Showing posts from 2010

Holiday reading room hours

The Special Collections Reading Room (202 Jones Hall) will be closed from Thursday, December 23, 2010 through Sunday, January 2, 2011. We will resume normal hours on Monday, January 3. For Holiday hours of the main Howard-Tilton Memorial Library building, see the Library blog. Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Caption: exterior view of stained glass windows of Rogers Memorial Chapel on the Tulane University campus.

Posted by Susanna Powers

New fall finding aids

In light of the recent Thanksgiving holiday, we're thankful for our wonderful interns and student workers at the Louisiana Research Collection. With their hard work this fall, we've been able to make over 25 new finding aids available online. Here's just a sample:

New Orleans Street Railway Union records (Manuscripts Collection 26): Perhaps one of the largest and most exciting finding aids we've unveiled this autumn, this collection contains the records of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America Division No. 194 in New Orleans from 1902 to 1948. Much of the collection was processed by our interns Mallorie Smith and Kathryn Rumer. More information about the collection can be found here.

Ambert O. Remington papers (Manuscripts Collection 89): This collection contains the Civil War letters of Ambert O. Remington, a Union soldier who spent time at Fort Pickens and was later wounded at Port Hudson (Louisiana), resulting in an amputated…

LaRC's new digital collection, “Louisiana Political Ephemera, 1860-1920”

The Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) preserves an extensive collection of political literature, such as handouts, campaign flyers, and political brochures. Such small printed items are called “ephemera” because they are meant to be glanced at and then tossed away; they therefore have a brief, or “ephemeral,” lifespan. This selection from LaRC’s political ephemera collection spans 1860 to 1920. In addition to being colorful and fun, campaign literature can be of enormous importance to a surprising variety of researchers.

Campaign literature preserves a wealth of information, including a candidate’s name, race, sex, age, party, party faction, platform, resume, campaign slogan, business, offices held, endorsements, and a photograph of the candidate and or even the candidate’s family. It therefore is invaluable for a wide range of research topics and is often a useful place to start for many research projects. LaRC’s collection covers both local New Orleans elections, statewide Louisia…

Farewell to Mary LeBlanc

Our friend Mary LeBlanc has recently decided to retire from her volunteer service to the Louisiana Research Collection.In October 1973, Mary started working as a Howard-Tilton Memorial Library staff member in Special Collections, continuing for all those years through 2005.Since then, she kindly volunteered her time to process newly-acquired Carnival ephemera for inclusion in LaRC’s very deep and multi-faceted Carnival Collection. Over her career in the library, she worked closely with Bill Meneray, Lee Miller, and a very long list of co-workers.
Mary’s sociable manner and love of New Orleans will be fondly remembered.In fact, we look forward to her visits!Carole Hampshire, a long-time Special Collections colleague and good friend of Mary’s, said, “…there are many wonderful things that can be said about Mary—enough to fill her own manuscript collection!Mary deserves her own krewe, along with her own tiara and doubloon, which will be hot collector’s items.We will miss her tremendously h…

John Kennedy Toole and the Prytania Theatre

John Kennedy Toole: the omega point, Joe Sanford’s award-winning documentary about the life of novelist John Kennedy Toole, was shown at the Prytania Theatre today as a Louisiana Feature entry in the 21st annual New Orleans Film Festival. The venue of this event was especially fitting, as the old single-screen movie house itself provides the setting of one of the funniest chapters in A Confederacy of Dunces, when our fictional leading man Ignatius Reilly attempts to attend an evening show at his neighborhood movie theatre in uptown New Orleans.

Today’s show was much calmer than that, as an appreciative audience enjoyed the colorful, poignant, and beautifully-crafted film. As explained in a question and answer session afterwards, the authenticity of the documentary was assured by the avoidance of editorial speculation. Even the comments by scholars interviewed in the film were almost entirely factual rather than judgmental. The result of this careful work was a thought-provoking…

Louisiana Research Collection opens major labor collection

The Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University is pleased to announce the opening of the New Orleans Street Railway Union records. This collection contains the records of Union Division No. 194 of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America, established in 1892. Collection 26 traces the evolution of New Orleans Local No. 194 from 1902 – 1948. A large portion of the collection consists of correspondence, labor protests, worker contentions regarding pay, hours, administration, and strike relief, and administrative changes to the management of streetcars and streetcar lines.

