Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Amelia Alexander

Amelia L. Alexander (d. 1959), also called Mrs. Sam Alexander, worked as a volunteer coordinator providing support to American soldiers during and after World War II.  Her primary affiliation was the National Jewish Welfare Board, and she also worked on behalf of the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and particularly the United Service Organizations (USO).  Mrs. Alexander chaired the Religious Services Committee of the USO Club at Camp Plauche in the local area.  She and her husband, Sam Alexander, lived on Milan St., and later on Louis XIV St.

LaRC Manuscripts Collection 1087 holds the personal papers of Amelia Alexander, spanning the years 1939-1960.  (A posthumous paper documents the planting of a tree in Israel as a memorial in her honor.)   She collected her keepsakes and records relating to homeland work during World War II.  Included here are handwritten and typed correspondence, post cards, Christmas and Hanukah greeting cards, v-mails (a curious wartime technology), photographs and negatives, certificates, invitations and other items of social ephemera, a USO pin, reports, programs, bulletins, conference papers, newspaper clippings including several featuring her work in the New Orleans community, and other printed items.  She kept letters from her own sons as well as from other soldiers on active duty.

Several 8x10 glossy photographs in this collection were made by Leon Trice Picture Service.

Thanks once again to Samantha Bruner, for discovering and processing this collection for the benefit of researchers in American homeland war work, Jewish community service, and women's studies.

Captions: New Orleans Item front page, Tuesday, August 14, 1945, Extra; clipping describing the volunteer coordination and other charitable work of Amelia Alexander, a Leon Trice photograph depicting an event organized by Amelia Alexander (holding platter of spaghetti and looking up at the camera.)    All from Collection 1087, Box 1.    Images of items held in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission. 

Posted by Susanna Powers 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Louisiana irises and wild plants

LaRC Manuscript Collection 1082 is a combination of organizational records and personal papers.

The Louisiana Iris Society was established in 1941; in 1948, its name was changed to the Society for Louisiana Irises, which continues into the twenty-first century. An early name variation was the Mary Swords DeBaillon Louisiana Iris Society.   Biologist and nature photographer Percy Viosca, Jr.  (1892-1961) lived in New Orleans and ran plant nursery businesses named Southern Biological Supply Co., Delta Iris Plantation, and Delta Iris Farms.  He was a member of the Louisiana Iris Society, but why his personal, professional, and business papers were included in this archival collection of the organization is somewhat mysterious.

The collection includes handwritten and typed correspondence, post cards, financial documents, items of social ephemera, photographs and negatives ascribed to Percy Viosca, text of radio interviews, drafts and research notes, school papers, poems, calendar notes listing plants observed by Percy Viosca in specific locations such as Gentilly Ridge, field notes, garden plans, minutes, membership records, administrative records, scientific essays, bulletins, magazine and newspaper clippings and other printed items. Correspondents include Mrs. Edgar B. Stern, Tulane University professor Joseph Ewan, the American Iris Society, publishers, plant buyers including Bellingrath Gardens, and landscape architect Ellen Shipman.  A clipped newspaper article reports that the Louisiana Iris Society dedicated the "Pearl Rivers Rainbow Memorial" in New Orleans City Park, memorializing the Louisiana poet also known as Eliza Nicholson.

July 28, 1942
Gentilly Ridge
False Dandelion
Wild Petunia?
Wild Hollyhock
Marsh Mallow
Sagittaria lanafolia (a few left)
Trumpet flower
Arrowhead morning glory
pink smart weed

The Louisiana Digital Library includes the LSU collection, Louisiana Ecology and Conservation, The Percy Viosca Jr. Collection displaying earlier Louisiana nature photographs of Percy Viosca Jr.

Illustration captions:  top, Manuscripts Collection 1082, box 1, folder 27, photographic prints and negatives of irises, ascribed to Percy Viosca; bottom, 1082, box 2, folder 6, a list of wild plants seen on Gentilly Ridge, July 28, 1942.  Images of items in the Louisiana Research Collection may not be re-published without permission.

Posted by Susanna Powers; collection discovered and processed by Samantha Bruner.