Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Discoveries in Jones Hall-- Williams family genealogy and images

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 256 is the family bible given to Tulane in 1973 by Virginia Williams Harris and Espy Williams of New Orleans.  It was donated in memory of their sister, Lealuh (or Leluh) Olivia Williams Davis (1877-1973), a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church.

This bible is considered an archival collection because of its unique and personalized additions. The book itself, a large locking volume with ornate binding, contains handwritten genealogical notations about members of this branch of the African-American Williams family of Louisiana.   In various people's handwriting, there are lovingly written notes listing marriages, births and deaths having happened from the mid-nineteenth century forward through 1973, along with pressed leaves and flowers.  Toward the end of the volume, there is a small batch of family photographs, including tintype and printed individual portraits made at studios in New Orleans, kept probably since before the publication of the book. Other family names represented in this collection include Davis, Claverie, Banks, Harris, Satasfield or Satterfield, Coleman, and Barrilleaux. The volume itself is in fragile condition.

LaRC encourages all Louisiana families to consider donating their family papers as archival collections, which will ensure safekeeping, long-term preservation, and researcher access.

1. undated and uncaptioned photographic portraits of family members--the two smaller prints are tintypes, dating them from the latter half of the nineteenth century, and the mounted photograph is a paper print made at a New Orleans portrait studio, probably early twentieth century.  
2. a page with handwritten genealogical notations through 1973.
Jeanette Davis Davis, Oct. 14, 1903; died May 9, 1929
Rowena Claverie, July 3, 1881; died July 16, 1954
Frances Daisy Banks, Nov. 4, 1879; died Nov. 22, 1957
Leluh Olivia Williams Davis
Born July 28 - 1877   Died Aug. 16 - 1973. 
Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Friday, April 8, 2016

1307 Dryades or 1307 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

The Robert C. Davey School, located in 1936 at 1307 Dryades St., between Erato and Thalia, was built on the site of two previous schools, the Webster School and the Jefferson School. Around 1911, it was named in honor of New Orleans politician Robert Charles Davey (1853-1908), who had served in the U. S. House of Representatives.   Later in the century, this building housed the Myrtle Banks Elementary School.  

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 184 consists of scrapbooks compiled by teachers and students of the Robert C. Davey School. Vol. 1 includes keepsakes commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the school in 1936, such as invitations, programs, telegrams, greeting cards, ribbons, buttons, leaves, children's artwork, mounted photographs of the school, teachers and other school employees, and other items of social ephemera. Vol. 2 includes school papers covering sessions in the 1950s. Images of the nineteenth-century schools on the location, newspaper clippings and other printed items are also included.

The Sunday, April 3, 2016, online Gambit featured a story about a new use for this old building, (this segment of Dryades is now known as Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.)  Dryades Public Market hosts opening ceremonies April 14 and 16.     Congratulations on this new venture! 

Captions: from Manuscripts Collection 184, v. 1.   Photograph of the Davey School around 1936, a telegram of congratulations on the 25th anniversary celebrations, and an invitation to the same event.  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Watkins and Orton families papers, 1886-1971.

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 185, originally part of a larger 1967 donation by descendant, Dorothy Inbusch of Milwaukee, is made up of personal papers of the Watkins and Orton families of New Orleans and Milwaukee.  Included are handwritten and typed correspondence, certificates including an 1890 German-language birth certificate for John Orton Watkins, financial documents, drawings, poetry, scrapbooks, family and travel photographs, biographical and genealogical information, medical notes and a prescription by Dr. William H. Watkins, a 1902 memorial resolution by the Orleans Parish Medical Society following the death of Dr. Watkins, invitations and other items of social ephemera, New Orleans Carnival newspaper clippings, and other printed items.

This collection's numerous family photographs include formal posed studio portraits made in New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Vienna, as well as many less formal, almost candid shots.  It seems that twins run in the family.  A family photographer would pose the little children in typical traditional serious shots, then follow these up with images of them behaving in a more natural silly manner, which may or may not have been planned, but is unusual in family albums of the day.

Image 1 above:  Uncaptioned photograph, undated but probably around the turn of the century, Watkins and Orton families papers, Manuscripts Collection 185, Box 3. 

Images 2/3: Uncaptioned photographs in same collection, v. 1 (scrapbook).

Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Thursday, March 10, 2016

LaRC books-- Glass house

Glass house : a novel / by Christine Wiltz.
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, 1994.


There are also copies in the main Howard-Tilton stacks and Vorhoff Library (Special Collections); call number varies slightly in different locations, so please check the library catalog.   It's also available from and elsewhere in paperback, hardcover, and electronic editions.

This serious novel of the 1990s is important as an emotional snapshot of an earlier era in race relations in New Orleans.  Although poverty, gun violence, and remnants of racism continue to plague the city in the 21st century, this novel captures the painful tenacity of mid-century views surrounding an inherited long-term domestic worker and her family, and their relationship to her semi-privileged but challenged employer.

