Friday, April 30, 2010

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-like caricatures, 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 paintings. This year's official Jazz & Heritage Congo poster is named "Say Uncle" and features Uncle Lionel, of the Treme Brass Band. To the artist's right is "Rebirth", the official Congo poster for 2007.
Posted by Susanna Powers

(later note from Susanna Powers.) Every Jazz Fest, I try to attend the Thursday as an expensive but fulfilling personal tradition.  Posts from those annual Jazz Fest Thursdays are found on my photo blog, angels and people, life in New Orleans, on the following days:
April 30, 2010
May 5, 2011
May 3, 2012
May 2, 2013

Saturday, April 24, 2010

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 treatment is secular in nature. The only striking difference is physical, as these greetings are in an unfolded post-card format. Evidently, at some point in the collection’s life, Ms. Shoughro’s family members added some of their own artwork to the cards. Having cataloged this collection yesterday, I checked to see if my use of the word “glitter” was unique in WorldCat, but in fact, a keyword search shows that there are 14 bibliographic records there for archival material which use that word, and several of those use that term when literally describing the contents of their archival containers.

Advertising cards may be of scholarly interest to those researching the historical aspects of American lifestyles, home economics, graphic arts, business and commerce of the era. These were perhaps both mailed and distributed at stores. It is fortunate and surprising that these were kept within a collection of social keepsakes. Advertisers may have been hoping for this positive subliminal association.

Captions: Inventive calling card of Cornelia Worden, of one of the families included in this collection; Easter card, copyright 1906, by the Rotograph Co., N.Y., mailed April 15, 1908 to Mrs. John Sherman of Saunderstown, R.I. “This card is a REAL PHOTOGRAPH on bromide paper.”; advertisement card for Willimantic Thread, bearing on the verso, “America ahead once more!” (awards won at the New Orleans World’s Exposition years before were still being boasted about); and finally, advertisement for Mrs. Dinsmore’s Cough & Croup Balsam, which promises “Cures a Cough in One Day, and the Croup in One Minute”, showing a happy baby.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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