Dr. Butler's treasured papers

Pierce Butler (1873-1955) was an American scholar, teacher, college administrator, and author, most closely associated with Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans, where he served as Dean, and taught English literature and history. Among his scholarly publications was a biography of Judah P. Benjamin. Multiple ancestors and his son were also named Pierce Butler; one of them, Maj. Pierce Butler (1744-1822), born in Ireland, fought in the Revolutionary War and was a plantation owner with holdings in Georgia and South Carolina. Professor Butler (1873-1955) was born in New Orleans, and was buried in New Orleans. He also lived for a time at Laurel Hill in Adams County, Miss., a plantation home near Natchez that was destroyed by fire in 1967. His wife was Cora Waldo Butler (1877-1942). In 1954, Dr. Butler published a memoir, Laurel Hill and later, the record of a teacher, which is included in this collection. A dormitory on the Tulane campus is named in Dr. Butler's honor.

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 56, Pierce Butler papers, consists of personal, professional, family, and collected papers of professor Pierce Butler (1873-1955).  This collection includes handwritten and typed correspondence, post cards, telegrams, advertisements, numerous family photographs and glass negatives, a framed photograph with an embroidered mat, tiles with printed portrait images, financial records, legal documents, ledgers, scrapbooks, diaries, invitations and other items of social ephemera, photographs of hand-drawn maps, landscape drawings, bibliographies, genealogical and literary research notes, lecture notes and class assignments, manuscripts of scholarly writings, plantation records such as day books and cotton crop documents, printed books owned or written by Dr. Butler, sheet music, newspaper clippings and other printed items. Research notes and drafts include items on nineteenth-century politician and lawyer Judah Benjamin. Some of the items in the collection are fragile or damaged by fire.

This collection is somewhat unique in that it contains such a wide variety of types of items relating to a prominent teacher and author from New Orleans, and merges family papers with personal and collected items of scholarly, social, and genealogical interest.

Caption:  front and back of a small mounted photograph of Cora Waldo (later Butler) in the 1890s, with an unidentified companion, from LaRC Manuscripts Collection 56, Box 4, Folder 10.  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers 


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