Louisiana Archives and Manuscripts Association

Fall 1997


Association News
Electronic Initiatives
News From LAMA Institutions
Other News

Hill Memorial Library, 1902
Andrew Lytle Photographs, LSU Libraries Special Collections

Association News

Message From the Editor:

The emerging prospects for resource and information sharing among Louisiana's archives and manuscripts repositories are exciting. New technology permits us to provide users with a more comprehensible context for our holdings. In this electronic realm, distributing information to large groups enhances our ability to collect, preserve and make available items of historical and cultural value. Communication is vital to our success. Future issues of this newsletter will provide much information regarding electronic initiatives and resource sharing among repositories in Louisiana, as well as important updates on new acquisitions, personal and institutional accomplishments, and other news of general interest. Thanks are due to Irene Wainwright for her assistance, and to all those who responded to my request for updates for this newsletter. Those items that were no longer current were not included in this issue, but all other submissions were published.

--Chuck Thomas

Electronic Initiatives

LAMA Website Update

The recent revamp of the LAMA website includes a simplified address (home.gnofn.org/~nopl/lama/lama.htm), and a new visual layout. It still contains vital information such as the organizational mission, bylaws, current officers and board, membership information, links to Louisiana manuscripts repositories, as well as information and contents of the Newsletter.

New additions include links to archival organizations outside Louisiana, a hyperlink to the "Archivist's Daybook" maintained by Tulane's Leon Miller, and information about the upcoming Fall LAMA meeting in Thibodaux. Comments, suggestions and additions should be sent to Irene Wainwright at iwainwri@gnofn.org, or Louisiana Division, New Orleans Public Library, 219 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112-2044.

Louisiana State Museum

A Medley of Cultures: Louisiana History at the Cabildo, the newest publication from the State Museum and the Louisiana Museum Foundation, is available in printed book form, or also online at the website. (www.crt.state.la.us/crt/museum/lsmnet3.htm)

This 300-page publication is a companion to the permanent Louisiana history exhibition at the Cabildo, and contains over fifty essays. Topics include recreation and leisure, disease and death, ethnicity and race, education, the Battle of New Orleans, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Additional publications available both in print and online are Archaeology at the Cabildo and Elegance After Dark: Evening Wear in Louisiana, 1896-1996. For more information, call the Louisiana State Museum at 504-568-6968 or toll free at 800-568-6968.

Louisiana State University

The LSU Libraries Special Collections website has grown significantly in recent months, including a new visual layout and more high-quality content. In addition to more than one hundred electronic inventories, users may also read or download subject guides to collections related to Baton Rouge history, performing arts collections, French and Spanish language materials, or collections related to the Long Family. LSU Special Collections has also made its first foray into digitized texts, by making available an entire volume of B. F. French's Historical Collections of Louisiana and Florida, Including Transcriptions of Original Materials Relating to Their Discovery and Settlement, With Numerous Historical and Biographical Notes via the website. These materials, as well as electronic exhibitions and other information, may be found at the URL www.lib.lsu.edu/special.

New Orleans Public Library

The NUTRIAS website continues to grow. Recent additions include finding aids and inventories for the papers of mayors Andrew McShane (1920-1925) and Robert S. Maestri (1936-1945); an Index to Employers' Liability Agreements Filed in Civil District Court 1915-1955; an index and finding aid to Criminal Cases Tried by the Orleans County Court (1805-1807) and City Court (1807-1813); a transcription of the WPA translations of the Inventory of Letters, Petitions and Decrees of the New Orleans Cabildo, the New Orleans Conseil Municipal and the New Orleans Conseil de Ville, 1770-1835; and an index to the Louisiana Division's "Rare Vertical File," a collection of pre-1930 ephemera. All these additions may be accessed from the NUTRIAS link to "Archives and Special Collections" (home.gnofn.org/~nopl/spec/speclist.htm)

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Photograph by Morgan Whitney
Louisiana State Museum

Louisiana State Museum

Upcoming exhibits in the State Museum include "The Photographs of Morgan Whitney," on display November 14, 1997 - January 25, 1998. Whitney's nostalgic turn-of-the-century images are an important visual record of individuals, buildings and environments in a rarely documented era.