The strength of Christine Wiltz's descriptive writing is her ability to portray most of the characters very sympathetically, even though they themselves are somewhat at war with each other.   An added feature is the feminine point of view, centered on the main character, a young divorced white woman attempting to make a large inherited house her home.  Her great difficulty in doing this reflects indecision about her own identity and life choices.

Posted by Susanna Powers


Friday, February 12, 2016

What is under New Orleans

Rev. Edward E. Fontaine (1814-1884), professor of theology and natural science, wrote and lectured in association with the New Orleans Academy of Sciences during the mid-nineteenth century.  He authored scientific papers on hydraulic engineering, geology, geography, and archeology.   His published works may not deal directly with his basic religious worldview, but in other papers this is addressed.

LaRC Manuscripts Collection M-8 is a small set of Rev. Fontaine's papers, 1867-1868.   This collection consists of professional papers, including a fourteen-page handwritten extract of an 1868 lecture, in which he advocates for maintaining a well to acquire healing effervescent artesian water from beneath the city of New Orleans, which would have medicinal benefits such as curing yellow fever and cholera.  Also included is a typed transcription of an 1867 letter from E. E. Fontaine (as secretary of the New Orleans Academy of Sciences) to Mrs. Marie B. Williams of Alexandria, inviting her to do research at the academy's museum, where he has offices.   In both documents, he mentions J. L. Riddell, whom he describes as "the most accomplished natural philosopher the South has yet produced."  He writes also that he is working on a book, The Testimony of Natural Science to the Truth of the Bible.

In Rev. Fontaine's 1868 lecture, he bitterly complains about the failure of the City Council to follow through with building an artesian well in Canal Street, but concludes with flowery praise of Louisiana and its natural resources. 

of a
Lecture prepared for
Lyceum Hall
New Orleans

Subject – What is under New Orleans

By the
Rev. Edward Fontaine
April 7th 1868

     In 1856 an attempt was made to find artesian water in New Orleans, and a well was bored in Canal Street between Carondelet & Baronne Strs. by appropriations paid by the City Council.  This was sunk to the depth of 630 ft., and after an accident occurred to the tubing, an additional appropriation was refused, and the enterprize was abandoned.  Fortunately the Academy of Sciences appointed a Committee to supervise the work, & to report upon it.  The different strata were carefully numbered; their thickness & depth below the surface were measured; and specimens of each were preserved in bottles; & their contents examined & analyzed.  From the reports of that Committee, I have been able to make the map of the Section of the well now in the Academy.

     The accurate measurements & descriptions of Dr. Benedict, the skillful analysis of Dr. Riddell, and the materials of the strata brought to the surface, & preserved, are sufficient to enable us to understand much about the structure of the Delta which would have otherwise remained to the present time entirely unknown.

     Aided by the map of this well, I will now proceed to examine more particularly what is under New Orleans, from the bottom of the boring to the surface.

     When its shore was far above this City, the annual floods of the Mississippi made deposits in its deep water which were arranged according to their Specific gravity.  Some settled down into water several hundred feet below the sea level, others lodged upon shallow bars, while lighter particles floated off with the tropical current far from our Coast.

     The storms of the Gulf then heaped upon these, river deposits at all depths, sand & shells.  These were again covered with the deposits of the River; & the same action of the Gulf buried them again with marine matter.  The mudlumps with their gas & Artesian waters, then rearranged & solidified the whole.  As the Delta was thus formed above this City, and under it, so it is in a state of formation now; but at this distance from the Gulf, the velocity & force of the caving in its banks & shifting its channel has evidently been continued here for many years, & perhaps for Centuries.  It is forever at work tumbling in one shore, and adding a sand bar to the other.  Its course is a serpentine succession of Curves, & the plantations with their protective levees on the concave face of the Curve were doomed to inevitable destruction under the present system of defence; while the convex shore is growing into sand bars, & pushing the river from its bed, to sweep away the land of the opposite side.

     An examination of a section of its bed will enable you to understand this—which is the greatest danger to which New Orleans is exposed.  A glance at the Map of the Artesian well will show you its exact composition to the deepest part of its bed or the bottom of the River.  The depth seems to have changed greatly. 

In this huge mass of sand 145 ft. thick the celebrated Bladon Springs water was reached which flows out of the top of the well, at the rate of Six gallons per minute.  A careful analysis of it made by Prof. Riddell for the Academy found it to be identical with the water of those celebrated Springs in Alabama; but in addition to its superior medical properties, it effervesced, & made a more pleasant sparkling beverage. 

