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

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wartime letters, Memorial Day

Members of the Landrum and Eldredge families lived in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Hulse and Eldredge families lived in New Orleans in the twentieth century. Dr. C. A. Landrum (1838-1909) was a physician and dentist who operated drug stores in DeFuniak Springs and Milton, Fla. His wife was Mary Landrum. Their son, Lt. C. A. Landrum (d. 1964), served in World War I.

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 303, Landrum and Eldredge families papers, 1826-1960, contains personal, professional, and military papers of the Landrum and Eldredge and allied families in the southern United States. Included are handwritten and typed family correspondence, later-era notes and typed transcriptions of letters, genealogical information, speeches, certificates, leather-bound diaries, legal papers, real estate papers, financial documents, school papers, a drawing, photocopies of eighteenth-century maps, photographs, telegrams, invitations and other items of social ephemera, journal issues, newspaper clippings and other printed items. Included in the correspondence are Civil War letters of Lucius T. Landrum, and World War I letters of Cassimir A. Landrum from France to his mother, Mary, in Florida. The collection spans into the World War II era also, with a record of early 1940s blood donations to the American National Red Cross by Mrs. I. F. Eldredge of New Orleans, which states, "this certificate signifies that its possessor has rendered a patriotic service by giving his or her own blood for the treatment of the seriously injured."

Below is an undated letter written in France, probably mid-1918, by C. A. Landrum, 2nd Lieut., to his mother in northern Florida.

                                                                  A.L.Co. 118
Dear Mother;
     I have your letter of May 20 and will try to answer your questions while they are fresh.  I have not yet received the razor blades or the Easter candy but still have hopes.
     Charles Cawthon may find me but it is very doubtful.  Ely and I have both been over here for about ten months and have not yet been able to get together although I know where he is.  If another officer is ever sent to my Company I shall try to get leave and pay him a petit visit but while I am the only officer it is impossible.
     I was transferred from my old Co. to the Labor Bureau.  I was just ordered to the new duty.  It is not customary for orders to be accompanied by explainations.
     Perhaps you have seen Secy. Baker's statement that 70% of the Amexforce is combatant; well the Labor Bureau is the answer.  It consists of a few officers and N.C.O's who employ and work quite a few thousands of civillian laborers who are for some reason not available as soldiers; some are from neutral countries, some are too old some too young, and many physically unfit.  My striker wears a stiff leg and a Croix de Guerre (he has two brothers who each wear the latter also); another worker breathes through a metal tube, a third sports a wax nose and yet another has had his ear-drums split by shell concussion.  Add an eye or two missing and an ear burnt almost off by liquid fire and you get a fair picture of my French Company.  But are they down hearted?  Not while the wine shops are open.  And we manage to get enough work out of these men so that each one represents a good American Doughboy released for trench duty.  I had one man in an advanced stage of T.B's but got the Dr. to shove him into a hospital just as soon as I wised up to his symptoms.  It was too late, I suppose, to prolong his life but at least his last hours will be endurable.  Left to himself he would have died like a rat in some sellar.  At present the companies I command are building railroads, but we also do many other things such as building hospitals or barracks unloading freight at the seaports etc.
     It is bad business to get too chummy with any one man in the army because just when you realy know him you are shifted clear out of range.  All of the officers here are men whom I never saw before coming to this place;  The commander of the Chinese Labor Companies here runs around with me quite a bit.  He is a Lieut. Holston who attended the University of Florida and knows Phillip Miller, Mr. Esslinger, Miss Pearl Futch and some other Gainesville people.
     I know it must give you real pleasure to get up an hour sooner and be able to make old Peacock do the same.
     By the way A.L.Co. means Administrative Labor Co.
     P.S. I enclose a request for socks.  If you can get them started in August I ought to receive them before Winter is entirely over.  I have said a dozen so you can send all you have knitted but half that number will do a world of good as I can wear your make, one pair at a time, in the very coldest weather, whereas, army socks give me chill-blains, even when I wear two pair.

