Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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 Jackson. In addition, we have many papers, diaries and letters both of Confederate soldiers from Louisiana and Union soldiers who served in Louisiana. As the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War approaches, we plan to continue highlighting our Civil War archives, acquisitions, and increasingly, our digital collections.

Posted by Eira Tansey.

(Image from the Stibbs family papers, Manuscripts Collection 246, Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University Libraries. Image may not be reproduced without permission.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

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 publishing upon learning news of the flood. The author's poignantly-dated selections are richly descriptive, and at times graphic and sorrowful. But the bottom line of the narrative is optimistic, especially in light of the continued reconstruction of neighborhoods we have witnessed through summer 2010. From the chapter "Little House On The Bayou", originally written May 2, 2006:

"New Orleans needs us, people smart enough to measure the risk and fool enough to take it. As you wonder where the hell you'll live and how to pay the new cost of living in New Orleans, as you look at your children and wonder if they'll be safe and find good schools, look in the mirror and remind yourself: it will work out because we will make it so. The place you stand today was made by fools like us. Now it's our turn."

Mr. Folse is looked up to in the New Orleans creative community, and is active in authoring several blogs, including: Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans, Poems Before Breakfast, and the black flood, a creative response to disaster. He has also been involved with the production of the new HBO series, Treme.

Posted by Susanna Powers