Thursday, October 29, 2009

The early career of Mignon Faget

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 appeared first locally (Figaro, Arts Quarterly) and then nationally (Vogue, New Yorker, Mademoiselle). The business evolved by emphasizing unique and original jewelry designs in sterling silver, gold, and gemstones, and the stores have been effectively presented as galleries.

Interestingly, in 2009, the Mignon Faget website markets not only her jewelry, but also a diversified product line including fashion accessories, made from variety of materials (fabric, leather, paper, glass), as well as a variety of decorative forms, such as the popular post-Katrina Fleur de Lis, animals, and even elements of New Orleans architecture.

The Louisiana Research Collection is greatly strengthened by individuals who intentionally donate their own papers to Tulane University for long-term preservation and research purposes, as was the case with Mignon Faget. This group also includes Art Silverman, Phyllis Hudson, LaVerne “Pike” Thomas, Catharine Brosman, William Brumfield, Joel Fletcher, Lindy Boggs, Joel Grossman Myers and Bert Myers.

Photo caption: cover of the 1983 Mignon Faget jewelry catalog. This image may not be reproduced without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

KO contribution #394

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 have one. Not even the BGR indexes its own reports. The only index to BGR reports exists in the Louisiana Research Collection and that index has been online since 2004, thanks to Ken Owen.

To learn more about the BGR and view the online index, click here.

Written by Lee Miller.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ken Owen contribution # 632

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 gallery. If you look up a particular artist, you will discover which local galleries carried her work. That resource was created by Ken Owen.

To learn more about the Louisiana Research Collection’s art holdings, click here.

Written by Lee Miller.

(Image of Arts and Crafts Club Gallery Announcement, Vertical Files, Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University Libraries. Image may not be reproduced without permission.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

KO contribution # 238

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


Suppose you’re doing research in our ephemera collection, come across the names of one or two Louisiana politicians, and want to discover when they ran for office? How would you do that? Where would you go?


The only index of Louisiana political ephemera cross-referenced by politicians and the years they ran for office exists in the Louisiana Research Collection, thanks to Ken Owen.

But wait! There’s more! Suppose you know the year of a Louisiana election, but don’t have the specific day date? Suppose you have a flyer that says an election was held on May 9, but you don’t know which year? What would you do? Where would you go?


The only index of Louisiana political ephemera that tracks the dates of Louisiana elections and cross-references them by day and year exists in the Louisiana Research Collection, thanks to Ken Owen.


Ken’s election resource also records whether the date was a primary, second primary, special primary, or general election. For example, Ken’s index reveals that we preserve campaign ephemera for three elections held on January 17. They occurred in 1928, 1956, and 1998 and were all primary elections.


Special Collections created an online exhibit about our political ephemera several years ago to honor Ken’s work with our political holdings. To view the online exhibit and learn more about our political ephemera collection, click here.


Written by Lee Miller.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

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 Lee Miller