Caption: undated letter written in France, probably mid-1918, by C. A. Landrum, 2nd Lieut., to his mother in northern Florida.    Manuscripts Collection 303, Box 5, [folder 20].   Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Multilingual post cards

As a young woman, Rita Marie Boudousquié (1886-1960) of southern Louisiana received and preserved hundreds of post cards with quick personal notes or holiday greetings from friends and family.  In 1917, she married Robustiano Bernard Ferro (1884-1965), a Cuban-born veterinarian.  Over the years, they lived in New Orleans, Lafayette, Wiggins, Kansas City, and Omaha, returning to New Orleans.   As the couple had no children, Dr. Ferro donated his wife’s early-century post card collection to Tulane University in 1965.   LaRC Manuscripts Collection 276 is the Rita Boudousquié Ferro post card collection, 1905-1937.

These post card messages are in handwritten French and/or English.  Printed Spanish-language words appear on post cards from Cuba.  The brief notes sent greetings to Miss Boudousquié on mailed picture post cards depicting scenes in New Orleans, such as streets, buildings, parks and cemeteries, as well as other Louisiana and Mississippi places, other cities in the United States, Cuba, and Europe. Many of the post cards serve as holiday greeting cards. These handwritten or typed cards, dated 1905 to 1909, were addressed to Miss Boudousquié at various places in southern Louisiana, including New Orleans, Independence, Covington, Baton Rouge, and Vacherie Plantation in Baldwin. Also included are several photographs dated 1937, added after the original donation.

Captions:  top, post card with French message from Edmond, featuring Canal Street, mailed in 1908 within the city (Manuscripts Collection 276, box 1, folder 2); bottom,  post card mailed 1906 of the Howard Library, addressed to the Vacherie Plantation in Baldwin, La. written in French with an off-beat English post-script on the image: "Marie Gertrude states that she is glad you are gone." (Manuscripts Collection 276, box 1, folder 2).  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

LaRC books-- Elysian Fields

LaFlaur, Mark Gregory, 1958-
Elysian Fields / Mark LaFlaur.
Kew Gardens, NY : Mid-City Books, [2013]

Howard-Tilton Stacks
PS3613.A3755 E46 2013

Jones Hall Louisiana Research Collection
PS3613.A3755 E46 2013 LACOLL

Reviewers of Mark LaFlaur's award-winning first novel, Elysian Fields, often comment that the writing is reminiscent of various great twentieth-century Southern authors. Certainly the characters, places, subject matter, dialog, and colorful description come out of this rich tradition.  But, other than having New Orleans in common, how could Walker Percy and John Kennedy Toole possibly intersect?   Elysian Fields is not so philosophical or so hilarious.  But, although the author's preliminary disclaimer states that "any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely imaginary or coincidental," he does happen to mention the 55 Elysian Fields bus, the McKenzies bakery shop near Gentilly Blvd., Dillard University, K&B (the old name sticks even in 1999) and a number of other reality-based names found in the general zip code of 70122.  Probably only ten percent of the geographic names in this novel are fictional, but they all sound like they would fit right in.  The sense of extreme localized place is very strong.

Another feature of the novel is the nuclear family as main character.  The members of the four-person Weems family share the lead role, although the father has been dead for over ten years.   Time shifts around fluidly along with the thoughts of the elder son, Simpson, a poet who was born a generation or two late.   Fortunately for readers of this novel, this particular slice-of-life does have a definite plot and multiple recurring themes.  

The LACOLL copy  of this book is accessible in the Schiro Reading Room, but there is also a circulating copy in the main Howard-Tilton stacks.

corner of Elysian Fields and Gentilly Blvd. in March 2015

Post and photos by Susanna Powers

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Discoveries in Jones Hall-- 1929 reports from the Cotton Belt

New Orleans journalist A. J. Mann

A. J. Mann (born 1888 or 1889) was a reporter specializing in the New Orleans cotton trade and cotton and ramie growing in the Southern States. He worked at a desk in the Cotton Exchange for the New Orleans daily states, and later sent writings on the cotton trade, Southern weather, and agricultural growing conditions to New York for publication in the Wall Street journal. He and his wife, Barbara, lived for many years on Eleonore St. in uptown New Orleans, from the 1920s through the 1960s. He identified himself as the manager of the New Orleans Cotton News Bureau.

