Correspondence as research stationery

James Edward Winston (1874-1952) was a history professor and scholarly author, who lived most of his life in New Orleans.  He studied and taught at numerous prestigious American institutions before becoming a professor of history at Newcomb College, where he taught  from 1918 until his retirement in 1939. 

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 24 is made up of Dr. Winston’s personal and professional papers, including handwritten and typed research notes, hand-edited typed drafts of essays, correspondence, maps, financial documents, students’ papers, and newspaper clippings.  His correspondents included academic colleagues and administrators, publishers, booksellers and other retail businesses including a shoe company, and governmental offices he had contacted for information.  The research notes in this collection concern New Orleans religious and economic history—which were among his particular interests.

The unusual characteristic of this collection is that the reverse side of almost every document  bears elaborate research notes handwritten by Dr. Winston.  The collection is arranged in the manner kept, that is, the research notes become the front of each piece of paper.   Dr. Winston was a successful and respected scholar, lived in comfortable uptown New Orleans, and could certainly have purchased whatever note paper he wanted.   But he used the letters he received, their envelopes, receipts, printed pamphlets, covers of student notebooks, anything available, to make his transcriptions of archival or printed documents he read in his research. 

Captions:  top: photograph of Dr. Winston, courtesy of University Archives; below: papers from LaRC Manuscripts Collection 24, James E. Winston papers, 1916-1929, including the front and back of one of several receipts for vases purchased from Newcomb pottery (this one, for a vase designed by Sadie Irvine, selling for $1.21, right before Christmas 1921), an academic appointment sent by Tulane University president Dinwiddie in 1923, and a letter from U. S. Senator Joseph E. Ransdell regarding an informational brochure from the Census Bureau, 1921.   Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers 


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