Monday, April 25, 2011

SAA workshop at Tulane on June 20th

Tulane University is pleased to host the Society of American Archivists workshop, “Real World Reference: Moving Beyond Theory,” June 20 in Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.

We especially wanted to host this particular workshop because it will focus on practical, day-to-day aspects of providing archival reference, managing an archival reading room, overseeing reading room security, and advocating for better user services. Those are all basic archival practices we each have to perform every single day. This workshop will therefore offer techniques, ideas, and recommendations that should directly benefit our work in a useful, practical manner.

The workshop will be taught by Kathy Marquis, Head of Public Services at the Albany County Public Library in Laramie, Wyoming. She was previously the Head of Reference and Access Services at the Bentley Historical Library, a reference archivist at the Minnesota Historical Society, and Head of Reference at MIT’s Institute Archives and Special Collections.

You can find out more about the workshop, under education and events, in the Society of American Archivists web site. The class will be designed for beginning to intermediate archivists, as well as librarians and support staff who are responsible for special collections reference work. Seating will be limited, and the early-bird registration deadline (SAA members $185) will be May 20, 2011, so please consider registering as soon as possible.



Posted by Susanna Powers

Thursday, April 21, 2011

John V. Veazie papers, 1914-1933

Collections of personal papers of all eras may be keenly sentimental. The items which have been preserved by individuals and their descendants provide hints to the values, social styles and sensibilities of their time.

John Valentine Veazie, nicknamed Johnny Veazie, was a baseball player from New Orleans, who played on various minor league teams across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia during the early twentieth century. The keepsakes in the John V. Veazie papers (Manuscripts Collection 113) are revealing not only of the personal and professional life of one man, but also describe the leisure and entertainment activities of the day, such as dances, movies, vaudeville and horse races and other sporting events. Included are numerous letters concerning Veazie’s baseball career, and many others from family, friends, and sweethearts, while he was on the road. Included are holiday greeting cards, a photograph, telegrams, and printed portraits.

To learn more about social stationery and the prevalent communication styles of the early twentieth century South, see our earlier post in this blog, Calling, advertising, and greeting cards, 1906-1920.





Caption: greeting card from the John Veazie papers (Manuscripts Collection 113), mailed from Meridian, Mississippi, April 15, 1922, to New Orleanian John Veazie, a minor league baseball player, when he was playing ball for the Vicksburg Baseball Association.

Posted by Susanna Powers

Friday, April 15, 2011

Discoveries in Jones Hall-- a guest contribution.


Judah Benjamin’s Paris accident

Judah P. Benjamin, the former Confederate Secretary of State, fell from a moving tramcar in Paris in May, 1880. While it is known that his injuries were severe, the extent of these injuries and their immediate impact upon Benjamin are made clear in a letter of Benjamin’s to Jefferson Davis. The letter, dated December 16, 1880, is within the Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University. Responding to the former President’s request for information about Civil War interviews with General Johnston, Benjamin apologised for the lateness of his response. The delay, he explained, was caused by his severe accident which caused ‘pains so acute that for months I could not get an hour’s sleep without the aid of powerful narcotics’. It had been, he wrote, a great effort to undertake only a part of his legal work in England, an effort undertaken only to prevent the entire break down of his professional connection.


written by
Catharine MacMillan
Reader in Legal History
Queen Mary, University of London

Document location: The Rosemonde E. and Emile Kuntz Collection, Manuscripts Collection 600, III. National Period, 1880/12/16, personal letter from Judah P. Benjamin to Jefferson Davis.

Illustration caption: Judah P. Benjamin in happier days (1876), from the Louisiana Research Collection portrait file.



Thanks to Catharine MacMillan! We have enjoyed having you visit LaRC and the Special Collections Reading Room.



Posted by Susanna Powers



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Civil War Sesquicentennial


Today marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, when Confederate forces began bombardment of Fort Sumter, South Carolina. What ensued was a five year long war that forever changed American history, and shaped every facet of life as we know it today, from music, to baseball, to medicine, civil rights, women's rights, international relations and military strategy.

The Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) contains many major Civil War archival and print holdings. Some of our American Civil War archival holdings include the papers of Jefferson Davis, the Gettysburg letters of Robert E. Lee, the papers of Albert Sidney Johnston, a strong set of Stonewall Jackson's papers, and numerous collections of papers, photographs, memoirs and diaries from individual soldiers. Recently, LaRC has made a special effort to acquire materials documenting the experience of Union soldiers serving in the Gulf region. These letters and diaries provide eyewitness accounts of what life in Louisiana was like during the war, the soldiers' own feelings regarding slavery and war, and descriptions of numerous battles and skirmishes.

Some of our recent Civil War archival acquisitions include the following collections (click on the link for the finding aid):

Manuscripts Collection 993

This collection consists primarily of Antebellum and Civil War letters collected by donor Al Lippman. The letters were primarily written by Union soldiers in the south to their families in the north. The letters describe news of skirmishes and fighting, daily camp life, illness and disease, slavery and opinions and observations about their experiences. Many of the letters were written by soldiers stationed in Louisiana. The collection also contains 41 Civil War postal covers.

The postal covers in this collection have been digitized, and can be viewed here.


Manuscripts Collection M-1164

Civil War diary of Henry C. Caldwell, Company E, 7th Infantry, Louisiana. Entries concern details of weather, skirmishes and camp life.

Manuscripts Collection M-1156

The diary of Simon M. Bott, private in the 120 infantry regiment of Ohio (E Company). Bott was a Union soldier whose regiment was in Louisiana from 1863-1865. Bott mustered out of the army while in New Orleans on June 5, 1865.

