Digital Collections

Rarities and Wonders

photo of a lark Did you know that the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) preserves the papers of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee’s Gettysburg letters, George Washington’s letter appointing John Jay as first Chief Justice of the United State Supreme Court, and William C.C. Claiborne’s commission as first territorial governor of Louisiana?

Learn about these and more LaRC holdings by visiting the online exhibit “The Treasures of Tulane: Rarities and Wonders from the Louisiana Research Collection.”

On May 3, 1889, Mrs. L. Dolhonde presented to the Charles T. Howard Memorial Library a letter from Thomas Jefferson. In the more than 125 years since that initial donation, the Louisiana Research Collection has grown to encompass almost four linear miles of archival documents, books, maps, and other resources central to the study of our state. We hope this exhibit will introduce viewers to the depth of our holdings while revealing some possibly surprising international cultural treasures.

Our exhibit begins with Colonial documents from William Penn, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others. We then highlight our renowned Civil War collection, followed by Louisiana arts and literature featuring materials from Mark Twain, John Kennedy Toole, and William Faulkner. The exhibit then moves on to showcase original designs from LaRC’s celebrated Carnival Collection, followed by women and gender, religion, and finally Louisiana’s rich vivid political heritage.


  • The Carnival Collection

    LaRC preserves possibly the largest collection of New Orleans Carnival float and costume designs. Many are from the "Golden Age" of Carnival and feature noted designers such as Jennie Wilde, B. A. Wikstrom, and Charles Briton. LaRC also preserves the works of more contemporary designers, including Patricia Hardin, Olga Peters, and designer and historian Henri Schindler.
  • The Louisiana Menu and Restaurant Collection

    LaRC preserves extensive holdings documenting Louisiana's food and cooking culture, including several thousand menus, restaurant brochures,and other items essential for understanding the cuisine and food industry of our state. Currently available online are restaurant menus from the 1930s to the present. LaRC also preserves menus and brochures for hotel restaurants and drink lists and flyers for bars. Those extend to the 1910s and will go online during the summer and fall of 2012. Third, LaRC preserves banquet menus for groups holding meetings and conventions. Extending back to the 1870s, we hope to put those online in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013.
  • Victor H. and Margaret G. Schiro Exhibit

    Drawing from several collections, this exhibit highlights the life of noted public figure “Sunny” Schiro and her husband, New Orleans Mayor “Vic” Schiro. In 1954 Vic Schiro was elected councilman-at-large. When DeLesseps Morrison resigned as mayor in 1961, the City Council elected Schiro interim mayor. He subsequently won two full terms as mayor in 1962 and 1965.
  • Leon Trice Louisiana Political Photographs

    A New Orleans photographer active from 1920 to 1972, Trice ran his own studio while also working for the New Orleans States newspaper and the Associated Press. Spanning the 1920s - 1940s, these images depict Louisiana's most famous elected officials campaigning, at home with family, in staged photo opportunities, at work, and even lying in repose.
  • Lippmann Collection of Louisiana Postal Aviation History

    Includes envelopes autographed by famous aviators, covers and cancellations marking important aviation events in Louisiana (such as the passing of the U.S.S. Akron, a naval zeppelin, over New Orleans) and covers documenting important events in airmail history (such as the first flight of airmail from Atlanta to New Orleans).
  • French Colonial, Spanish Colonial, and Nineteenth-Century Louisiana Documents

    Louisiana documents from 1655 to 1924 with a strong emphasis on the French colonial, Spanish colonial, and early national periods. Includes correspondence, land sales, slave sales, plantation journals, business licenses, property sales, professional and family papers, legal documents, land grants, tax receipts, theater programs, broadsides, engravings, and more. A noted Louisiana document collector, Felix Kuntz (1890-1971) donated his collection to Tulane University in four installments beginning in 1954 and requested that it be named after his parents.
  • Images from the Civil War and Reconstruction

    The Louisiana Research Collection preserves a renowned collection of images pertaining to the Civil War and its aftermath. Among its holdings are more than 1,000 photographs, lithographs, and drawings from the Louisiana Historical Association depicting the Civil War and Reconstruction era. Subjects include political leaders, soldier and regimental portraits, studio portraits of general officers, photographs of memorial committees and veteransí organizations, and forts and battlefields.
  • Lippman Collection of Civil War Postal Covers

    Postal covers are envelopes with printed designs commemorating an event, person, or cause. These postal covers were created during the Civil War in support of the Union, with one supporting of the Confederacy, and are a wonderful example of using color, design, and imagery as political and propagandizing tools.
  • Louisiana Political Ephemera

    This selection of political brochures, flyers, and cards (also known as campaign literature) is from LaRC’s extensive ephemera collection and spans 1860 to 1920. It covers New Orleans elections, statewide Louisiana elections, and presidential elections as they pertained to Louisiana. Subjects covered include Reconstruction-era politicians, polling and balloting practices, the Good Government League and other topics.
  • Natalie V. Scott Exhibit

    A decorated war hero, a celebrated newspaperwoman, an award winning playwright, a wilderness explorer, a Red Cross nurse, translator, teacher and social worker, Natalie Scott lived and worked among the poor, the war wounded, and the humble on four continents.