A second exhibit is entitled, "Louisiana Highway 1: Images by Alaine LaBauve and Rodney P. Marionneaux," on display November 14, 1997 - May 24, 1998. Sixty-five images document the artists' journey from Shreveport to Grand Isle, and record the visually arresting and sometimes quirky ways individuals along the highways interact with their environment.

Current exhibitions include "Louisiana Writers: A Sense of Place," celebrating the rich literary heritage of Louisiana, curated by Judy McMullen. October 15, 1997 - January 15, 1998 and "Louisiana Traditions: Images of Folklife," a selection of photographs from Folklife in Louisiana Photography: Images of Tradition, by Frank De Caro (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1990). October 15, 1997 - January 15, 1998. Both displays may be viewed in Hill Memorial Library.

McNeese State University

Exhibits from Archives collections are available on three floors of the Frazar Memorial Library. These displays, researched and set up by graduate assistant Hans Rasmussen, include an exhibit commemorating the eightieth anniversary of the Gerstner Field aviation training field near Lake Charles, postcards depicting scenes from south Louisiana from 1910-1950, and photographs and other materials from Muller's Department Store, 1882-1985. In another upcoming exhibit, also research by Rasmussen, archival materials will examine the impact of the Vietnam War upon McNeese students.

The McNeese Archives staff was also asked to advise on an exhibit documenting the history of Central School in Lake Charles. Central School was built in 1889 as the city's first public school. The present school building was constructed in 1913, served as a school until 1976, and continued to house administrative offices until deterioration forced its closure in 1992. The renovated Central School will open in October as an arts and humanities center for the city, with events and exhibits scheduled.

New Orleans Public Library

The current exhibit at NOPL is entitled, "Crescent City Memory." The display is a local version by the Louisiana Division to replicate the Library of Congress' "American Memory" project. Employing materials from the New Orleans City Archives, the Louisiana Manuscripts Collections, the Louisiana Postcard Collection, the Louisiana Photograph Collection, vertical file materials, and the Louisiana Print Collection, this exhibit places past people, places and events within a historical context. This exhibit will remain on view on the third floor through the end of 1997, and will soon be available in its entirety on the NUTRIAS website at home.gnofn.org/~nopl/exhibits/exhibits.htm.

Nicholls State University

"Wooden Boats on the Bayou" is the Fall exhibit, now on view in the Ellender Room of the Archives at Nicholls State University. The exhibit includes original drawings of local boats by artist John R. Cornes. Historic photographs, wooden boat models, and boat building tools are also featured.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

An exhibit on the life of naturalist Caroline Dormon will be on display through December 19, 1997 in the Cammie G. Henry Research Center of Watson Library at Northwestern State University. The display, "The Life of a Lady Forester: An Exhibit of the Caroline Dormon Collection," gives insight into Dormon's activities as a teacher, artist, public speaker, and writer. She was an advocate of the establishment of the Kisatchie National Forest. The Dormon Collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, sketches, paintings and photographs. Dormon was the first woman employed by the U.S. Forestry Department in 1921. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her as the only female member of the DeSoto Commission. The Research Center is open Monday-Friday, 8 AM until 5 PM, and on Sundays from 2 PM until 6 PM. For more information, please contact Pati Threatt, 318-357-4585.

Tulane University

Tulane University Special Collections has three new exhibitions, including a display on Lafcadio Hearn on the fourth floor of Howard-Tilton Library, an exhibit on the first floor of Jones Hall announcing the move of Special Collections to Jones Hall this winter, and a large display on the second floor of Jones Hall celebrating the 150th anniversary of Tulane College. It inaugurates the new Special Collections gallery and is drawn from the extensive holdings of the Tulane University Archives. Robert Sherer and Ann Case created the exhibit.