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 268 (A. J. Mann papers, 1917-1952) consists of his professional and collected papers, donated in 1967. Included are typed letters received, as well as outgoing carbons of his responses, a post card, partially printed personal tax documents covering 1926 and 1927, statistical charts about cotton production and acreage, photographs, journal issues, reports, drafts of columns, telegrams, newspaper clippings such as his own published columns, and other printed items. A. J. Mann's columns address the economic response to the Stock Market Crash of late 1929 and its ongoing effects on the cotton trade in New Orleans, agricultural finances across Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina, and the American economy generally. Correspondents represented are Texas cotton traders W. B. Ray & Co. and other businesses, Dow, Jones & Co., the Shreveport times, and the Wall Street journal. 

This collection, which will be of interest to historical researchers in economics, agriculture, journalism, and communications, was almost completely undocumented and physically located inside the last box of the sequentially previous collection on the shelf.  This week, it has been re-housed in a separate box, cataloged for WorldCat and Voyager, and represented in our finding-aid database. 

Posted by Susanna Powers

Thursday, March 5, 2015

2015 LHA annual meeting in Lafayette

LaRC Public Services Librarian Sean Benjamin giving his presentation at the first session of the Louisiana Historical Association annual meeting, March 5, 2015. 

The 57th annual meeting of the Louisiana Historical Association is being held March 5-7, 2015, at the Ramada Lafayette Conference Center in Lafayette, Louisiana.  LaRC Department Head, Leon Miller, chaired a lively and successful session, "Archival Innovation in Access, Reference, and Teaching."  Presentations were given by Sally K. Reeves of the Office of the Clerk of Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans; Trish Nugent and Elizabeth Kelly of Loyola University; and Sean Benjamin of Tulane University's Louisiana Research Collection.

Sean's talk described "Too Much of a Good Thing: Managing Archival Reference Overload."  The audience responded warmly to hearing of the advances and challenges in providing access services to the public, and the discussion went past the scheduled time.

Tulane History Dept. graduate student and LaRC assistant, Alix Riviere, delivers her paper, "Enslaved Children and Race Relations in Antebellum Virginia and Louisiana," March 6, 2015.   Alongside Alix on the panel are Gregory K. Weimer of Florida International University and Andrew N. Wegmann, Louisiana State University. 

Photo and post by Susanna Powers

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

1953 post card offer

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 219 is the Jacob Streiffer post card collection, 1900-1960s.  This collection, arranged into small envelopes in one box, by general subject, consists of printed post cards collected by Jacob Streiffer (1902-1969) of New Orleans, who lived at homes on St. Roch Ave. in Gentilly, and later Decatur St. . Most of these post cards date from the early twentieth century and depict street and garden scenes, including of Audubon Park and City Park, the French Quarter, monuments, cemeteries, Carnival, riverfront and other New Orleans views, and African Americans. The post cards in this collection are predominantly drawings or photographs printed in color and unmailed, but a few of the later cards have handwritten or printed messages and were sent through the mail to Jacob Streiffer or his wife.

Caption:  a post card mailed to Mrs. J. Streiffer, March 9, 1953, announces a special offer at the Gentilly Meat Market, 5321 Franklin Ave., New Orleans, La.: 
9th - 10th - 11th ONLY

(from Jacob Streiffer post card collection, 1900-1960s, Manuscripts Collection 219, Box 1)
The Gentilly Meat Market had the same address and was possibly located in the same structure of various more recent storefront businesses in this area; see this Google street view shot showing Cousin's Seafood in July 2014.   Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mardi Gras weekend

The Schiro Reading Room will be closed Saturday, February 14 – Tuesday, February 17, 2015.   For weekend hours of the main Howard-Tilton Memorial Library building, see the hours listing on the library web site.   Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras are Tulane University holidays.

