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 Louisiana elections, and a few items relate to presidential campaigning in Louisiana. Subjects covered include Reconstruction-era politicians, polling and balloting practices, the Good Government League and many other topics.
The selection can be viewed online here. Additional digital collections from the Louisiana Research Collection's holdings can be found on LOUIS Digital Library.