1852-1987, the bulk of the materials consisting of administrative working papers and newspaper clippings, dating 1955-1969.

Much of the material within the collection is limited in depth of information because much of it is working papers covering numerous topics. The greatest strength of the collection is a wealth of information about Vietnam. Jonas avidly clipped newspaper articles, and there is subsequently over two cubic feet of clippings and editorials from the multiple sources about Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s. Additionally, the Vietnam Subject Files series contains information on almost every aspect of the country. The Jonas collection provides the researcher with a vast source of information about prevailing attitudes within the United States towards Vietnam, China, international relations, and social issues in political, scholarly, and religious terms.

The IRC, AFV, and ACLU series offer insight into each of the organization's aims and activities, especially fundraising and publicity activities. They also include annual reports and publications from each organization.

The Audio/Visual series contains photographs, slides, negatives, audio tapes, and film documenting places and events. Vietnam is particular well represented.

A scrapbook contains photographs that are described by page in this finding aid.


  • Creation: 1852 - 1987


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biography of Gilbert Jonas

Gilbert Jonas was educated at Stanford University. In addition he received a graduate certificate in Chinese Studies from the East Asian Institute of Columbia University, along with a Master's degree from Columbia's School of International Affairs.

From 1956 to 1969, Jonas held various positions in organizations concentrating on international affairs, particularly Vietnam. He joined the international public relations firm Harold L. Oram Inc., of New York, as Vice President in 1956. Jonas took a leave of absence from this position to become Public Relations Counsel to the Republic of Vietnam, arranging, for example, public appearances for various Vietnamese officials in the United States.

In 1958, Jonas became Executive Secretary of The American Friends of Vietnam (AFV), which publicly supported American relations with the Vietnamese government and sought to educate America about what was then a relatively unknown country. In 1964 he became Assistant Treasurer and in 1965, Executive Vice Chairman of the organization.

Jonas was also deeply involved with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as a member of its Executive Committee. Later, under the auspices of his own company, the Gilbert Jonas Company, he directed fund raising and public relations for the IRC. During this period he became involved with the Roger Baldwin Foundation, the non-profit arm of the American Civil Liberties Union. His work for the Foundation included fund-raising and publicity.

Jonas also held several short-term positions including Executive Secretary of the American Medical Center for Burma; editor of Far Eastern Digest; consultant to the Peace Corps and State Department; and consultant for the Korean Government from April to July 1965.

Jonas was a member of several professional organizations: the Association of Asian Studies, the American Oriental Society, the Asian Society, the American Society for Public Administration, the Institute of Pacific Affairs, the American Academy of Social and Political Science, the Overseas Press Club, American and New York Newspaper Guilds, and Sigma Delta Chi, a professional journalism society.


20.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into eight series. 1. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 2. American Friends of Vietnam (AFV). 3. Gilbert Jonas Inc. 4. International Rescue Committee (IRC). 5. Subject Files. 6. Vietnam Subject Files. 7. Audio/Visual. 8. Scrapbook.

Custodial History

Gift of the International Library

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Gilbert Jonas Collection
4 Published And Cataloged
W. Miller
September 2002
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US