Interesting entries include: a brief mention of an injured friend in a lone entry on April 4th 1864, dated accounts of marching travel between Alexandria and Morganza (May 12th to the 21st), the mentioned burial of C. Bandanston on Aug 11th 1864, and Bott’s meticulously dated and timed journeys from Morganza to New Orleans then from New Orleans to his home in Wayne County Ohio (throughout that September).

Lansing Porter family papers
Manuscripts Collection 1065

Lansing Porter, a captain in the 75th New York Infantry, frequently corresponded with his wife and children during the war. The 75th New York had assignments at Fort Pickens and Pensacola early in the war, and was later involved in the Battle of Port Hudson. This collection contains over 100 letters written from the family members to one another. We very recently acquired this collection, and it is still being processed.

These represent just a few of our Civil War collections. My colleague Susanna Powers recently blogged about some additional collections featuring Civil War letters in last week's blog post.

The newest title concerning New Orleans' role during the Civil War is Justin Nystrom's New Orleans after the Civil War: race, politics and a new birth of freedom. LaRC recently acquired a copy of this book, which is available to researchers in our reading room.

Posted by Eira Tansey.

(Image of Fort Sumter Artillery Stereograph, Louisiana Historical Association Collection, Manuscripts Collection 55, Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University Libraries. Image may not be reproduced without permission.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

The LaRC e-newsletter

The Spring 2011 issue of the Louisiana Research Collection e-newsletter has been distributed and is also available here, through our website, along with the earlier issues. Among several other topics, the new LaRC facebook page is announced.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Letters to and from Louisiana


Soldiers’ letters contain unintentional, first-hand accounts of military history, and they have great power and authenticity even when the authors are not in any way famous. They may range in style from the conversational to the formal, and may be clearly handwritten or composed in a nearly illegible, ornate fashion. Here are a few of the archival collections among LaRC’s holdings which contain original letters of the Civil War era.


• USA: Alfred A. Parmenter papers, 1861-1862, 1962-1963. Manuscripts Collection 690. This collection consists of the Civil War correspondence of Union soldier, Alfred A. Parmenter. Twentieth-century typed transcriptions accompany most of the letters. Also included are biographical research notes, printed material, and copies of official certificates produced in the 1960s, concerning Parmenter and his regiment. Alfred A. Parmenter (1836-1880) was a musician in the 26th Regiment, Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry. His parents were Horace and Betsey Parmenter of Lowell, Mass. The Union regiment participated in General Butler's expedition on the Gulf Coast and against New Orleans. Parmenter was stationed in New Orleans in the summer of 1862. He married Letitia M. Fillmore of Lowell, who was born in Nova Scotia, in July 1863. His occupation is listed on different forms as teacher, machinist, and stitcher. Alfred A. Parmenter died in Lynn, Mass., on June 22, 1880, of apoplexy.


• CSA: Herron family papers, 1854-1903. Manuscripts Collection 476. This collection consists of Herron family correspondence, notes, clippings, invitations, the text of a speech, a printed postal receipt, a telegraph, post cards and poems. Included are letters written from military camps in Louisiana and Virginia by Nicholas Herron, a soldier in the Confederate Army, to his cousin Anne McCarthy in New Orleans, La. Also included are letters among other Herron family members, originating in Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, New York, Texas and Louisiana. Nicholas Herron wrote from Camp Moore, Camp Bienville, Camp Beauregard, and Camp Carondelet, describing camp life with the Confederate Army during 1861-1862.


• USA: Ambert O. Remington papers, 1861-1863. Manuscripts Collection 89. This collection primarily consists of over fifty handwritten wartime letters, both those written by Union soldier Ambert Remington, as well as those he received from home. Also included is his certificate of promotion to corporal in Feb. 1863. Some of his correspondence is on stationery with color-printed patriotic images and sayings. Stamped, postmarked envelopes are also included in the collection. The letters from Ambert Remington to his parents are unusually legible and informal for the era. Ambert O. Remington (1842-1863) came from a farming family near Auburn, New York. He enlisted with the Union Army on Sept. 21, 1861, and was placed in the New York 75th Infantry Company (also called the 75th Regiment of New York Volunteers). His career in the military took him to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island near Pensacola, Fla., and to New Orleans, La. Remington suffered a severe wound to his right arm during a skirmish near Port Hudson in June 1863. The resulting amputation of his arm led to his death. He is buried in Weedsport, N.Y.


• CSA: John M. Galbraith papers, 1835-1955. Manuscripts Collection 449. This collection contains the Civil War diary and correspondence of Lt. John M. Galbraith of Louisiana. Also included are official Confederate States documents, legal papers, poems, songs, essays, family papers and newspaper clippings through 1955. Second Lieutenant John M. Galbraith, of the First Louisiana Battalion Washington Artillery of the Army of the Confederate States, was wounded at the Battle of Drewry's Bluff, Va., on May 16, 1864, and died on Sept. 19, 1864. His handwritten, bound daily diary was written beginning Aug. 1863, through Apr. 1864.


April 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War. Please see the following for much more information:


A selection of other noteworthy archival collections within the Louisiana Research Collection relating to the Civil War.


History of New Orleans research guide, by Lonya Humphrey, social sciences bibliographer and reference librarian in Howard-Tilton Memorial Library’s Center for Library User Education. There is a section which lists online research tools concerning the Civil War.


For material in all formats on the subject, search the library catalog, using subject keyword or any of the other searches.


For digital images, see the LOUISiana Digital Library. Tulane is an active contributor; a recent collection of interest is the Alfred S. Lippman Collection of Civil War postal covers. To see those envelopes, please visit the Special Collections Reading Room, Jones Hall, Room 202.



Illustration caption: Top segment of one of the letters written by Alfred Parmenter while stationed in New Orleans in 1862, written on printed souvenir stationery, featuring a rather sedate Jackson Square. May not be reproduced without permission.


Posted by Susanna Powers