This article is an introduction to the type of materials available to the historian of pre-1800 Vietnam, particularly that material produced during the reign of Le Thanh-tong. The rule of this Emperor is significant for the bureaucratization of the government and a consequent growth in paperwork which occurred under him. During the last quarter of the fifteenth century, many of the resulting documents were brought together to form major compilations on various topics, Following a brief description of the historical background and the manner in which this material came to be assembled, the article groups such materials, from both this period and later centuries, into the following categories: histories, geographies, personnel records, official records, belles lettres, and general collections. It then proceeds to enumerate the available material under each category and to analyze the uses to which this material may be put for the study of Vietnamese history. A note follows in the May 1970 issue of the JAS describing the major modern collections of these documents and giving the locations of each work mentioned in the article. Characters and Vietnamese romanization are given for each title, term, and name.

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