To obtain this valuable tonic, hundreds travel out of the State, or import it at great expense.  Thousands of dollars are spent to obtain it, when it is easily accessible at small expense, and inexhaustible quantity.  It is certainly found in a vast basin of Sand known to be 145 ft. thick.  It is reasonable to suppose that such a stupendous stratum extends laterally to a great distance; & that it not only underlies every part of this City, but extends under the whole delta of Louisiana.  Why was it not secured?  And why cannot we obtain it now?  …It is most disgraceful to this City, & the record of the fact will ever be a foul blot upon her history, & it will be read with astonishment by the enlightened generations of the future, that in the year 1856, in spite of the assurance on the part of learned geologists & chemists, that artesian water could be found here at no great depth & in great abundance, and in spite of the known fact that inexhaustible supplies of the best medicinal water in the world were buried at a depth of only 430 ft., & were ready to flow out in healing streams for every family then living in the City, & that deaf to the petitions, memorials & remonstrances of a learned Academy, her City Council refused to make an appropriation to secure this hidden wealth, & which has been neglected to the present day all their successors.  This is still under New Orleans!  Is it possible that this great City is too ignorant, too poor, or too unpatriotic to benefit itself, by the expenditure of less than $10,000?   If a small joint stock company with a capital of $5000 could be formed, with the improved apparatus for boring wells in this Soil, with no rock to encounter in 200 yards—this Bladon Spring water could be obtained in sufficient quantity to enrich the body Corporate & to save the lives of thousands.  Where the Great Creator has given a city the finest River in the world to bring wealth of all Continents & Oceans to its wharves, to irrigate its gardens, to cleanse its streets & to purify its atmosphere, and it will not improve its navigation and control its power, it can surprise nobody, if it is undermined & swept away by its waters.     And where in addition to this, the same kind providence has not only provided the means for filling it with wealth, adorning it with beauty, and purifying it from all that is offensive and deadly, it has constructed a fountain of healing water pure as that of Silva, which they will not pierce and use, surely if her Citizens die with yellow fever & cholera, they can only blame themselves for their afflictions.

     But the Delta of Louisiana is a new land, growing continually, and it seems to be invigorated with the strength, and animated by the hopefulness of Youth; No trace of age or premature decay has touched its lovely form.  The elements above, beneath & around it are friendly to its mature development.

     The cold waters of the North tempered by the winds of the South, & the waves of tropical seas do homage to it, as to a young queen, and lay all the costly offerings, of their Commerce of all climes, at her feet. 

     Her children, nature born & adopted, may well be proud of a mother land so young & so fair.  Let it be their delight to develop her resources, to adorn her with all the improvements of art, and crown her with glory. 

Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy Mardi Gras!

The Schiro Reading Room will be closed from February 6 through February 9, in observance of the Mardi Gras holidays.   Have a safe and happy early Mardi Gras.

To access original Carnival memorabilia located throughout LaRC's archival collections, do an advanced catalog search, combining the subject keyword, Carnival Louisiana New Orleans (all of these), with Type: archival material.   Here is the result of that search, which yields 53 cataloged collections.  

Caption:  1974 carnival memorabilia, "Bacchus reads the comics, Mardi Gras, New Orleans." (Blaine Kern Artists).  This item is located in the Anna Harrison papers, LaRC Manuscripts Collection 1020, Box 2, Folder 4.  Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Monday, January 4, 2016

Julius Friend and the Double Dealer

Julius Weis Friend (1894-1962) was a founder and editor of the New Orleans literary magazine, The Double Dealer, which was published 1921-1926.  Having been educated at Yale University, Julius Friend lectured on literary and philosophical subjects, and taught history at Tulane University in the late 1940s.  In 1922, he had married Elise Siess Weil (1896-1984), and they had two children.   After his death, Mrs. Friend donated her husband's personal and literary papers to Tulane University.

This archival collection (LaRC Manuscripts Collection 138) includes handwritten and typed correspondence, including outgoing carbons, legal and financial documents, tax and insurance papers, travel journals, manuscripts of Mr. Friend's writings including a history of The Double Dealer, biographical and genealogical information about the Friend family and his own life, invitations and other items of social ephemera, poems submitted for publication including one by Louis Gilmore, newspaper clippings and other printed items. Correspondents include Sherwood Anderson, James K. Feibleman, other authors, lawyers, publishers and bookstores.

An almost-complete run of the original issues of the magazine itself are held in LaRC (call number 976.3 (051) D727 LACOLL); numerous issues are also held in Rare Books (William B. Wisdom). 

Captions: top three images are of items within the Julius W. Friend papers, 1920-1976 (LaRC Manuscripts Collection 138), including a personal letter from Sherwood Anderson, an original poem of Louis Gilmore, and a stock certificate from the Double Dealer Publishing Company in New Orleans.  Last image is the title page of the first issue of The Double Dealer.   Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Happy New Year 2016 from LaRC!

Posted by Susanna Powers

Friday, December 25, 2015

Celebration of peace

                       U. S. S. BAILEY
                    CARE POSTMASTER, NEW YORK, N. Y.

B 9 IN LK    137 GPVT  LSD
                             DN Wash.  DC   June 28 1919

Navy Radio
     Boston, Mass.

