is pleased to announce the online guide to its Steamboat
Collection. Measuring over 60 linear feet, the collection preserves
thousands of images of riverboats of all kinds (sternwheelers,
sidewheelers, tugs, packets, showboats, and more), from their
construction to their wreckage, providing a fascinating view of the
country's steamboat era in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
One of the larger collections of steamboat images in the world, it was
purchased for Tulane by the Joseph Merrick and Eugenie Penick Jones
Foundation in 1966 from the estate of Capt. Donald T. Wright, editor
and publisher of the Waterways Journal. Stored in filing cabinets and
accessible only through a paper finding aid since that time, the
collection has been completely rehoused and upgraded by intern Kyle
DeCoste, who also created the collection’s first online index. The
project was one part of LaRC’s larger program to upgrade its extensive
image holdings. The guide to the entire image project, including the
steamboat section, is available online.
Photo: The Queen City, photo by James R. Mullens (undated).
French-language folktales online
recordings of seventy-nine folktales recorded by Calvin Claudel
in Avoyelles Parish in the 1940s comprise LaRC’s most recent online
All recordings are by persons who were natives of Avoyelles Parish and
were bilingual in French and English. Claudel had a special interest in
magic tales and numbskull tales (about the humorous misadventures of
fools) and sought to demonstrate a connection between Louisiana and
French folk traditions.
According to Thomas Klingler, Associate Professor of French, the
recordings “are a treasure trove for linguistic studies that give us a
rare window onto Louisiana French from over 70 years ago.” Barry Jean
Ancelet, folklorist and emeritus Granger & Debaillon Endowed
Professor in Francophone Studies at the University of Louisiana,
Lafayette, said the collection is “an important one in the history of
Louisiana French oral tradition studies.”
A folklorist and professor of romance languages, Calvin Andre Claudel
(1916-1988) was born in Avoyelles Parish. He completed his
dissertation, “A Study of Louisiana French Folktales in Avoyelles
Parish,” at the University of North Carolina in 1948. He used Presto
recording equipment to record the interviews. Presto was an
instantaneous recording technique using aluminum plates coated with a
cellulose nitrate based lacquer. LaRC sent the plates to an audio
conservator in Philadelphia who created the archival digital files that
are now available online.
recently acquired the papers of Stewart Butler. The collection is one
of the most important Louisiana LGBT civil rights resources extant.
Mr. Butler began his civil rights work in New Orleans helping with
voter registration drives in the 1970s. In 1980 he was a founding
member of LAGPAC, an early advocacy group seeking equal rights for the
gay community. Mr. Butler was the only individual to be a part of all
three attempts to pass a New Orleans Gay Rights Ordinance in 1984,
1986, and 1991. He has served on the boards of the Lesbian and Gay
Community Center, LAGPAC, Celebration New Orleans, PFLAG, the LGBT+
Archives Project, and many other organizations dedicated to equal
rights for all.
An Army Veteran, Mr. Butler holds degrees in geological engineering and
business administration and attended law school. His many honors
include the ACLU-LAGPAC Gittings-Hay Award for service in 1985; the
Louisiana Council for Equal Rights Award for outstanding achievement in
politics in 1991; the Human Rights Campaign Outstanding Leadership and
Service Award in 1993; the 2004 Equality Louisiana’s Community First
Award; and the ACLU of Louisiana Ben Smith Award in 2014.
The collection will require several months of archival work and should
be ready for researchers by the end of the year.
for Public Service
Spring semester, LaRC was delighted to welcome two interns from the
Tulane Center for Public Service, Emily Galik and Shelby Burke. Both
students interned with LaRC as part of a public history class lead by
Professor Jana Lipman, and both are applying their experiences in LaRC
to their summer jobs.
Emily Galik is a History and Political Science major from Ellicott
City, Maryland. She researched LaRC’s holdings pertaining to the
Louisiana women’s suffrage movement, created a study guide, and drew up
an exhibit plan for LaRC’s contribution to the NOLA4Women project.
Emily will work this summer at the Maryland Women's Heritage Center.
Shelby Burke will use the skills she learned in LaRC to work this
summer at the Da Vinci Art Alliance, a non-profit arts organization in
Philadelphia. A native of Moorestown, New Jersey, Shelby is majoring in
history and minoring in English. Shelby learned archival processing
while at LaRC and helped organize our Carnival collection.
was well-represented at the annual meeting of the Louisiana Historical
Association (LHA) by Susanna
Powers, Archives Catalog Librarian, and Sean Benjamin,
Public Services Librarian. Sean is a member of the LHA Archives
Committee. The meeting took place in Baton Rouge March 17-19.
In May, Sean attended the annual meeting of the Society of Southwest
Archivists in Oklahoma City, for which he served on the Program
Committee. Sean also attended the conference “Resistance. Escape.
Community: Opposition to Enslavement in North Louisiana,” February
19-20, in Natchitoches, and was recently elected to the steering
committee of Society of the American Archivist’s Manuscripts Section.
In April, Kyle DeCoste,
LaRC’s Thelma Ducoing Toole intern, presented the paper "From Object to
Subject: New Orleans Brass Bands, Gender, and the Liberated Voice" at
the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle.
LaRC’s Archives Associate for Archives Processing and Digital
Initiatives, has been elected chair of the Tulane University Library
Staff Association. During the first week of May, Andrew participated in
a five-day online workshop on EAD3, the standard for encoding archival
finding aids for use in a networked (online) environment. In April,
Andrew organized Howard-Tilton Memorial Library’s participation in the
city-wide “Bike to Work Week” and led the library to having the highest
participation of any organization. On January 15 he attended a
workshop on preservation practices at Loyola University. Also in
January, Andrew created LaRC’s annual Carnival exhibit, which featured
original float and costume designs from the 1886 Proteus parade. You
can browse LaRC's online Carnival float and costume designs here.
head of LaRC, will speak at the German-American Cultural Center on July
16. Lee spoke to the Jefferson Genealogical Society on April 21.