Collection Policy



Leon Miller


Head of Louisiana Research Collection

Librarian Phone Number

(504) 314-7833

Librarian Email

Program Description

The Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) is an integrated research collection that combines the former Manuscripts Department and Louisiana Collection into a unified library department. It is a leading research library and archives for almost all areas of Louisiana studies. Its beginnings 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, the Louisiana Research Collection has grown to encompass possibly the finest nineteenth-century Louisiana library extant, one of the finer Louisiana map collections, extensive ephemera holdings dating to the 1820s, and New Orleans' most comprehensive research archives with over 2,000 collections encompassing more than three linear miles of documents.

Subject Resource Guide


The Louisiana Research Collection supports research and learning in almost every discipline, including the arts, humanities, and sciences. It also supports the university's teaching and research mission at every level, including undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral.

The Louisiana Research Collection supports Tulane University's mission by acquiring, preserving, and making available Louisiana research material in almost all formats, including monographs, periodicals, archives and manuscripts, maps, photographs, pamphlets and other ephemera, prints and other images, microfilm, digital resources, and newspapers. Its holdings pertain primarily to New Orleans, and secondarily, to the state of Louisiana as a whole.

It acquires materials in most subject areas pertaining to New Orleans and Louisiana, with a special emphasis given to the social, cultural, political, literary, and military development of the region. Most prominent among its collecting interests are Carnival, the Civil War, Jewish studies, LGBT, Louisiana politics, medicine, social welfare, Southern literature, waterways, and women's studies.

The Louisiana Research Collection is a conspectus level five collection for almost all subject areas concerning Louisiana; however, it does not actively acquire the full range of available publications regarding agriculture and education because Tulane University lacks programs in those fields. Exceptions are agribusiness, forestry, and enterprises possessing state-wide cultural significance such as cotton and sugar; or, when publications directly pertain to and strengthen current holdings

Fields in which LaRC does not acquire archives or manuscripts (conspectus level 0-1) are African-Americana, jazz, architecture, Catholicism, Acadiana, education, law, Tulane administrative records, and official records of the City of New Orleans, the Parish of Orleans, and the State of Louisiana. Instead, it works closely with other research libraries and archives specializing in those fields to ensure those areas are documented. Exceptions are made when records or papers directly pertain to and strengthen current holdings.

Special attention is given to retrospective collecting of publications to assure completeness of the collection. A special focus of retrospective collecting is Louisiana publications from World War II - 2000 and fiction by Louisiana authors.

In addition to serving Tulane students and faculty, the Louisiana Research Collection supports the research needs of visiting scholars and is an integral part of Tulane's commitment to the larger New Orleans community. This flows directly from the nature of its holdings, which are essential for understanding the region. Many of LaRC’s holdings are international cultural treasures, such as possibly the finest nineteenth-century Louisiana library extant, a noted Louisiana map collection, the Jefferson Davis papers, the Gettysburg letters of Robert E. Lee, and the John Kennedy Toole papers. Because such holdings have cultural significance beyond Tulane, the Louisiana Research Collection has an ethical obligation to make its holdings available to all researchers on equal terms regardless of affiliation.


LaRC acquires the full range of publication types, including electronic resources, government publications, maps, microforms, monographic series, monographs, newspapers, pamphlets and other ephemera, prints and other images, serials, and theses/dissertations. Archival types include artificial collections, institutional records, and personal papers. Digital and multi-media materials are acquired selectively. With rare exceptions, we do not accept three-dimensional artifacts.


Unlike other library departments or subject areas, LaRC serves as a “library of last resort” for Louisiana publications. Therefore, most printed materials are acquired in their original publication format. A major exception is newspapers, where digital or microform formats are acquired as the preferred access copy even when LaRC holds original copies.

Archival documents are created in a wide variety of formats. They include but are not limited to codices, personal papers, institutional records, photographs, programs, individual letters, typescripts, and transcripts. Almost all will be non-published.

The Louisiana Research Collection avoids acquiring formats for which there are no, as yet, generally accepted preservation methods, are outside our technical expertise to maintain, or are beyond our financial capacity to care for properly.

We typically do not accept photocopies, microfilm, or other alternate use copies in lieu of originals. Exceptions will be newspapers and online database products.


The department acquires in all languages common to Louisiana. Most acquisitions are in English, but French, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Vietnamese are also acquired. As immigration patterns change, the collection will acquire in the languages of new area residents.

Chronological Period

The majority of acquisitions will concern Colonial Louisiana to the present. However, the Louisiana Research Collection is a multi-disciplinary collection that acquires not only liberal arts and humanities studies but also social science and scientific research examining the region’s pre-historic and geologic past.

Imprint Date

The majority of acquisitions will concern Colonial Louisiana to the present. However, the Louisiana Research Collection is a multi-disciplinary collection that acquires not only liberal arts and humanities studies but also social science and scientific research examining the region’s pre-historic and geologic past.

Geographical Considerations

The Louisiana Research Collection acquires materials first about the city of New Orleans and secondly about Louisiana as a whole. However, as materials can become dispersed over time (especially archival documents) the department actively seeks acquisitions from anywhere Louisiana materials are found, including outside the state and country. On rare occasions the Louisiana Research Collection will acquire non-Louisiana documents that shed light on Louisiana or directly pertain to and strengthen current holdings.

Related Collections

Cooperative Resources

The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is one of 14 members of a cooperative consortium of southern research libraries called KUDZU, which includes a shared online catalog. Loan requests through this system receive priority processing and expedited two-day delivery. The library is also a member of the cooperative Center for Research Libraries (CRL) in Chicago, through which we may borrow a wide range of rare materials for our users. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty may borrow materials directly from the main library nearby at Loyola University of New Orleans through a reciprocal agreement called TU/LU. Graduate students and faculty may borrow materials at other New Orleans area academic libraries, and at other academic libraries throughout the state, through the LALINC consortium. For more information about cooperative borrowing privileges inquire at the library's Check-Out Desk.

Supply Sources

A relatively small part of our larger collection development program is covered by an approval plan supplying books and book notices through YBP. We augment the YBP acquisitions through other purchases and donations. We have a requirement that persons seeking permission to quote from our holdings must donate two copies of their publication to our department. We receive regular shipments from the Louisiana State Library because of our status as a partial state documents depository. We subscribe to email newsletters for many Louisiana organizations and actively acquire ephemera.

LaRC acquires archival holdings almost exclusively through donation. Purchases are reserved for rare occasions when documents of unusual significance to the department's current holdings or collecting interests come on the market. The department accepts materials on loan or deposit only in extraordinary circumstances, usually with the understanding that they will be donated outright at a specified later date. Donations of materials and funds are essential to maintaining and developing the collections and the department consistently seeks the support of donors.

Endowed Funds

For a department of its type and size, lack of endowed funds is a major concern. Limited departmental projects are only partially supported by the William Beer Fund; the Boggs Fund; the Library Manuscripts Photocopying Fund; the Schiro Fund; the Toole Fund; and the McAlister Fund.