One hundred eighty four Alnav

     The signing of the treaty of peace at Versailles [ushers] in the
best day in the history of the world since the angels sang in
Bethlehem quote glory to God in the highest and on earth peace
good will toward men unquote we are living in the fulfillment
of the prophecy period as a republic we are grateful
to have borne a part in the making straight and plain the path
of permanent peace with justice to the world period upon receipt
of news of signing of the treaty of peace the most important
document in the history of the world every ship and shore station
will fire a salute of twenty-one guns with the national ensign
at each masthead   10028

                                                                Josephus Daniels
                                                                                528 p

Caption: a Navy Radio typed order by Secretary of the U.S. Navy, Josephus Daniels, ordering "every ship and shore station" to fire a twenty-one gun salute in honor of the Treaty of Versailles, June 28, 1919, ending hostilities of World War I.  Morse and Wederstrandt families papers, 1789-1954 (LaRC Manuscripts Collection 107, box 2, folder 6).  Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Friday, December 4, 2015

Five dollars in 1925

William Tait Baynard (1875-1946) worked in his family's business, Baynard Drug Store, in Alexandria, La.    His brother, Ludlow Buard Baynard (b. 1874) served as State Treasurer in the 1920s, and State Auditor 1929-1944.     

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 99 consists of the personal and business papers of W. T. Baynard, which he collected and kept over his lifetime.  His family donated the collection to Tulane University in 1955.  It includes handwritten and typed correspondence, biographical and genealogical information about family members, telegrams, financial documents, insurance papers, post cards, greeting cards, invitations, calling cards and other items of social ephemera, photographs, advertisements, prescriptions and other medical documents, Mexican lottery tickets, stamps, a printed advertising pin tray, a leather wallet, journal and newspaper clippings and other printed items. Correspondents include E. J. Hart & Co. in New Orleans, prospective employers of travelling salesmen, Buard Baynard and other family members, book publishers, and other vendors and business partners.  

Each individual is unique, and what they decide to retain reveals what is important to them.  The process of their selection may be a matter of practicality or a matter of sentiment, but the resulting collection supports our understanding of the people and their times.  Greeting cards are often among the items saved in personal papers.  A wide variety of the LaRC personal and family papers include greeting cards-- an advanced search of the library catalog, combining the keyword phrase "greeting cards" with type "archival material," you will presently retrieve a list of 74 LaRC archival collections which include original lovingly written, mailed, received, and saved, greeting cards.

Caption:  a Christmas card to W. T. Baynard in Alexandria from a friend in New Orleans, postmarked Dec. 20, 1925.   "This card and five dollars will buy you a wonderful present at any store."  William Tait Baynard papers, Manuscripts Collection 99, box 6, folder 2.   Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

The Schiro Reading Room will be closed for Thanksgiving break, Thursday Nov. 26 and Friday Nov. 27, 2015.  Regular hours resume on Monday Nov. 30.

This weekend's hours at the main Howard-Tilton Memorial Library building are listed here

Happy Thanksgiving from the Louisiana Research Collection!

Captions:  Both of these are included in Manuscripts Collection 970 (Let's tell a story records, 1951-1975).  Top: Nov. 1960, a photograph of New Orleans children happily meeting the Book Elf in the Maison Blanche book department (970-1-22); bottom: large brochure for the Magic Tree, a fairy tale television program produced by WDSU (970-1-18).   Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be republished without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Discoveries in Jones Hall-- hot dogs

What do you think of when if you hear “New Orleans” and “hot dogs” together in the same sentence?  Some will think of the traditional or trendy lunch delicacies served by Lucky Dogs or Dat Dog.   Others will remember one of Ignatius Reilly’s attempts at employment in John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces.  

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 124 (Orleans Parish School Board election scrapbooks, 1945-1963) holds a variety of papers collected and donated by Marta Barnes Lamar (1902-1996).   Researchers interested in the history of American public education and Louisiana politics will find the overall collection useful, by reading the correspondence, reports, minutes, advertisements, election posters, brochures, a handbook for school employees, a voting guide, booklets and numerous mounted and loose clippings about working conditions, teachers’ pay, school integration, and other pressing issues of the day.

Clippings, often considered redundant in our current research environment, may bring to light unexpected stories.  One such case in point-- numerous newspaper clippings in this collection feature a 1950 incident having to do with the questionable contents of hot dogs being served to children in New Orleans school lunchrooms. 

Grand Jury to Be Asked to Act, Says Darden
[5/3/50] Times-Picayune

     The Orleans parish grand jury will be asked to investigate the sale of adulterated wieners to the city’s public schools.
     District attorney Severn Darden said Tuesday that he will turn the matter over to the jury soon—but did not give a date.
     Darden said he was passing the inferior “hot dog” case to the grand jury “because of the widespread public interest.”
… made by representatives of the Great Gentilly civic council, whose president, J. H. Burton, earlier said that “we intend to look at the books for several years back to see if there has been any collusion in purchases.”
     Joseph Bowen, head of the Bowen Packing Co., said he had been selling inferior wieners to the Orleans parish school board for “about five years.”  The wieners contained but 15 per cent meat.  The bid called for all meat.
     The wieners he sold the schools were made by McConnell and Snider Sausage Manufacturing Co., closed recently for unsanitary conditions.  A quantity of horsemeat and mislabeled imitation sausages were found in the…

An online newspaper search of the scandal reveals that, although there was general concern for the schoolchildren’s well-being, the issue was not brought to light because of health concerns as much as by the discrepancies in bookkeeping.   Someone realized that the price being paid for the inferior hot dogs over five years was too low a price for all-meat hot dogs.

