Pre-1972 Reader’s Card No. 2238 issued to Hữu Tuấn Nguyễn
Thư viện Quốc Gia in Saigon (National Library in Saigon)
Occupying the site of the old Maison Centrale de Saigon (Khám Lớn Sài Gòn), a much-maligned and overcrowded penal facility built in 1865, construction of the National Library building, designed by Vietnamese architect, Bùi Quang Hanh, began in December of 1968. The cornerstone was laid by South Vietnamese Premier Trần Văn Hương (1903–1982). Considered by many to be the height of the war in Vietnam, the 1968 cornerstone ceremony became an opportunity for Premier Hương to announce that there would be no ceasefire with North Vietnam.
Built in a mid century modernist style and costing more than 130 million piastres ($400,000 USD), and the new library building was inaugurated by South Vietnamese President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, in a ceremony held on December 23, 1971. During that ceremony, Thiệu took the opportunity to share his confidence in South Vietnam with reporters.
After the reunification of North and South Việt Nam, the National Library in Saigon was integrated into the national library system of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam, and renamed Thư viện Quốc gia II, Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh (the National Library II in Hồ Chí Minh City. Shortly after, in 1976, the library was renamed Thư viện Khoa học Tổng hợp, Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh (Hồ Chí Minh City General Sciences Library), the name by which it is known today.
Library Membership Card No. 15-186 issued to Mr. To Ky Nghia
The Abraham Lincoln Library, Saigon
The Abraham Lincoln Library was located in The Rex Complex on Nguyễn Huệ Street in Saigon. The Rex Complex was designed by Vietnamese architect, Lê Van Cấu, for husband and wife, Nguyễn Phúc Ung Thị and Nguyen Thi Nguyet Nga. Mr. Ung, a wealthy businessman born into the Nguyễn dynasty, had long desired to obtain the property located near the Hotel de Ville, which was formerly occupied by a Citroën dealership. In 1959, his wish came true and he and his wife began to renovate the building into a modern 100-room hotel. The renovated hotel featured the first escalator in Vietnam, three cinemas, a cafeteria, a dance hall, and the Abraham Lincoln Library.
Due to the Vietnam war, The Rex Complex was involuntarily surrendered to the Saigon Tourism Bureau in 1975. In 1976, Ung Thi left Vietnam to join his wife and children in France where they remained until their deaths. The Rex Complex was renamed The Rex Hotel in 1986 and classified as a 5 star hotel in 2008.
To Ky Nghia
Mr. To Ky Nghia lived at 15/83 Nguyen Trail in Cholon, Saigon, Vietnam.