The main focus of this collection, however, relates to the strikes enacted by Local No. 194. Strikes occurred in the years 1920, 1926, and 1929. The strike of 1929 had the longest duration, held the greatest impact, and was the result of contentions with the New Orleans Public Service Company and the Progressive Benevolent Association - a dual organization that Division No. …

Congratulations to LaRC Head Leon Miller

At this year's Society of American Archivists (SAA) annual conference in Washington DC, the Louisiana Research Collection's head, Leon Miller was named one of seven new Fellows. The SAA Fellowship is the highest honor awarded by the organization. Lee was recognized for his record of service to the archival profession, including his leadership of the Society of Southwest Archivists, the Academy of Certified Archivists, his work on several SAA committees and the creation of the SAA Mentoring program. Please join us in congratulating Lee!

Posted by Eira Tansey

The mural in the Special Collections reading room

The very large and lovely mural in the front of the Victor H. and Margaret G. Schiro Reading Room depicts a panoramic Louisiana landscape, painted predominantly in shades of green. It sometimes seems to lend a peaceful tone, and makes a strong visual impression all the way to the back the room. The mural consists of a continuous series of wall panels, collectively entitled “The Weiss Dining Room” by Alexander John Drysdale (American, 1870-1934). Although intended to be on display together, each of the canvas panels stands on its own as a complete painting, and each is signed and dated 1930. Its height is 82 inches, and the total length of the mural is 427". The set was carefully restored by art preservationist Phyllis Hudson, one of LaRC’s self-archiving donors.

This was photographed this summer by Sally Asher, of Tulane’s Office of Public Relations, when she did a photo shoot in the reading room, to provide illustrations on the new LaRC website.

Posted by Susanna Powers

The five-year mark, August 29, 2010

The year 2010 has so far delivered to Louisiana a range of events from the Saints Superbowl win to the ongoing BP oil catastrophe, and appropriately, through everything, we are marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Every August 29th since the disaster we memorialize those who died in the disaster and its aftermath, as well as celebrate the resilience and the accomplishments of the citizens of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. A few informational links about the subject are included below.

“Mayor Landrieu announces Katrina Commemoration, an event to celebrate New Orleans resilience 5 years after Katrina.” This is planned for Sunday, August 29th at 6:30 pm at Washington Artillery Park, across from Jackson Square.

Katrina V: Commemoration & Determination.

"Telling their stories, the lingering legacy of the Katrina photographs," an exhibit of Katrina imagery at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Offbeat magazine, August 2010, “Where are we now?” by Michael Patrick Wel…

Reading Room hours


53,110 days ago, or, February 20, 1865

The Stibbs family papers were given to the Louisiana Research Collection over 30 years ago by Dean Stibbs, dean of students at Tulane University. His family papers contain a considerable amount of material written by John Howard Stibbs, who enlisted in the First Infantry Iowa Volunteers in 1861. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1863 and to Colonel in 1865. Stibbs was a POW following the battle of Shiloh, and would go on to serve as a member of the military court which tried and convicted Henry Wirz.

In 1865, US Representative William B. Allison and Senator James Harlan wrote to Lincoln's Secretary of War asking for Stibbs' leave of absence to be extended (click image for larger view):

Apparently the matter was referred to the President, who noted his approval on the back of the letter:

The Louisiana Research Collection preserves extensive Civil War holdings, including the papers of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and Stonewall Ja…

Books in the collection--newer favorites: Carry Me Home.

Carry me home, a journey back to New Orleans, by Mark Folse.

Jones Hall Louisiana Research Collection PS3606.O467 C37 2008 multiple copies available

In the Louisiana Research Collection, it seems we might consider a book "newer" if it was published after 1899. But for the current purpose, "newer" will mean published within the last few years. Last summer, we presented a very brief selection of our Katrina-related books. Another important and very emotional contribution to the Katrina literature is made by Mark Folse in Carry Me Home, a Journey Back to New Orleans.