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News from LAMA Institutions

Amistad Research Center

Recent acquisitions include the New Orleans Old Timers Baseball Club Collection, which was founded in 1959 to honor Negro baseball players; the James E. Conyers, Jr. Papers, documenting his work in African-American history and sociology; the Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Papers, including written and video materials related to her dramatic performance about the Amistad Incident; new papers of the Chicago Chapter Friend of Amistad Research Center; and the William E. Malbrey donation of a replica of the La Amistad schooner on which Africans revolted, equipped with masts, sails and lighting.

McNeese State University Archives and Special Collections

The archival collections at McNeese are now all fully cataloged in MARC format and are accessible through the LOUIS network. The Archives Department and the Cataloging Department worked jointly to provide full access through subject analysis, personal names and corporate body headings.

In conjunction with the Southwest Louisiana Historical Association, the Archives Department at McNeese has produced a calendar for 1998, including historic photos each month and highlights of southwest Louisiana history each day.

The McNeese State University ROTC Program, begun when the university was known as John McNeese Junior College, has been discontinued by an act of Congress. The Cowboy Battalion began with 73 cadets in 1942, and became an official ROTC program in 1951. The officers recently held a ceremony in which the flag was taken down for the last time. Most of the items belonging to the Army have been removed and returned. Other items specifically relating to McNeese were transferred to the Archives Department, including photographs, scrapbooks, plaques, trophies, and other items documenting the origins and development of the McNeese ROTC unit.

Another interesting acquisition is the Roger A. White Collection, which contains an account of the role played by amateur radio operators during the Hurricane Audrey tragedy in 1957. White, along with fifty-one other radio operators, were for a time the only source of communication open to the coast. Audrey was responsible for over five hundred deaths, primarily in Cameron Parish. A detailed scrapbook chronicling the event, along with correspondence, certificates and citations awarded the operators, and other items make up the collection.

New Orleans Public Library, Louisiana Division and City Archives

The City Archives has received fifty sets of blueprints from the Historic Districts and Landmarks Commission, several hundred sets of blueprints from the Department of Safety and Permits, and five cubic feet of records from the City Council Fiscal Office.

Colin Hamer spoke on September 20 to the West Bank Genealogical Society about recent additions to the Louisiana Division's collections, and about available resources in the City Archives and Orleans Parish court records. He also attended meetings of the Louisiana Advisory Council for the State Documents Depository Program on July 10 and September 12.

Wayne Everard recently attended the Society of American Archivists' annual meeting. At the conference, he chaired the Local Government Records Round Table, and was installed as incoming chair of the Government Records Section. Everard's article "Resources for Researchers: NOPL's Louisiana Division," appeared in the August 1997 issue of Preservation in Print.

Greg Osborn has joined the staff of the Louisiana Division.

Nicholls State University Special Collections

Carol Mathias recently attended a meeting of the Society of Southwest Archivists' Local Arrangements Committee, for the Spring conference in Lafayette. Additionally, she was elected to a three year term on the Otis Hebert Scholarship Committee for the SSA, and replaced Brady Banta as Louisiana's key contact representative for the Society of American Archivists. Mathias also presented a paper recently at the Twenty-First Annual History and Genealogy Seminar in Thibodaux, entitled, "Preserving Your Family Records."

Northwestern State University, Cammie G. Henry Research Center

In June, the CGHRC acquired the Lucille Carnahan Collection. It includes clippings and materials on many aspects of Natchitoches arts and culture, accompanied by many of Ms. Carnahan's extensive notes and comments. Lucille Carnahan enjoyed a long career at NSU as a reference librarian, and she is a well-known authority on Natchitoches and Cloutierville history.