The odds are very good that John Kennedy Toole, born in New Orleans in 1937 and raised locally, actually consumed some of these lunchtime offerings during the late 1940s.   The public controversy and somewhat humorous journalistic treatment of the situation may have inspired his young imagination.

Post and photographs by Susanna Powers

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lt. Col. Bryan Black

Bryan Black (1872-1962) of New Orleans was an officer in the 140th Field Artillery (Washington Artillery), American Expeditionary Forces, stationed at Messac and Valdahon, France during World War I. He and his wife and three children lived on Arabella St. during the time period of this collection. After his military service, Bryan Black went into the insurance business.

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 97 holds the personal, military, and collected World War I papers of Lt. Col. Bryan Black.   In 1962, his son and daughters donated to Tulane University these documents and memorabilia, including handwritten and typed correspondence, numerous collected post cards, greeting cards, military papers, financial documents, a diary, family and military photographs and negatives, a published boxed set of stereographic photographs depicting scenes of World War I, telegrams, programs, items of social ephemera, printed pictures, advertisements, tags, tickets, fabric, medals, a cloth doll, military collar ornaments, buckles, buttons bearing slogans, ribbons, pins, books, pamphlets, newspaper clippings and other printed items. The long descriptive letters, predominantly written by Lt. Col. Black to his wife, concern family matters as well as his daily activities while stationed in France.  

To see a list of LaRC archival collections which include writings of American soldiers, see results of an advanced catalog search for archival collections specifying the subject heading "Soldiers' writings, American." 

This collection will be of interest to researchers in American and French history, and daily life in New Orleans during World War I.   Additional military and personal papers and photographs of Bryan Black are available in the Cummings and Black families papers, 1842-1960 (Manuscripts Collection 98).  

Captions:  items in Manuscripts Collection 97:  top, photographs of Lt. Col. Bryan Black on target range, and an unidentified woman in New Orleans; center, a Christmas letter to his wife ...   "Happy Christmas ...  Gee but I wish I could...." with a decorated handwritten Christmas dinner menu at Camp du Valdahon, France, December 25, 1918; bottom, a button "Welcome home, Soldiers and Sailors" and a "U.S." pin, printed pamphlets, a poem "November Eleventh" by Pvt. Hilmar R. Baukhage A.E.F. from the booklet "I was there! with the Yanks in France."    Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Amelia Alexander

Amelia L. Alexander (d. 1959), also called Mrs. Sam Alexander, worked as a volunteer coordinator providing support to American soldiers during and after World War II.  Her primary affiliation was the National Jewish Welfare Board, and she also worked on behalf of the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and particularly the United Service Organizations (USO).  Mrs. Alexander chaired the Religious Services Committee of the USO Club at Camp Plauche in the local area.  She and her husband, Sam Alexander, lived on Milan St., and later on Louis XIV St.

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 1087 holds the personal papers of Amelia Alexander, spanning the years 1939-1960.  (A posthumous paper documents the planting of a tree in Israel as a memorial in her honor.)   She collected her keepsakes and records relating to homeland work during World War II.  Included here are handwritten and typed correspondence, post cards, Christmas and Hanukah greeting cards, v-mails (a curious wartime technology), photographs and negatives, certificates, invitations and other items of social ephemera, a USO pin, reports, programs, bulletins, conference papers, newspaper clippings including several featuring her work in the New Orleans community, and other printed items.  She kept letters from her own sons as well as from other soldiers on active duty.

Several 8x10 glossy photographs in this collection were made by Leon Trice Picture Service.

Thanks once again to Samantha Bruner, for discovering and processing this collection for the benefit of researchers in American homeland war work, Jewish community service, and women's studies.

Captions: New Orleans Item front page, Tuesday, August 14, 1945, Extra; clipping describing the volunteer coordination and other charitable work of Amelia Alexander, a Leon Trice photograph depicting an event organized by Amelia Alexander (holding platter of spaghetti and looking up at the camera.)    All from Collection 1087, Box 1.    Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission. 

Posted by Susanna Powers 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Louisiana irises and wild plants

LaRC Manuscript Collection 1082 is a combination of organizational records and personal papers.

The Louisiana Iris Society was established in 1941; in 1948, its name was changed to the Society for Louisiana Irises, which continues into the twenty-first century. An early name variation was the Mary Swords DeBaillon Louisiana Iris Society.   Biologist and nature photographer Percy Viosca, Jr.  (1892-1961) lived in New Orleans and ran plant nursery businesses named Southern Biological Supply Co., Delta Iris Plantation, and Delta Iris Farms.  He was a member of the Louisiana Iris Society, but why his personal, professional, and business papers were included in this archival collection of the organization is somewhat mysterious.