This is the story, in diary form, of New Orleanian Mark Folse's reaction to learning of the flood's devastation. In 2005, he lived in North Dakota. Carry Me Home describes the surprising process that he and his family went through to move back to New Orleans early in 2006. The text is largely composed of selections of his blog posts in the now-complete Wet Bank Guide, which he frantically started publi…

Books in the collection--older favorites: To Glorious Immortality.

To glorious immortality; the rise and fall of the Girod Street Cemetery, New Orleans' first Protestant Cemetery, 1822-1957, by Leonard V. Huber and Guy F. Bernard.

Jones Hall Louisiana Research Collection
F379.N5 H8
Multiple copies available

When cities grow, what was once on the outskirts of town tends to become prime real estate… even if cemeteries are on those grounds. In the 1950s, the historic but badly neglected Girod Street Cemetery was a casualty to urban development in New Orleans. Fortunately, prior to the demolition, historians Huber and Bernard made a point of documenting the existence of this place, originally meant to be a final resting place.

The Girod Street Cemetery was founded in 1822 by Christ Episcopal Church, and "came to a sorry end" in 1957, following a lengthy period of financial failure and physical neglect. More than 22,000 bodies were removed from the crumbling cemetery, when the land was sold to the City of New Orleans. Mass burials were in evidenc…

Gulf of Mexico oil disaster research guides and other resources

To access sources of information about the BP oil spill in the Gulf, please see the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library's Earth & Environmental Sciences Research Guide, as well as the 2010 Gulf Oil Drilling Incident Timeline, by Tulane's Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy, and the Tulane Oil Spill Responseweb site. Additional relevant links have been provided by the Rudolph Matas Library Reference Dept. in the Disaster Management guide, Louisiana Oil Spill Disaster, May 2010-

Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is participating in Tulane's program to donate clean t-shirts to the oil-spill cleanup workers. Donna Capelle Cook, Director of Technical Services, has made arrangements for setting up donation boxes, which are located in several places in the main library building. The donated t-shirts will be picked up daily and taken to the Tulane Cancer Center, where the program is being managed. For more information about this project, see the June 22 issue of the New Wave.


Mistick Krewe of Comus 1910 float designs

Another new digital collection of images derived from artwork in the LaRC Carnival Collection has been published in the LOUISiana Digital Library. This one is the complete set of ornate, colorful float designs for the 1910 Comus parade. These drawings were done by Jennie Wilde (1865-1913), an artist who designed floats for many New Orleans Mardi Gras parades. These images are believed to be tracings she made from her earlier original designs, possibly given as a presentation copy to Comus captain, S. P. Walmsley. The parade had an Islamic theme, and certainly at least the float designs were created with an imaginative and respectful tone.

This is one in a series of subcollections, within the large physical Carnival Collection, which are being created for inclusion in the LDL. Earlier in 2010, the 1873 Comus parade costume designs by Charles Briton appeared. In 1873, not only were there no floats in that year’s less-than-respectful Comus parade, the city police refused break up the crow…

Job Announcement: Public Services Librarian

The Louisiana Research Collection at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is pleased to announce a job opening for a Public Services Librarian. Please click here for more information.

Posted by Eira Tansey.

Summer reading room hours

Please note our slightly different reading room hours for the summer.

Special Collections reading room hours
Beginning May 15, 2010

Monday-Friday 9:00-noon, & 1:00–5:00
Saturday 10:00 – 1:00
Sunday Closed

Closed on holidays:
Monday, May 31
Monday, July 5
Monday, Sept. 6

Also closed Saturday, May 29
closed Saturday, July 3
closed Saturday, Aug. 14
closed Saturday, Sept. 4

Starting Monday, Aug. 16, our normal hours will be:

Monday-Friday 9:00-noon, & 1:00–4:00
Saturday 10:00 – 1:00
Sunday Closed

Please watch for updates. Hours subject to change.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Lippman collection of Civil War postal covers now online

In 2009, the Louisiana Research Collection acquired a collection of Civil War period letters and postal covers from donor Al Lippman. The forty postal covers, with one exception, depict Union sentiment and patriotism. Many depict Confederate figures such as Jefferson Davis and General Beauregard. Sometimes these depictions are animal-likecaricatures, others tend towards violent depictions, including several showing a hanging Jefferson Davis. Some postal covers portray a disdain of Britain's relationship with the Confederacy, others are steeped in Union patriotism and imagery of Uncle Sam.

We have digitized the postal cover collection, and are pleased to announce its debut on the LOUIS Digital Library site. You can access the entire collection here.

(Image from the Al Lippman Civil War Collection, Manuscripts Collection 993, Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University Libraries. Image may not be reproduced without permission.)

Posted by Eira Tansey.

Jazz Fest Thursday

The only Thursday in the Jazz Fest schedule is often a favorite for locals. It’s less crowded and the food is just as delicious. Among the activities to enjoy yesterday was an interview of Dennis Stroughmatt and other members of L’Esprit Creole by our Special Collections colleague and Tulane history teaching fellow, Kevin Fontenot. Musical performance was liberally woven into the interview, and included French-language folk songs as well as complex, out-of-the-ordinary fiddle playing in country-sounding tunes.
This afternoon (Friday, April 30), on the same Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage inside the cool, dry grandstand building, another interview is scheduled: Bruce Raeburn, Director of Special Collections, will interview Louis Prima, Jr., Paul Ferrara, and Joe Segreto in a Tribute to Louis Prima. Both interviews are sponsored by the Louisiana Jazz and Heritage Foundation.

Lagniappe photograph from me, just for fun:
Terrance Osborne proudly posing with festgoers in front of his pai…

Calling, advertising, and greeting cards, 1906-1920.

In 1975, Elizabeth Shoughro of New Orleans donated to Tulane University her collection of early twentieth-century commercially printed cards, of three types: calling cards, advertising cards, and greeting cards.

Calling cards were commonly used, a hundred years ago and earlier, as an informational memento to give to a host family when visiting. The examples in this collection are small in size, similar to a modern business card, and range from plain white with only the name in black, to more elaborate and imaginative with color printing, tiny envelopes, and expressions of love. These reveal a social networking intention which is familiar to us, but the style of the cards reveals the innocence of an earlier time.

Greeting cards were mailed and given out as they are today, to celebrate the holidays and special occasions, and in fact are very much in the same spirit. They are decorative, light-hearted and sometimes humorous. Occasionally, a religious theme appears, but more often the treat…

LaRC Head in today's New Wave

Leon Miller, head of the Louisiana Research Collection, made an appearance in today's edition of the Tulane New Wave. The PBS Series "History Detectives" recently visited Tulane's campus, and filmed some shots in our own Jones Hall. You can read the story and see a picture of Lee here.

Those boxes pictured in the corner of the photograph? They're from the Kuntz Collection.

Posted by Eira Tansey

Nathaniel Cortlandt Curtis papers, 1906-1953.

So many of the manuscripts collections in the Louisiana Research Collection are interdisciplinary in nature, and contain a wide variety of objects within them. Often, the word “manuscripts” is associated with ornate handwriting on fragile paper—and certainly we do have many valuable holdings which meet that description. But personal papers, and corporate records also, take many forms and may have been collected over a lifetime or longer. Through cataloging and creating accessible inventories, we are attempting to support researchers’ needs by facilitating the discovery of these unique resources.

One such collection, the papers of Nathaniel Cortlandt Curtis (1881-1953), contains the New Orleans architect’s personal and professional correspondence, teaching materials, clippings, research notes, printed material, sketches, photographs, architectural drawings, and original watercolors and pastels. The collection was donated to Tulane University by his son, Nathaniel Cortlandt Curtis, Jr. (…

Spring Break hours

Saturday hours for the Special Collections Reading Room on March 27 will be 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, as usual. However, during the weekdays today through April 1, we will close at 4:45 pm. The Reading Room will be closed April 2 (for the Good Friday holiday) and Saturday, April 3.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Irish Channel architectural survey, 1974-1976.

Manuscripts Collection 505 is a survey of the New Orleans neighborhood known as the Irish Channel, a part of town which is bounded by Philip, Delachaise and Constance Streets, and the Mississippi River. For each of the approximately 3,600 housing units standing in the mid-seventies, there is a 5 x 8 inch printed form with handwritten notes regarding: street, number, original use, present use, style/type, materials, architectural/historical rating, physical condition, number and kind of trees, general comments and negative factors. Each structure is featured in a black and white contact print, many of which include parked cars. Included also are handwritten and photocopied typed sheets, journals of projects, flyers, and photographic negatives, summary statistics for the area, Trinity Episcopal Church survey, and class notes of some of the students who produced the survey as part of an Architecture Seminar in Historic Preservation given by Dr. Bernard Lemann at Tulane University, fall 1…

Digital collection of Comus costume drawings now available

Tulane University’s Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) is pleased to announce its first digital collection available through the LOUIS Digital Library. LOUIS, the Louisiana Library Network, hosts the LOUIS Digital Library, which contains thousands of images of documents, publications, artifacts, art and other materials from libraries, museums, and archives around Louisiana. Our first collection is the 1873 Mistick Krewe of Comus costume drawings. This parade is particularly famous in Mardi Gras history, as it was one of the first major parades steeped in political satire and ridicule. The "Missing Links" referred to the work of Charles Darwin, and the parade not only sent up the theory of evolution, but other topics of the day including Reconstruction.

Tulane's Louisiana Research Collection has a complete set of the Missing Links costume designs. This particular set of designs is part of a much larger Carnival collection. We are planning other online digital collections…

William Craft Brumfield papers

Author, photographer, and Tulane professor William Brumfield’s papers are in the process of being assembled as our Manuscripts Collection 709. The collection got its start with the typescript and galleys, with color and black and white printed photographs, created in preparation for the 1983 publication of Gold in Azure : One Thousand Years of Russian Architecture. Several other items from that era are in the processed collection in our stacks. Over the last few months, Professor Brumfield has begun to contribute more material to the collection, such as the complete set of Kennan Institute annual reports since 1989, as that publication has liberally published his photographs almost exclusively in every issue.

Carol J. Schlueter’s recent article in the New Wave provides a quick insight into the current scholarly and creative interests, activities and publications of William Brumfield. Another New Wave article, Photos: Remembering Russia, appeared June 30, 2011. Online exhibits of his ph…

Celebrations and awards

We have so many things to celebrate in New Orleans! The Saints Super Bowl victory was savored yesterday in the form of an elaborate and phenomenal heroes’ parade, the first of its kind, being called “Lombardi Gras” and “Dat Tuesday.”

We’re happy to note another award—Filmmaker Joe Sanford’s documentary, John Kennedy Toole: the Omega Point, recently won the Rising Star Award for Excellence in Film at the 2010 Canada International Film Festival. See the blog post dated Feb. 9, 2010, in Butterfly in the Typewriter: The Brilliant and Tragic Life of John Kennedy Toole, with further details and accolades. Congratulations to Joe Sanford and his associates in the process of creating this documentary, especially our friends Cory MacLauchlin, and Joel Fletcher, both featured in interviews in the film. We look forward to a local screening before long.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Here's to the big game!

Today at the Special Collections library, we're all decked out in black and gold, and anticipating what promises to be one of the most exciting weekends in New Orleans' history.

This image comes from the reverse side of the 1968 card we featured right after the Saints won the NFC championship. Pictured is Tulane Stadium, where the Saints played prior to construction of the Super Dome. Tulane Stadium was also known as the Sugar Bowl, since it was the home of the Sugar Bowl annual college football game until 1974. It was the site of three Super Bowl games, in 1970, 1972 and 1975. The stadium was built in 1926, and demolished between 1979-1980.

Have a great weekend everybody! Go Saints!

Posted by Eira Tansey.

(Please click the image to enlarge. Image from the Louisiana Research Collection vertical files, Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University Libraries. Image may not be reproduced without permission, unless you are the NFL and need to have words with us. WHO DAT!…

The first Saints home game schedule

This is the third post in our continuing series of Saints ephemera, leading up to the Saints appearance in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

The Saints first season was played at Tulane Stadium (also known as the Sugar Bowl, due to its use for Sugar Bowl games). The team played there until relocating to the Superdome in 1974.