The CGHRC recently reorganized the Louisiana Room to better serve patrons. Weeding out-of-date and redundant materials, rearranging shelving, and moving most Louisiana Collection materials from a closed stacks will encourage more browsing, and will provide a warmer atmosphere. Additionally, the digital imaging lab was moved to a location that offers greater access and connectivity for patrons.

Southeastern Louisiana University, Center for Regional Studies

Dr. Samuel C. Hyde, Jr., Professor of History and author of Pistols and Politics: The Dilemma of Democracy In Louisiana's Florida Parishes 1810-1899, has been appointed Director of the Center for Regional Studies. Graduate Assistant Charles Elliott has bee named Acting Associate Director. As an affiliate of SLU's Department of History and Government, and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center sponsors the Deep Delta Civil War Symposium, the Plain Folk of the South Symposium, the Gulf Coast History and Humanities Conference, and the James H. Morrison Lecture on Politics and Government. The Center is being revitalized to preserve and promote the history and cultures of the Florida Parishes and southwestern Mississippi through scholarly research, lectures and publishing. Plans are underway to reconvene the Southeast Louisiana Historical Association, and to begin publishing the Gulf Coast Historical Review in the Spring of 1998.

Graduate Assistant John Hanchey recently completed a guide to the Center's Civil War collections and Keith Finley is compiling a reference guide to holdings on various ethnic groups.

Recent acquisitions include the Daunton Gibbs Collection of Washington Parish history and genealogy, a roster of the 14th Mississippi Cavalry and associated Civil War newspapers, a cassette program entitled, "South to Louisiana: A Cajun and Zydeco Music Show," and the Carter Plantation Collection, which documents primarily Livingston Parish from the 1830's to the present

Further information on the Center and its collections is available from: Center for Regional Studies/Archives and Special Collections, Southeastern Louisiana State University, SLU 730, Hammond, LA 70402.

State Library of Louisiana

The Louisiana Section of the State Library of Louisiana was given 252 reels of microfilm by the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court, Doug Wellborn. The microfilm covers the years 1814 to 1900 and includes East Baton Rouge Parish criminal records, judicial record books, probate record and minute books, tax assessment rolls, and miscellaneous civil records. Several of the reels are indexes. In the 1970's the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court's Office rescued the old records that were found in piles on the floor of an abandoned warehouse in downtown Baton Rouge. Since then, the Clerk's Office has been restoring and stabilizing the materials. The books and papers were microfilmed under a grant from the National Historical Public Records Commission. The records represent a significant contribution to the social and anthropological history of Baton Rouge.

Tulane University

Archives and Special Collections Kevin Fontenot of the Manuscripts Department presented "The Civil War in Louisiana" to the Jefferson Genealogical Society September 11. He also recently attended as an alternatespeaker a conference on Jimmie Rogers at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Bruce Raeburn, Curator of the Hogan Jazz Archives, has been very busy with publications and presentations this year, including articles in the May 1997 Jazz Archivist, the Spring 1997 Louisiana Cultural Vistas, and the February 18 Gambit. Raeburn also presented the paper "Ethnic Diversity and the New Orleans Jazz Heritage" at the annual meeting of the Music Library Association last January, served on panels at the recent Oral History Association meeting, the Sidney Bechet Centennial Conference, and the Tennessee Williams Festival. Further activities included moderating a panel at eh Cutting Edge Music Conference and presenting a workshop at the Louisiana Institute for Education in the Arts.

The Hogan Jazz Archives experienced an unusual amount of activity this past August, when the USA Network filmed scenes in the Archives for the television series, "The Big Easy." The crew filmed office scenes in the actual staff offices. For scenes in the archives storage areas, the producers are recreating these areas on a sound stage in Hollywood. USA will probably broadcast the episode this winter. On the day of filming, USA announced it was canceling the series.

Last May, Robert Sherer and Leon Miller attended the annual meeting of the Society of Southwest Archivists in Galveston, Texas. Miller presented the paper "Archival Values in Web Site Design," and is scheduled to present "Library Web Sites as Public Relations Tools" at the upcoming Winter meeting of the American Library Association.

