"The Treasures of Tulane" on exhibit for five days only
Where can you find George Washington's letter informing John Jay of his nomination as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or Thomas Jefferson's plan to help Lafayette get out of debt, or William C.C. Claiborne's commission as first governor of the Louisiana Territory, or William Penn's note to Charles II, thanking him for "Pennsilvania"?
All of this, plus a commission signed by Abraham Lincoln appointing John Wesley Turner as major general, can be found at "The Treasures of Tulane," a free exhibition sponsored by the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) on view Aug. 19 to 23 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m in Tulane's Jones Hall, Room 201.
The exhibit is in honor of the Louisiana Research Collection's newest acquisition, the commission of John Wesley Turner as a major general in the Union Army, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on March 25, 1865, just three weeks before Lincoln was assassinated. Among his many accomplishments, Turner was Aide-De-Camp and Staff Colonel to Major General Benjamin F. Butler who was in charge of the Union forces in New Orleans. At only 28 years old, Turner was made Chief Commissary of the Department of the South at New Orleans, with the responsibility of distributing fair shares of food to the people of the city. He later became Chief of Staff of the Department of North Carolina and Virginia and of the Army of the James. Forces under his command were instrumental in forcing Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
"I wanted my great grandfather's commission to be permanently preserved where scholars and students could use it," said donor Robert P. Turner III of Albuquerque, New Mexico, who earned a masters of architecture from Tulane in 1974. "With Tulane's commitment to education and the Louisiana Research Collection's renowned Civil War holdings, I knew that Tulane University was the right place."
Other items on display will include Robert E. Lee's Gettysburg letters, Stonewall Jackson's famous "book of maxims," and John Kennedy Toole's Pulitzer Prize for writing "A Confederacy of Dunces." The exhibit will also include selections from another recent LaRC acquisition, the most important cache of Huey P. Long papers discovered in the last forty years.
"The Louisiana Research Collection preserves international cultural treasures," said Eira Tansey, who curated the exhibit and who oversees and manages LaRC's archival program. "In addition to our well-known Louisiana-focused collection strengths of Carnival, arts and literature, Jewish studies, gender studies, politics, and the Civil War, LaRC's holdings document major events in American history and reveal New Orleans' immense contributions to the culture and heritage of the nation."
Since 1889, the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) has amassed almost four linear miles of holdings, making it the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive library and archival research center for the study of New Orleans and the second largest for Louisiana as a whole after Hill Memorial Library at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. LaRC supports almost every aspect of Louisiana research, but among its special strengths are art, business, Carnival, the Civil War, Jewish studies, LGBT studies, Louisiana politics, medicine, social welfare, literature, waterways, and women's studies. Visit larc.tulane.edu or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.