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Richard Thompson papers

Identifier: HC.MC-1291

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a significant amount of correspondence between Thompson and his family and friends during his time at boarding schools, his trips after graduating, and his short time in Vietnam. There is also a large number of letters to Thompson's family after his death in 1973. There are some materials from his childhood and schooling, but the bulk of the material in this collection is correspondence and materials relating to his work at the Quang Ngai Rebabilitation Center in Vietnam. There are also materials relating to his decision to be a Conscientous Objector during the Vietnam War, due to his Quaker faith and pacifism.


  • Creation: 1949-2013

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Richard Warren Thompson (1949-1973) was born on April 19, 1949 in Glens Falls, New York to parents Lenoard Clark Thompson and Margery Scull Taylor. He spent his childhood in Kansas City, Missouri, and then attended high school at the Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania for three years, graduating in 1967. He was an Eagle Scout and member of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. He was a member of Cheltenham Monthly Meeting. He graduated from Iowa State University of Science and Technology in 1971 with a bachelor's in anthropology and geology. While at Iowa State University, he served as a student clerk of the Friends Meeting in Ames, Iowa (1969-1971) and was a member of the Farm House Fraternity and Cardinal Key Honor Society. In 1971, he also chaired the Institute on National Affairs Symposium entitled "Indians: First Americans Last." After graduating from Iowa State University, he conducted a research assistantship in Native American affairs with Friends Committee on National Legistlation in Washington, DC. In August 1972, he left for Vietnam, planning to conduct a two-year assignment as a generalist on the team at American Friends Service Committee's Quang Ngai Rebabilitation Center. He had taken two severely handicapped children to Saigon and was returning to Quang Ngai when his plane crashed and he was killed on November 17, 1973.


5.1 linear ft. (14 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection contains the papers of Richard Warren Thompson (1949-1973), a Quaker from Kansas City, Missouri, who attended Westtown Boarding School and served with the American Friends Service Committee in Vietnam in 1972 and 1973. His papers illustrate his vibrant childhood and college years, Thompson being an outspoken advocate for peace and helping others. He was a Conscientious Objector and resisted the draft in Vietnam, and instead chose to live in Vietnam on his own terms, as a civilian generalist working in the Quang Ngai Rehabilitation Center. He died in November of 1973 in a tragic plane crash in Vietnam. This collection encompasses materials created by Thompson during his life, as well as correspondence and other materials created in his memory.


This collection is arranged into the following four series: Correspondence, Education, Vietnam, and Photographs. Within these series, the materials are arranged chronologically. The collection contains materials from his childhood, and his time in high school, college, and working with the American Friends Service Committee in Vietnam.

Processing Information

Processed by Madison Arnold-Scerbo; completed June, 2018.

Richard Thompson papers
Madison Arnold-Scerbo
June, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US