The collection includes handwritten and typed correspondence, post cards, financial documents, items of social ephemera, photographs and negatives ascribed to Percy Viosca, text of radio interviews, drafts and research notes, school papers, poems, calendar notes listing plants observed by Percy Viosca in specific locations such as Gentilly Ridge, field notes, garden plans, minutes, membership records, administrative records, scientific essays, bulletins, magazine and newspaper clippings and other printed items. Correspondents include Mrs. Edgar B. Stern, Tulane University professor Joseph Ewan, the American Iris Society, publishers, plant buyers including Bellingrath Gardens, and landscape architect Ellen Shipman.  A clipped newspaper article reports that the Louisiana Iris Society dedicated the "Pearl Rivers Rainbow Memorial" in New Orleans City Park, memorializing the Louisiana poet also known as Eliza Nicholson.

July 28, 1942
Gentilly Ridge
False Dandelion
Wild Petunia?
Wild Hollyhock
Marsh Mallow
Sagittaria lanafolia (a few left)
Trumpet flower
Arrowhead morning glory
pink smart weed

The Louisiana Digital Library includes the LSU collection, Louisiana Ecology and Conservation, The Percy Viosca Jr. Collection displaying earlier Louisiana nature photographs of Percy Viosca Jr.

Illustration captions:  top, Manuscripts Collection 1082, box 1, folder 27, photographic prints and negatives of irises, ascribed to Percy Viosca; bottom, 1082, box 2, folder 6, a list of wild plants seen on Gentilly Ridge, July 28, 1942.  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers; collection discovered and processed by Samantha Bruner.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

LaRC books-- Down at the end of the river

Woodward, Angus.
Down at the end of the river : stories / by Angus Woodward.
Donaldsonville, LA : Margaret Media, Inc., c2008.

Howard-Tilton Stacks
PS3623.O683 D69 2008

Jones Hall Louisiana Research Collection
PS3623.O683 D69 2008 LACOLL

In this collection of short stories, Angus Woodward colorfully describes the circumstances, surroundings, and relationships of assorted fictional individuals living in southern Louisiana in recent years.  One story, "That German Girl" is set immediately post-Katrina.  Others, like "Qatar Is an Emirate" stretch back in time into the 1990s.  A few are almost timeless, especially "Guttering Out," a small and surreal slice of French Quarter street life.

The grouping of stories does not have a single point of view or tone, but together they present the elusiveness of close personal relationships and are linked by the common Louisiana setting.   Each story actually is short, begins with a strong sentence, and leaves the reader with memorable and unique characters.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tenth anniversary of Katrina

LaRC announces Katrina 2015 project
In remembrance of the ten-year anniversary of Katrina, the Louisiana Research Collection is acquiring and permanently preserving pamphlets, flyers, scrapbooks, diaries, letters, and the personal accounts of people who experienced the disaster.

Katrina was an extraordinary historical event endured by a broad range of everyday people, as well as their families and friends whose lives were affected by the Katrina diaspora for years afterward. Please help us ensure that their experiences are not forgotten.

The first such donation was made this summer by LaRC Archives Catalog Librarian Susanna Powers, now available as LaRC Manuscripts Collection 1085, detailing her experience of the storm itself from inside the Louisiana Superdome, and personal and family events of subsequent months. If you have similar personal accounts, or brochures, forms, and flyers relating to the disaster, please let us help you permanently preserve them for future generations.

For more information or to donate materials, please contact LaRC Department Head, Leon Miller, 504-314-7833.

Listen to Lee Miller in The Green Room: Collecting Katrina ephemera, by Kathryn Hobgood, in the New Wave, Aug. 13, 2015.

To learn about Hurricane Katrina, see the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library research guide to Katrina resources.  

Many of the books located in LaRC have another copy in the Howard-Tilton stacks ...  there are also numerous books and other items on Katrina which are only in the main Howard-Tilton building.   This broader search, which will also include holdings in Jones Hall, is done by performing an advanced catalog search for the subject keyword phrase "Hurricane Katrina, 2005".  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dr. Butler's treasured papers

Pierce Butler (1873-1955) was an American scholar, teacher, college administrator, and author, most closely associated with Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans, where he served as Dean, and taught English literature and history. Among his scholarly publications was a biography of Judah P. Benjamin. Multiple ancestors and his son were also named Pierce Butler; one of them, Maj. Pierce Butler (1744-1822), born in Ireland, fought in the Revolutionary War and was a plantation owner with holdings in Georgia and South Carolina. Professor Butler (1873-1955) was born in New Orleans, and was buried in New Orleans. He also lived for a time at Laurel Hill in Adams County, Miss., a plantation home near Natchez that was destroyed by fire in 1967. His wife was Cora Waldo Butler (1877-1942). In 1954, Dr. Butler published a memoir, Laurel Hill and later, the record of a teacher, which is included in this collection. A dormitory on the Tulane campus is named in Dr. Butler's honor.

