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Showing posts from 2009

Louisiana Research Collection closed December 23 - January 3

The Louisiana Research Collection and the rest of the Special Collections library will be closed from December 23 through January 3. We wish everyone a happy holiday and a fantastic new year. We will reopen on Monday, January 4.

Birthday of John Kennedy Toole, Dec. 17, 1937

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"As an Expression of Appreciation for Courtesies extended to the Club..." and many of us have a great appreciation of Toole, many years later.

Caption: Certificate dated Oct. 20, 1953, thanking Fortier High School student John Kennedy Toole for serving as a guest speaker at a Kiwanis Club meeting. Note signature of Joseph Dresner, brother of Jacob Dresner; their family papers are also in the Louisiana Research Collection. Please request permission for reproduction of this image.

Posted by Susanna Powers

In the stacks with the Twins of Genius

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The Louisiana Research Collection is the home of the papers of George Washington Cable, author of the Grandissimes and Old Creole Days. Recently I received a reference question from a Mark Twain scholar, and had the opportunity to delve deep into Cable's papers. I found many interesting and delightful items along the way.

The collection contains many fascinating letters between Mark Twain and George Washington Cable. Between late 1884 and early 1885, Cable and Twain embarked on a speaking tour together, and the two were billed as "the Twins of Genius".

The George Washington Cable papers includes many letters from Twain to Cable. One of the more interesting letters from Twain I found was addressed to "my Dear Nephew", however it contained an envelope scrap showing Twain's return address and the outgoing address to Cable. The letter is dated January 15, 1883. I think what charmed me most was the quote Twain ended the letter with: "When an audience do not c…

New exhibit on the Jewish experience in Louisiana

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The early career of Mignon Faget

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Mignon Faget is best known as a jewelry designer. But when she began growing her business in the late 1960s, out of a small studio on Dublin Street in the Riverbend area of New Orleans, she designed, produced, and promoted a line of women’s clothing and accessories described as environmental fashion. Natural forms, especially sea creatures indigenous to the Gulf Coast, were among her favorite subjects, and so the belts, tunic vests and short suede dresses were increasingly adorned with likenesses of snails, sand dollars, sea urchins, and crabs, often crafted in pewter tones.

The contents of Manuscripts Collection 715, covering 1968 to 1985, were donated to our repository by Mignon Faget in 1985. This collection is composed predominantly of advertisements from that era. D.H. Holmes, Kreeger’s, and Gus Mayer were among the local retail stores placing ads the Times-Picayune depicting Mignon Faget designer fashions. Her increasing success through the years is documented, as the print ads a…

KO contribution #394

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In honor of Ken Owen's upcoming retirement, here is another in a series of remembrances of his contributions to the library.
Did you know that HTML preserves one of the country's larger SciFi and Fantasy collections: We've had the collection for a couple of decades but most of it was never cataloged and to this day is not accessible on Voyager. Now, however, there is a printed SciFi & Fantasy index in the Special Collections reading room that is cross-referenced by author and title, thanks to Ken Owen.
Special Collections created an online description and exhibit about the materials several years ago in honor of Ken's work with the SciFi and Fantasy collection. To learn more about our SciFi & Fantasy collection, to view the online exhibit, and to sing along with the "Space Cadet March," click here.
Writtten by Lee Miller.

KO contribution #531

In honor of Ken Owen's upcoming retirement, here is another in a series of remembrances of his contributions to the library.

For researchers studying a wide range of New Orleans topics, Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) reports are essential. BGR is a non-profit, citizen-supported, independent research organization dedicated to informed public policy-making and the effective use of public resources in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area. BGR also focuses on state and national public policy issues which affect the metropolitan area.

Since its founding in 1932, BGR has completed over 1,500 studies, reports or position papers in the areas of municipal finance, governmental structure, metropolitan cooperation, collective bargaining, city charter provisions, tax proposals, civil service, procurement, public bid law procedures, and other aspects of local and state government.

The reports would be difficult (if not almost impossible) to use without an index. The public library doesn't…

Ken Owen contribution # 632

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In honor of Ken Owen’s upcoming retirement, here is another in a series of remembrances of his contributions to the library.

Within the Louisiana Research Collection’s vertical files is an outstanding collection of art ephemera. It includes art gallery flyers, announcements, press releases, and event invitations extending from about 1910 to the present. A special strength of the collection is invitations to gallery shows. This makes it an excellent resource for discovering which artists exhibited in New Orleans.

So, suppose you’re researching an artist and would like to know which New Orleans galleries carried his work? Suppose you have the name of a New Orleans gallery and want to know which artists that gallery exhibited? How would you do that? Where would you go?

The only Louisiana library that cross references its art ephemera by gallery and artist is the Louisiana Research Collection. If you look up a particular gallery, you will find a list of the artists that exhibited in that gal…

KO contribution # 238

Ken Owen contribution # 267 (among many)

Louisiana specialist Ken Owen is retiring from the Louisiana Research Collection at the end of this month. We are highlighting some of his (many) contributions over the next couple of weeks. -Eira Tansey

In a state internationally renowned for the poetic depth and sheer imaginative sweep of its political corruption, state inspector general’s reports carry a special significance. Ken Owen began collecting those reports for the New Orleans metro region ten years ago and the Louisiana Research Collection now has an almost complete collection for our part of the state.

Where can a researcher find an index to those reports? Not at the State Archives. Not even at the State Inspector General’s office. The only index to state inspector general’s reports exists at the Louisiana Research Collection; and, that index has been available to researchers online for several years, thanks to Ken Owen.

To learn more about state inspector generals reports and to view the online index, click here.

Written by …

Joel Fletcher papers open to the public

Photo opportunity

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Howard-Tilton Memorial Library will host and co-sponsor a two-day Society of American Archivists workshop, Understanding Photographs, Introduction to Archival Principles and Practices. This will be held Nov. 5-6, 2009. From the workshop description:

While photographs are some of the most versatile and heavily-used resources in archives, many professionals lack any specialized training in how to deal with them effectively. This introductory workshop teaches the basics of how to manage and care for photographs. You will discover how standard archival techniques can be applied successfully to photographs in eight modules: appraising and acquiring; reading and researching; identification and handling; preservation, storage and housing; accessioning and arrangement; description and cataloging; copying; and public service and outreach.


Leon C. Miller, Head of LaRC, has made arrangements for us to host this workshop and another one early in 2010 on Encoded Archival Description. Please note tha…

A summer full of work

Every summer, we are fortunate to have several student workers on board with us. This summer, we also had two interns. Our student workers and interns are some of our greatest assets, and much of the work we do would not happen without their dedication (and willingness to humor our staff). We'd like to highlight some of their work as the fall semester begins.

Caity Mellicant is a graduate student of linguistics. Her areas of interest are currently bilingualism and language contact with a focus on East Asian languages. Caity has been a student worker at Special Collections for a few years. This summer, she scanned several volumes of the Favrot family paper transcriptions for digitization.

Kevin Fontenot is a PhD candidate finishing his dissertation, a biography on former Governor Jimmie Davis. This summer, Kevin processed the papers of Tulane professor Karlem "Ducky" Riess, author Joel Fletcher, and some letters from Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard. Kevin has spent …