Tulane was represented at the August annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists in Chicago by Brenda Square of the Amistad Research Center and Bill Meneray, Robert Sherer, and Leon Miller of Tulane Special Collections. Sherer, the University Archivist, presented a draft to SAA's College and University Archives Section of new college and university archives guidelines. He also attended a meeting of the SAA Publications Board, of which he is a member, and accepted an appointment to the College and University Archives Section steering committee. Miller, Tulane's Manuscripts Librarian, attended a board meeting of the Academy of Certified Archivists, attended meetings of the SAA Nominations Committee, and presented the workshop, "Cyberspace for Archivists."

Xavier University Archives and Special Collections

Noteworthy University Archives acquisitions include forty-two linear feet of photographic proof sheets from Xavier's Public Affairs and Communications office, fourteen feet of videocassettes from the Drexel Center for Continuing Education, and nearly eleven linear feet of records from the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Special Collections also acquired several significant collections recently, including Records of the Ninth Ward Citizens Voter's League, Records of the University of New Orleans Black Caucus, an additional group of materials from Your Metropolitan Business Civic Club, and several important accessions relating to black writers, composers and artists.

Associate Archivist Irwin Lachoff joined the staff early this year. In addition to his formal duties, Lachoff worked with the Greater New Orleans Archivists to prepare a guide to Jewish-related holdings in New Orleans. In July, he also joined Cathy Kahn of Touro Infirmary and Dr. Wilbur Meneray of Tulane University Special Collections to conduct an archives workshop for Congregation Chevra Thilim of New Orleans.

Research Archivist Eric Joseph also joined the Xavier staff earlier this year. He previously worked in the New Orleans Public Library's Louisiana Division for five years. Joseph represented Xavier Archives on a panel of the Father's Day program in New Orleans memorializing Beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

Lester Sullivan, University Archivist and Assistant Librarian for Special Collections, has been recertified by the Academy of Certified Archivists. Sullivan attended the first Descriptive Standards Institute of the Society of American Archivists, in Dallas. Topics covered included USMARC, Encoded Archival Description, and tools of archival cataloging. He was also involved in a television documentary by Peggy Scott Laborde entitled Holy New Orleans, and he attended a seminar entitled "Rethinking African-American History and Literature through Autobiography" at New York University.

Young-Sanders Center for the Study of the War Between the States in Louisiana

The Young-Sanders Center is an adjunct of the Morgan City Archives. It was founded in 1996 to encourage and facilitate the study of the Civil War. The Center recently acquired an original copy of Edward Pollard's The Lost Cause, in French. Additional information about the Center is now available through their new website, found at www.youngsanders.org.

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Other News

A Message From The Academy of Certified Archivists

Do you have questions about your Academy of Certified Archivists membership? Do you have concerns that you would like to discuss or that should be brought up at our annual meeting? Are you unsure whom to contact at ACA regarding dues, address changes or recertification?

To help you, the ACA recently created the position of "Membership Ombudsman." The Ombudsman will serve as your first contact and referral point for any ACA membership questions. If your question cannot be answered immediately, the Ombudsman will refer you to the appropriate person, and will make sure your questions are answered quickly and fully.

Because membership questions are vital to the life of the Academy, the position of Membership Ombudsman is the permanent duty of one of the ACA's highest officers, the Vice-President/President-Elect. We hope this will ensure that the ACA's incoming presidents will be well-versed in the membership concerns of certified archivists. We also hope it will guarantee that member concerns are central to all ACA plans, meetings and discussions.

Our Membership Ombudsman this year is Charles Schultz, Hoadley Professor and Clements Archivist at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. He welcomes your comments and questions via email at C-Shultz@tamu.edu or phone at 409-862-1555. You may also write him at Cushing Library, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-500.

