One of Trâm’s handwritten diaries was captured by U.S. forces in December 1969. Following her death in a gun battle on June 22, 1970, a second diary was taken by Frederic (Fred) Whitehurst, then a 22-year-old U.S. military intelligence specialist. Whitehurst defied an order to burn the diaries, instead following the advice of a South Vietnamese translator who advised him not to destroy them. He kept them for 35 years, with the intention of eventually returning them to Trâm's family, if possible.
Whitehurst's search for Trâm’s family initially proved unsuccessful. In March 2005, he and his brother Robert (also a Vietnam War veteran) brought the diaries to a conference on the Vietnam War at Texas Tech University. There they met photographer Ted Engelmann (also a Vietnam veteran), who offered to look for the family during his trip to Vietnam the next month. With the assistance of Do Xuan Anh, a staff member in the Hanoi Quaker office, Engelmann was able to locate Trâm’s mother, Doan Ngoc Tram, and family.
In July 2005, Trâm’s diaries were published in Vietnamese under the title (), quickly becoming a bestseller. In less than a year, the volume sold more than 300,000 copies and comparisons were drawn between Trâm’s writing and that of Anne Frank.
In August 2005, Fred and Robert Whitehurst traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam, to meet Trâm’s family. In early October of the same year, the family traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to view the diaries, which are archived at Texas Tech University's Vietnam Archive, then visited Fred Whitehurst and his family in his home state of North Carolina.
The diaries have been translated into English and the English version was published in September 2007. Published translations into other languages (including Korean) are forthcoming.
In 2009 a film about Tram by Vietnamese director Đặng Nhật Minh, entitled (), was released.
The following document is copyright protected and is the joint property of Madame Doan Ngoc Tram, Frederic Whitehurst, and the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University. This electronic version is provided as a public service via the Virtual Vietnam Archive under the “fair use” stipulations of Section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976. The attached materials can be used for educational and other noncommercial purposes only. THIS DOCUMENT CAN NOT BE REPUBLISHED OR RETRANSMITTED IN ANY FORMAT, MEDIUM, OR LANGUAGE, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS LISTED ABOVE. These materials may not to be used for resale or commercial purposes without authorization from the above listed copyright holders.
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