Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Joel Fletcher papers open to the public

Tulane University’s Louisiana Research Collection is pleased to announce that the Joel Fletcher papers are now open to the public. Joel Fletcher, author of the book Ken and Thelma, donated his papers to Tulane University in 2006. Joel Fletcher was a friend of John Kennedy Toole, author of A Confederacy of Dunces and Thelma Ducoing Toole, John’s mother.

The papers consist of Joel Fletcher’s research files for Ken and Thelma, a book about his friendship with Ken and Thelma Toole, and how A Confederacy of Dunces came to be published. The collection contains correspondence, drafts, reviews, and supporting materials. The collection contains criticism on previous biographies of John Kennedy Toole, and Fletcher’s letters with Thelma Ducoing Toole, New Orleans author Poppy Z. Brite, University of New Orleans professor Kenneth Holditch, and friends of the Toole family.

The Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University’s Special Collections Library also has the papers of John Kennedy Toole. The addition of Fletcher’s papers will considerably expand the scope of scholarly research on the life and works of John Kennedy Toole. The finding aid for the collection can be found at

Posted by Eira Tansey

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Photo opportunity

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 that the early-bird registration deadline for the Nov. 5-6 workshop on photographs is Oct. 5. For all details, see the SAA continuing education calendar.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

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 many summers in Special Collections.

Liz Skilton is a graduate student in History. Specializing in gender and environmental history, she is currently researching the creation and impact of a hurricane culture in and around Louisiana. Like Caity and Kevin, Liz has also worked at Special Collections in summers past. This summer, Liz was a one-person scanning machine. She created more than 1,500 high resolution master scans of items from several of our major collections, such as the John Kennedy Toole collection, the George and Katherine Davis collection of Confederate photographs, the Carnival collection, and the Lindy Boggs ambassadorial papers. We plan to make many of these images available in digital exhibitions over the next year.

Maxwell Means is a senior double majoring in English and Economics with a minor in Math. Currently, Max is finishing his degree, and preparing for a run at a PhD in Economics. Max was one of our summer interns, and processed several collections and individual items. Max rehoused poet Sidney Lanier's papers, and processed the WWI letters of Louisiana native Sergeant William P. Ewell, antebellum slave owner letters, and a Civil War diary.

Lindsay Luken is a senior majoring in history. She is currently applying to law school, and hopes to pursue a career in corporate law. Lindsay was our second intern this summer, and she processed the Al Lippman collection of Civil War letters and postal covers. The correspondence collection contains several letters from Union soldiers fighting in Louisiana. The postal covers represent Union sentiment, and depict caricatures of Confederate figures such as PG.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis.

Posted by Eira Tansey