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 56, Pierce Butler papers, consists of personal, professional, family, and collected papers of professor Pierce Butler (1873-1955).  This collection includes handwritten and typed correspondence, post cards, telegrams, advertisements, numerous family photographs and glass negatives, a framed photograph with an embroidered mat, tiles with printed portrait images, financial records, legal documents, ledgers, scrapbooks, diaries, invitations and other items of social ephemera, photographs of hand-drawn maps, landscape drawings, bibliographies, genealogical and literary research notes, lecture notes and class assignments, manuscripts of scholarly writings, plantation records such as day books and cotton crop documents, printed books owned or written by Dr. Butler, sheet music, newspaper clippings and other printed items. Research notes and drafts include items on nineteenth-century politician and lawyer Judah Benjamin. Some of the items in the collection are fragile or damaged by fire.

This collection is somewhat unique in that it contains such a wide variety of types of items relating to a prominent teacher and author from New Orleans, and merges family papers with personal and collected items of scholarly, social, and genealogical interest.

Caption:  front and back of a small mounted photograph of Cora Waldo (later Butler) in the 1890s, with an unidentified companion, from LaRC Manuscripts Collection 56, Box 4, Folder 10.  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Correspondence as research stationery

James Edward Winston (1874-1952) was a history professor and scholarly author, who lived most of his life in New Orleans.  He studied and taught at numerous prestigious American institutions before becoming a professor of history at Newcomb College, where he taught  from 1918 until his retirement in 1939. 

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 24 is made up of Dr. Winston’s personal and professional papers, including handwritten and typed research notes, hand-edited typed drafts of essays, correspondence, maps, financial documents, students’ papers, and newspaper clippings.  His correspondents included academic colleagues and administrators, publishers, booksellers and other retail businesses including a shoe company, and governmental offices he had contacted for information.  The research notes in this collection concern New Orleans religious and economic history—which were among his particular interests.

The unusual characteristic of this collection is that the reverse side of almost every document  bears elaborate research notes handwritten by Dr. Winston.  The collection is arranged in the manner kept, that is, the research notes become the front of each piece of paper.   Dr. Winston was a successful and respected scholar, lived in comfortable uptown New Orleans, and could certainly have purchased whatever note paper he wanted.   But he used the letters he received, their envelopes, receipts, printed pamphlets, covers of student notebooks, anything available, to make his transcriptions of archival or printed documents he read in his research. 

Captions:  top: photograph of Dr. Winston, courtesy of University Archives; below: papers from LaRC Manuscripts Collection 24, James E. Winston papers, 1916-1929, including the front and back of one of several receipts for vases purchased from Newcomb pottery (this one, for a vase designed by Sadie Irvine, selling for $1.21, right before Christmas 1921), an academic appointment sent by Tulane University president Dinwiddie in 1923, and a letter from U. S. Senator Joseph E. Ransdell regarding an informational brochure from the Census Bureau, 1921.   Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Family papers in LaRC

Collections of family papers contain items saved by various individuals over long stretches of time.  These archival collections, often including genealogical and biographical research notes, are rich resources for studying changing lifestyles and cultural values.  The Louisiana Research Collection holds a wealth of archival collections containing documents and objects considered important enough to pass on to a family's next generation.

An advanced search of the library catalog for LaRC archival collections with the phrase “family papers” or “families papers” in the title retrieves 146 results.  The oldest of these is the De la Villesbret family papers, 1534-1937, and the youngest is the Nuhrah family papers, 1967-1996.  Another example, which will be of interest to students of American history, is the Hoffman and Bowman families papers, 1832-1929 (LaRC Manuscripts Collection 982).

Collection 982 is composed of personal papers of members of the Hoffman, Bowman, and allied families in the United States, particularly in Louisiana.  Primarily family correspondence, it also includes stamped mailed envelopes, telegrams, items of social ephemera such as invitations and Carnival items, school papers and certificates of Alice Bowman, prescriptions and home remedies, undated poetry and songs, legal and financial documents including partially printed stock certificates, diaries, photographs, an estate inventory, a will, a theater program, newspaper clippings and other printed items.  Correspondence originated in a variety of locations including Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and California.  Some of the letters are in fragile or damaged condition; several appear to have been saved from fire.  

2 oz. Origannum oil
2 oz. Gum camphor
2 oz. Amonia
2 oz. ... Turpentine
2 oz. Laudnum
1 quart alcohol
to bath the whole body. 

it will take away the pain.

A black coffee cup full of Linimint in 1/2 pint of hot water - bathe quickly

Ne Varietur (s) M. M. Boatner, Judge. Apl. 24, 1929.

Will of Alice Bowman, spinster.

     Sound in body & in mind, I, Alice Bowman, spinster, make this my last will & testament, revoking all other wills of date anterior to this date.