Of course, as always, we encourage you to contact any ACA officer, regent or committee chair with your questions, comments and concerns. With our new Membership Ombudsman, however, we hope to demonstrate that membership concerns remain central to the life of the ACA.

Upcoming Events

The Cammie G. Henry Research Center at Northwestern State University hosts the Louisiana Academic Library Directors and LALINC meeting, October 23-24.

A Battlefield Tour of the Lafourche and Teche regions will be offered October 24-25, beginning in Gonzales. The fee is $30.00 per person. Those interested should contact the Young-Sanders Center, P.O. Box 430, Morgan City, LA 70381 or call 504-380-4650.

Beginner classes in family research will be offered by the New Orleans Public Library Louisiana Division and the Genealogical Research Society of New Orleans on October 25 and November 15, from 9-11 AM in the auditorium of the Main Library.

The 1997 Society of Georgia Archivists annual meeting, "Increasing Access to History," will be held November 13-14 at the Callaway Gardens Inn in Pine Mountain, Georgia. The two days conference will include workshops and discussions on digital imaging and the Encoded Archival Description standard. The registration deadline is October 31. For more information, contact Frank Wheeler at 912-651-2207 or email wheeler@hargray.com.

The Fall meeting of the Louisiana Archives and Manuscripts Association is scheduled for November 14, 1997 in Thibodeaux. LAMA members should receive registration forms in the mail. A copy of the registration form and program information are also in this issue of the Newsletter.

Pati Threatt and Sonny Carter of Northwestern State University will present "Someday, Someone Will Hunt History in These Very Old Notices" at the Louisiana Association of College and Research Libraries on November 14. The presentation will assess the progress of the Melrose Collection Imaging Project and explore issues encountered during the project's first year.

Disaster Recovery is the topic of the 1998 Annual Conference of the Longview-ARK-LA-TEX Chapter of ARMA International. The conference will be held Wednesday, February 18, 1998 at the Shreveport (Louisiana) Convention Center on the river front. Speakers include H. Larry Wood of Disaster Recovery Services, Fort Worth, Texas; Linda Perry of RIS Document Solutions, Dallas/Fort Worth; and Susan Hubbard, CRM, of National Foundation Life Insurance, Fort Worth. Presentations will focus on planning and testing for disaster recovery, microfilm recovery, and a case study in disaster recovery. A vendor exposition and lunch will be included with the conference. For more information visit the Longview-ARK-LA-TEX ARMA web site at www.shreve.net/arma or call John Frost, chapter president at 318-673-5588 or Christine Rivers, chapter secretary at 318-222-2006.

The Society of Southwest Archivists will hold their annual meeting in Lafayette next May. Please take advantage of this opportunity to check out this wonderful organization! Bruce Turner, Leon Miller, Carol Mathias, Jo Jackson, Kathie Bordelon and Alfred Lemmon are LAMA members on the local arrangements committee, and they invite you to make plans to attend. Individual membership in SSA is only $10, and you will also receive the SSA newsletter, a membership directory, workshop opportunities, and more. TO join the SSA, contact Membership Chair Mark E. Martin, T.L.L. Temple Memorial Library, 300 Park Street, Diboll, TX 75941. For more information on the annual meeting, contact a member of the local arrangements committee.

Request For Assistance

McNeese State University's Archives Department is researching the lighthouses of southwest Louisiana, including the lighthouse of Sabine Pass, and the Calcasieu River or Calcasieu Pass lighthouse. We will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to conduct further investigations. If any repository in Louisiana owns materials on these lighthouses, please contact Kathie Bordelon at McNeese State University, 318-475-5734.

LAMA Member Nominated for Position on the Society of American Archivists Council

Congratulations to V. Faye Phillips of LSU Libraries Special Collection, for her nomination for a position on the Council of the SAA! This is an exceptional opportunity, since it is very rare for someone from our area to receive this sort of national attention. Expect more news on this topic in the next issue of the LAMA Newsletter.

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