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Louisiana Research Collection. Tulane University. Howard-Tilton Memorial Library Special Collections.
Senator David Vitter Papers

By Barri Bronston, assistant director of public relations, Tulane University
Photograph by Paula Burch

The David Vitter Congressional Papers have become the latest acquisition of the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) at Tulane University, joining the papers of dozens of Louisiana political figures from Huey P. Long to Lindy Boggs.

The collection contains materials accumulated over Vitter's tenure as both a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The majority of the files document legislative activities, services to constituents, campaigns, press and communications and Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

The documents include clippings, correspondence, briefing books, constituent mail, grants and project requests, daily schedules, committee work and photographs.   

Vitter, a Republican from Metairie, served in the House from 1999 to 2005 and in the Senate from from 2005 to 2017.

"One of LaRC's specialties is preserving Louisiana's dynamic political heritage," said Leon Miller, head of the Louisiana Research Collection. "LaRC brings more off-campus researchers to Tulane, to do research on our campus, than any other organization. Already we are receiving requests to use the Vitter papers and we look forward to making them available to researchers from around the world."

"It's a real honor to turn over this collection to the renowned Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University," Vitter said. "I look forward to seeing the scholarship put to use."

The Louisiana Research Collection's first acquisition was in 1889. Since then it has acquired almost four linear miles of books, maps, ephemera and archives about Louisiana, including the papers of Louisiana governors, members of Congress, mayors of New Orleans, Civil War generals, southern writers, the records of women's organizations, LGBTQ organizations and church and synagogue records. LaRC also preserves one of the finest 19th century Louisiana libraries extant, an excellent map collection, and the largest collection of pre-WWII original Carnival float and costume designs.

In addition to the papers of Long and Lindy Boggs, LaRC's political holdings include those of Louisiana governors (including David Treen and Sam Houston Jones), Members of Congress (including Bob Livingston, Hale Boggs, and F. Edward Hebert), Mayors (including deLesseps Story Morrison and Victor Schiro), and civic and political activists such as Stuart Butler, Ethel Hutson, Mathilde Dreyfous, Ida Weis Friend, Hilda Phelps Hammond, Martha Gilmore Robinson, Ellen Elizabeth Latrobe Wilson, Skip Ward, and Katherine Settle Wright.

Image: Andrew Mullins, LaRC associate for archives and digital intiatives, unpacking the Vitter Papers from their shipping pallets. Click the image to enlarge it.

David Vitter Endowed Fund

Archival materials are documents with permanent value. Therefore, when the Louisiana Research Collection agrees to accept an archival donation, it makes a commitment to preserve and provide access to those documents permanently. "Permanent" means "forever," and "forever" is expensive.

To assist with permanently preserving his papers, Senator David Vitter created the "David Vitter Endowed Fund." The fund helps maintain the senator's papers, assists the Louisiana Research Collection's general operations, and supports our special mission to preserve Louisiana's unique political heritage. We hope to grow the fund over time with additional donations . Please support our work by donating to the Vitter fund or one of LaRC's other endowed funds here.

Named funds provide reliable ongoing support, but they also offer a tremendous opportunity to recognize donors, or to honor a person or cause dear to donors, in a permanent and prestigious manner. If you would like to create an endowed fund in your name or the name of a friend, colleague, or loved one, please contact Leon Miller, Head, Louisiana Research Collection,, 504-314-7833.

Major business donation

Joseph Owens of New Orleans CityBusiness recently donated to LaRC a substantial number of business-related New Orleans serials. Numbering in the hundreds of volumes and encompassing more than 90 linear feet, this donation includes, among other things, a complete run of New Orleans CityBusiness from its first issue in 1980 and including all supplementary materials. This title has become the newspaper of record for business news in the New Orleans metropolitan area over the past several decades and is an essential source for documenting economic activity in the region.

The donation also includes nearly 20 years of the Daily Journal of Commerce, which focuses on construction news in Louisiana and includes bids and permits. The Daily Shipping Guide, from 1989 to 1997, documents Gulf Coast port activity including ship manifests and vessel movements. The earlier Manifest Guide Supplement to the Daily Shipping Guide, from 1924 to 1975, documents New Orleans port activity for much of the twentieth century.

Taken together, the periodicals in this donation solidify LaRC's role as an essential research institution for documenting the economic and business history of the state.

Fresh from the Conservator

LAVAL (Père Antoine Jean de).
Voyage de la Louisiane, fait par ordre du Roy, En lannée mil sept cent vingt : Dans lequel ont été traitées diverses matières de Physique, Astronomie, Géographie et Marine.

Published in Paris in 1728, this is a rare original edition of the first major publication relating to Louisiana. Antoine-François de Laval ( Lyon , October 26, 1664 - Toulon , September 5, 1728 ) was a French cartographer and astronomer. The book describes his 1720 trip to America where he made hydrographic, topographic, physical and astronomical observations and detailed the physical geography of French domains in Louisiana and the Mississippi Valley.

Farewell, Susanna Powers

After thirty-seven years at Tulane University, Susanna Powers is retiring as Archives Catalog Librarian for the Louisiana Research Collection. Her last day is March 17.

Susanna's life in libraries began at the University of Florida, where she worked on a serials conversion project in the early years of OCLC. She then moved to Atlanta to attend library school at Emory University and to work as an intern and librarian at Georgia Tech. She came to New Orleans in 1980 for a position at Tulane University's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library as assistant serials librarian under Agnes Metzler. During her years in Technical Services, Susanna worked on cataloging and acquisitions of serials and electronic resources, general acquisitions including books, and preservation. Her responsibilities included hiring, training and supervising librarians and support staff.

In 2008, Susanna joined Special Collections, in the Manuscripts Department (later expanded to become the current Louisiana Research Collection) specifically to create original catalog records representing its massive array of archival collections, including records in WorldCat and Voyager. She was also essential to public services, contributed significantly to archival processing, helped create and fostered LaRC's social media campaign, and made major contributions to donor relations.
Of these experiences, Susanna says that the highlights were being a resource person doing Technical Services supervision, and later in LaRC, having the opportunity to learn from the people who lived in Louisiana in the past, through reading, thinking about, and writing about, their donated papers.

In other departmental news....

Sean Benjamin, LaRC's Public Services Librarian, just completed a term as secretary of the Greater New Orleans Archivists. He is currently serving on the Steering Committee of the Manuscripts Section of the Society of American Archivists.

On January 26, Leon Miller, Head of the Louisiana Research Collection, spoke to the class "New Directions in Women's History," led by Professor Karissa Haugeberg. On Saturday, February 4, Lee spoke to students in Professor Terry Fitzmorris's graduate seminar on the Lost Cause.

On February 6, Lee welcomed guests from the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) to the Louisiana Research Collection to discuss LaRC's role in preserving the artistic and cultural heritage of New Orleans. On February 7, Lee spoke to the ARLIS LGBTQ Special Interest Group on LaRC's extensive LGBTQ holdings and its efforts to preserve the LGBTQ heritage of New Orleans, particularly in regard to LaRC's role as a founding member of the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana.

On February 9, Andrew Mullins, LaRC's archives and digital initiatives associate, spoke to Professor Terry Fitzmorris's class on the "Hidden History" of New Orleans.

For more information about Tulane University's Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC), please visit our website.
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Louisiana Research Collection Room 202, Jones Hall, Tulane University,
New Orleans LA 70118
Phone: 504-865-5685 | Fax: 504-865-5761  |