     I name as my executors, my Lawyer, Miss. Florence Loeber & my nephew, John Maurice Orville Bowman, relying upon their good judgment & feeling assured, they will carry out the details of this, my last will & testament.

     To my cousin, John Maurice Harrison, in memory of his mother, my aunt, Elizabeth Harrison, I leave the use during his life, whatever revenues, my property may realize.

     After the death of this cousin, John Maurice Harrison, I desire that my property be thus divided.

     To my great neice & namesake, Alice Bowman Craighead, five hundred dollars ($500.00).

     All remainder of my property, I wish equally shared between, Emma S. Hullin, widow of my brother, Maurice Nathaniel Bowman, & their five children, herein named.

     Katherine Bowman, unmarried, Palmyre Hullin Bowman, wife of Charles D. Craighead, Elizabeth Bowman, wide of H. L. Keen, Ruth Green Bowman, unmarried, & John Maurice Orville Bowman, husband of Marie Therese Voorhies.

     Thus do I write, date & sign this, mu last will & testament, regretting as I sign, that I have not more to leave to my dear ones.

(S) Miss. Alice Bowman
New Orleans, November 19th, 1921.
#326 Audubon Boulevard.

Ne Varietur (S) M. M. Boatner, Judge.  Apl. 24, 1929.    

Captions: top, prescriptions and home remedies, Hoffman and Bowman families papers, Manuscripts Collection 982, Box 1, Folder 47; bottom, 1929 typed version of Alice Bowman's 1921 will, Box 1, Folder 22.   Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New Orleans performance arts

Ewing Poteet (1911-1984) was a musician and an avid supporter of the performance arts in New Orleans.  In 1960, he donated his collection of concert and theatrical programs to Tulane University.  This collection is held in the Louisiana Research Collection as Manuscripts Collection 314.   These programs date predominantly from the late 1940s and the 1950s, and represent productions of a wide variety of sponsoring organizations and performance venues.

Sponsors of these events include: New Orleans Friends of Music, New Orleans Philharmonic-Symphony Society, Civic Theatre, New Orleans Opera Guild, Women’s Guild of New Orleans, New Orleans Opera House Association, Crescent City Concerts Association, Gallery Circle Theatre, New Orleans Community Theatre, Theatre Jefferson, Community Children’s Theatre, NORD, National Catholic Music Educators Association, First Baptist Church, New Orleans Summer “Pop” Concerts, American Guild of Organists, Saint Louis Cathedral, and Temple Sinai.  New Orleans universities represented here include Dillard, Loyala, Xavier and Tulane.   A few organizations and events with programs in this collection were located outside of Louisiana, but the majority are within the city.  

As an added feature, some of the programs carry advertisements for local businesses of the era, especially the Civic Theatre programs.  For example, the programs have ads for Antoine’s Restaurant, D. H. Holmes, Elmer Candy Company, Turci’s Restaurant, Prima’s 500 Club, Chalmette Laundries, Pascal’s Manale Restaurant, Joseph Bruno Furniture, L & L Fur Shop, Shelton Smith Motor Co., Maylie’s Restaurant, Seale Pest Control Corp., the Fair Grounds Corp., Arnaud’s Restaurant, and many others, as well as notices of their upcoming plays.

A sample of other LaRC archival collections relating to musical or theatrical performances in New Orleans may be found by doing subject-keyword searches in the library catalog, qualifying by archival material; a few of the results follow:

Gideon Steiner French Opera House scrapbooks, 1856-1919.
Henry Wehrmann papers, 1868-1951.
Giuseppe Ferrata papers, 1884-1934.
Hooks family collection, 1889-1928.
William P. Lancaster and Alger Lancaster papers, 1892-1965.
Marie Lydia Standish papers, 1894-1953.
Leon Ryder Maxwell papers, 1895-1967.
Louis Panzeri papers, 1898-1981.
William W. and Beverley Peery papers, 1906-1983.
Harry Brunswick Loeb papers, 1911-1956.
Petit Theatre records, 1919-1966.
Group Theatre records, 1926-1938.
Volunteer Committee of the New Orleans Symphony records, 1946-1988.
Henry Kmen papers, 1949-1975.
 New Orleans Friends of Music records, 1956-2001.
Bob Borsodi papers, 1959-2003.    
Musica da Camera records, 1966-1992.
New Orleans Center for Creative Arts records, 1974-2000.

Use your imagination when searching the library catalog-- do a subject-keyword search on your favorite organizations or performers.

Captions:  top, Civic Theatre program for the Sept. 26-Oct 3, 1953 production of  Kind Sir starring Mary Martin and Charles Boyer (collection 314, box 1, folder 1); bottom, a souvenir program in poster format, detailing information about productions of Tennessee Williams works, 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, and Lord Byron’s Love Letter, which were performed Jan. 17, 1955, at Dixon Hall, Newcomb Campus (collection 314 box 1, folder 23).  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers