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. (1917-1997).
Both the father and the son were involved, at different times, in the design of the original Howard-Tilton Memorial Library building, now known as Joseph Merrick Jones Hall, the current home of Special Collections. The Curtis papers may be of interest to researchers in architecture, design, art, history, urban studies, education, and New Orleans and regional studies.

Captions: Two New Orleans photographs in Manuscripts Collection 5, by N. C. Curtis, Sr., with his handwritten captions: 1. “A characteristically elegant window & balcony treatment of wrought iron. Small ornaments were moulded in lead.” 2. “Interesting details freely composed. From the Cabildo.” Please request permission for reproduction of these images.
The inscription in the entryway of Jones Hall describes the relationships between designers and builders: "This building was originally designed by Moise Goldstein and Associates, Architects, in 1939. Nathaniel Curtis, Sr., was the principal designer. It was named in honor of Joseph Merrick Jones in 1968, housing the School of Law until 1994. Jones Hall was renovated for library and other academic uses in 1996 by Moses Engineers. Nathaniel Curtis, Jr., was the principal designer. "
Posted by Susanna Powers


  1. I have a map of New Orleans from Mr. Curtis copyrighted 1930 that a student of his had him sign hanging on my wall. If anyone is is interested in purchasing the signed map e-mail me at

  2. Correspondence in this case often represents the biggest interest in such cases! Original building may give us even more clues in this investigation!


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