Trumpeter Al Hirt, who was a minority owner of the team, is pictured at the top of the reprinted schedule.

The Saints lost their first regular season game against the Los Angeles Rams, and the season record was 3-11.

We'll be featuring one last piece of ephemera tomorrow, before the big game. If you missed the first two posts, you can find them here and here.

I know most fans will be saving all their Saints ephemera from this historic season - but keep us in mind and get in touch if you have duplicates of tickets, programs, flyers, or other items. We'd love to preserve them in the vertical files.

Posted by Eira Tansey.

(Please click the image to enlarge. Image from the …

New Orleans Saints and Jax Brewery

Continuing our series of blog posts highlighting Saints ephemera, I bring you Sir Saint posing with the Jax Beer logo. Sir Saint is also known as Iron Jaw, Big Chin, and Stanley Saint. The mascot logo has been around since 1967.

Jax Beer was originally brewed in Jacksonville, at the Jax Brewing Company, beginning in 1913. The naming rights to Jax Beer were sold to New Orleans' Jackson Brewing Company in 1956.

The Jackson Brewing Company was formed in 1890. It was the only New Orleans brewery to survive Prohibition. The Jackson Brewing Company's headquarters were across the street from Jackson Square. The company closed in 1974, and the Pearl Brewing Company (San Antonio, Texas) purchased the brand. The San Antonio brewery closed in 2001, after its parent company, Pabst Brewing Company, moved production to a site in Fort Worth.

Jax beer signs can still be seen around Louisiana. Although we do not have a date on this sticker, I suspect it was made sometime between 1967 and 1974.


Who Dat!

It's been an incredible 24 hours in New Orleans. The Saints won the NFC Championship last night, going into overtime to win against the Minnesota Vikings with a final score of 31-28. I made my way home via St Charles last night, and women, men, children, and dogs were all leaning out of their cars screaming, crying, cheering, and howling. There were impromptu second lines, fire works going off, and strangers hugging each other. This is the first time the Saints go to the Super Bowl, and the mood of the city is off the charts.

The Louisiana Research Collection preserves an extensive collection of pamphlets, brochures, flyers, posters, programs and other small printed items about Louisiana in our vertical files. Still recovering from the excitement of last night, this morning I searched through it and dug up some interesting Saints ephemera. I'm not going to show it all off right now, so you'll have to stay tuned for more. But trust me - there's some fun stuff c…

New exhibit open at Jones Hall

The Tulane Special Collections library is pleased to announce a new exhibition in honor of the 300th birthday of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), a giant of English literature and criticism. The exhibit consists of rare first editions of Johnson’s works: for instance, his Dictionary of the English Language (the first for English), Prayers and Meditations, and his variorum edition of Shakespeare’s works. The exhibit also contains a rare first edition of Boswell’s famous Life of Johnson and first editions of other notable eighteenth-century writers, such as Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) and Laurence Sterne (Tristram Shandy). These materials are further illuminated by pages from an early print dictionary in Latin, Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, and medieval manuscript prayerbooks. All items are drawn from Special Collections, Tulane University. The exhibit is co-curated by Professors Dwight Codr and Michael P. Kuczynski, with the assistance of Samantha Bruner, an M…

M. D. Girard papers

The June 15, 1902, issue of the New Orleans French newspaper, L’Abeille, included an article written by Marie Drivon Girard (1814-1913), in which she painfully laments the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pelee which devastated the Island of Martinique in the Lesser Antilles. At the age of eighty-eight, she recalled her childhood home in Sainte-Lucie, and was torn by the sense of loss caused by the news of the destructive event. New Orleanians of today are also compassionately linked to those in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, who are suffering the widespread devastation of this week’s earthquake.

French Quarter resident M. D. Girard became a prominent and admired teacher of the French language to the New Orleans community. She authored Histoire des Etats-Unis suivie de L’Histoire de la Louisiane, published in 1881. A biographical memoir, Madame Girard, was written by Grace King in 1922. Our Manuscripts Collection 638 consists mostly of Madame Girard’s French handwritten correspondence and family paper…