As an integrated research library and archives, LaRC provides researchers with a full range of bibliographic and archival research resources, from books and manuscripts to maps and images. LaRC supports almost every aspect of Louisiana research, but among our special strengths are Carnival, the Civil War, Jewish studies, LGBT, Louisiana politics, medicine, social welfare, Southern literature, waterways, and women's studies.
LaRC preserves a distinguished Louisiana library that includes possibly the finest nineteenth-century Louisiana print holdings extant. As a comprehensive research library, we try to acquire a copy of every significant book, magazine, or journal published about our state or written by a prominent Louisiana author. We are also a Louisiana state documents depository.
Our book holdings are searchable through the library’s online catalog. Our copies are non-circulating, but especially for newer publications, we try to place a second copy in our main library that is available for checking out.
Tulane University’s archival preservation efforts stretch back to May 3, 1889, when Mrs. L. Dolhonde presented to the Charles T. Howard Memorial Library a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to M. duPlantier of New Orleans. In the years since that inaugural donation, we have grown to encompass almost three linear miles of archival documents about our city and state. Included among our holdings are the papers of Louisiana Governors, Members of Congress, Mayors of the City of New Orleans, Civil War generals, southern writers, the records of women’s organizations, church records, and much, much more.
A full listing of our archival holdings is available in the Victor H. and Margaret G. Schiro reading room (Room 202, Jones Hall). Partial listings are available through the library’s online catalog; searchable finding aids are available though our online finding aid database. We expect to have most of our holdings fully discoverable online by the end of 2012.
Ephemera are small printed items intended for a short, or ephemeral, lifespan. These include pamphlets, flyers, campaign cards, church bulletins, and menus. Among our extensive ephemera holdings are art ephemera going to back to about 1900, political ephemera going back to about 1840, and theatre ephemera going back to about 1820. What makes our outstanding ephemera collection especially significant, however, is the depth of its indexing and that fact that the index is searchable online. Visit our ephemera page to learn more.
Researchers have told us that we have one of the finer Louisiana map collections they have used. Our map holdings extend from 1513 to the present, with about 400 maps dating from before 1799. Our map collection is searchable by date or subject through a card catalog in our reading room.
Many of our maps will be unique (such as hand-drawn maps), but printed maps usually exist in multiple copies in many institutions. Several Louisiana institutions have excellent map collections and are working to put them online through the Louisiana Digital Library (LDL). To search the LDL’s map holdings, click here. To ensure that as complete a set as possible of Louisiana maps is available online, over the next three years we will analyze the LDL’s holdings, digitize selections from our map collection that are not already online, and add them to the Louisiana Digital Library.
LaRC preserves probably the largest paper Carnival collection extant. By “paper Carnival Collection,” we mean printed items, such as invitations and dance cards, and original float and costume designs. These include original float designs for Comus from 1901 onward, Momus from 1902, Proteus from 1882 onward, and original float designs for many other Carnival krewes. We also have an extensive collection of original costume designs, especially for Proteus and Comus, including the famous Comus “Missing Links” 1873 parade costume designs. We also have extensive holdings for LGBT krewes. More than two hundred Carnival krewes are represented in our holdings. Many krewes are no longer extant and for some of them, our holdings preserve the only record of their activities.
LaRC has begun digitizing some of our most popular and frequently requested collections. We are currently contributing many of our digitized collections to the LOUIS Digital Library.
LaRC preserves an extensive collection of Louisiana images, including photographs, prints, and postcards. We have a printed index to our image collection in our reading room. We are working to put selections from our image files online, beginning with “undivided back” postcards, which we hope to have online within three years.
We have extensive holdings of original Louisiana newspapers dating from 1800 to the present.