To learn about New Orleans Carnival celebrations of the past, please visit the online Carnival Collection, featuring images of more than 5,500 original float and costume designs held in the Louisiana Research Collection.   The digitized collection ensures preservation of these colorful creative images, and provides open access across the world.   

Have a happy and safe Mardi Gras!

Caption: Krewe of Proteus 1892, costume 33, as preserved in the online Carnival Collection, Louisiana Digital Library and the Tulane Digital Library.   For more about the 1892 Proteus parade costume designs, see Storehouse, featuring Leon Miller's descriptive narration.  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tokens of love

Long-saved Valentines in Bowman family papers, 1815-1972
 (Manuscripts Collection 175, Box 1, Folder 8) 

The Bowman family papers include a wide variety of subjects and types of archival items which had been collected over most of two centuries.  The family kept handwritten and typed correspondence, post cards, Valentines and other greeting cards, telegrams, diaries, legal and financial documents, diplomas, certificates, a railroad map, medical papers, life insurance documents, a 1918 passport of Ruth Green Bowman, French World War I rationing stamps for bread, American Red Cross papers, poetry, sheet music, church programs, calling cards and other items of social ephemera including mounted flowers and plants, a pipe, photographs, negatives and contact prints, newspaper clippings and other printed items. An 1815 letter concerns the Battle of New Orleans.  Some text is in French, and typed transcriptions accompany some documents, which always helps with legibility. Photographs in the collection depict scenes from World War I; the Alaskan photographs include portraits of Native Americans; the volume holds uncaptioned candid group photographs dated 1972.

Bowman family members lived in Baltimore and New Orleans from the early nineteenth to at least the late twentieth century. Ruth Green Bowman attended New Orleans public schools at the turn of the century; during World War I, she worked with the American Red Cross in France. In the 1910s, Hullin S. Mott went on a Canadian Arctic Expedition and an Alaskan Polar Bear Expedition. Ruth Bowman later married Hullin S. Mott. Ruth Mott attended a literary workshop in 1954. Other individuals and families represented in this collection include: Cottman, Hoffman, Gumbel, Springer, Kenner and Woodruff.

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

Posted by Susanna Powers

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

LaRC books-- Lost in the cosmos

Browsing the library catalog or the stacks, works by and about Southern author Walker Percy are plentiful, both in the main Howard-Tilton stacks and in Special Collections.   A number of his works have multiple copies in various locations within the library.   Walker Percy’s prevalent descriptive style and subdued mood appear in his famous mid-twentieth century New Orleans novel, The Moviegoer, winner of the 1962 National Book Award for Fiction.

But lesser known are his works classified as nonfiction.    Called “Walker Percy’s Weirdest Book” by Tom Bartlett in the Chronicle of Higher Education (May 10, 2010), Lost in the Cosmos is very unlike The Moviegoer.   However, categorizing this book as nonfiction is also imperfect, because the reader who persists through the first three-fourths of it is treated to a small, beautifully written science fiction story about space travel, astronaut couples, and children born in space who later travel to earth.  The bulk of the book concerns philosophy, semiotics, religion, science, sexuality, and commentary on the individual self and the precarious status of human life on earth.   His heavy use of lengthy scholarly footnotes is simultaneously somewhat serious and self-depricatingly humorous.   Many of the cultural references are now dated; the overall tone of the book ranges from matter-of-fact to humorous.

Lost in the cosmos : the last self-help book / Walker Percy.  New York : Farrar, Straus & Giroux, c1983.

PS3566.E6912 L6 1983

Multiple copies are located in:

      Howard-Tilton stacks, Louisiana Research Collection, Rare Books (William B. Wisdom)  

Posted by Susanna Powers