Robert Hayne Tarrant was originally born in South Carolina and came to New Orleans as a young man where he became a well-known impresario, bringing artists such as Anna Pavlova, Geraldine Farrar, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Isadora Duncan Dancers to the stage.

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Tarrant was considered handsome and described as having a dramatic persona. He was also a stylish man, once being named the “Best Dressed Man In New Orleans” in a New Orleans Item contest.

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He was a subject of fascination for Orleanians, with the local conversation surrounding him being divided between his colorful dress, the artists and performers that he brought to town, and the various lawsuits he was involved in.

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The most famous of these lawsuits pertained to the handling of the proceeds for The French Trades Ball. The ball was a fundraising event conceived by Tarrant and seven prominent New Orleans socialites over lunch at Antoine’s for the rebuilding of the French Opera House previously lost to a suspicious fire in 1919. The successful and well-publicized event went sour when the socialites did not receive the monies raised from Tarrant.

The local newspapers covered the case frequently, often as front-page news. The reports often included courtroom high jinks surrounding Tarrant’s outfits (his cravats where of particular interest). The case of the “Seven Suing Socialites” v. Tarrant stretched on for years (with Tarrant counter-suing) and went all the way to the Louisiana State Supreme Court were Tarrant eventually lost the case.

Click HERE to read a full-page article with photos detailing a surprise raid by the New Orleans Police that befell Tarrant’s home on April Fool’s Day, 1923. The tone of the writing is sensationalistic, with the police chief citing Tarrant’s “dramatic temperament” as an indicator of the possibility of a hidden wall-safe!

A local interest in Tarrant continued until after his death at the age of 83 in 1965, including the contents of his will being written about in the local paper. He was a life-long bachelor and has no gravesite, having requested his remains be scattered on his sisters grave in Houston, Texas. He was a fascinating character in the history of the City of New Orleans and this collection gives researchers a glimpse into not only Tarrant’s work and life but also into a particular aspect of New Orleans’ entertainment landscape and social-life from 1912 to 1930.

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To view the Robert Hayne Tarrant Papers and other special collections, please visit the Special Collections & Archives Monday-Friday from 9:00-4:30.

And for an extra little something, click HERE to hear the great soprano Rosa Ponselle sing Pace, pace mio Dio!

FAST FACTS: Monroe Hall Rededication

In celebration of our newly improved Monroe Hall and in preparation for its rededication on Thursday the 8th at 12:30 PM we offer you some FAST FACTS about the building:

  • Monroe Hall was originally the brainchild of Rev. Francis Benedetto, a physics department chair and CEO of the local WWL radio and television stations. Our Loyola University Physics Department Collection consists of correspondence between Benedetto and the world-renowned physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Victor Hess.
  • Monroe Hall is named after J. Edgar Monroe, a prominent local businessman and philanthropist, who gave generously to Loyola University New Orleans and other Catholic institutions. Click HERE for access to our Monroe Collection.
  • Monroe Hall houses both the sciences and the arts at Loyola, with approximately 40% of all the courses taught being conducted within its walls.
  • Monroe Hall’s 1960’s original avant-garde design was by modernist architect, Ismay Mary Mykolyk and debuted as a cutting-edge science complex intentionally designed with windows resembling portholes so as to look like a boat.


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The collections linked above can be viewed in the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room on the 3rd floor of the Monroe Library, Monday – Friday, 9:00-4:30.

The Complete Angler, Or Contemplative Man’s Recreation

Izaak Walton was a British Biographer and author most recognized for his work The Complete Angler, or Contemplative Man’s Recreation: Being A Discourse On Rivers, Fish-ponds, Fish, and Fishing.


The book is written as a dialogue between an angler, Piscator, a hunter, Venator, and a falconer, Auceps. It also includes, quotations, poems, songs, as well as illustrations of country life, fishing, angling gear, and fish.



This book is not a straightforward “how-to” manual but instead an example of seventeenth-century genera mixta (mixed genre), where Walton weaves the text together pulling from a myriad of traditions. There is also an element of political allegory running through, that can be concisely illustrated by the pun found between the words angler and Anglican.


First published in 1653, Walton revised the work for over 25 years with five revised editions. We have his last edition which includes part two of the volume containing Charles Cotton’s fly-fishing and fly-making segment. Our copy was published in 1815 and is the second edition published by Samuel Bagster in London.


Here is one of the songs, aptly titled The Angler’s Song. The song lyric is by Walton and was set to music by Henry Lawes (not to be confused with Longfellow’s poem of the same name).


Click HERE to listen to a recording of the song on YouTube.

To check out this volume and other volumes from the seventeen-century, please visit the Special Collections & Archives on the third floor of Monroe Library Monday-Friday, 9:00-4:30.

Thank you!

Thank you to all who participated in yesterday’s event, #AskAnArchivist Day! A recap of Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections & Archives contribution to #AskAnArchivist Day is available here.

If you missed #AskAnArchivist Day, never fear! At Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections & Archives, every day is #AskAnArchivist Day. If you have questions or concerns, we welcome you to contact our staff or visit the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room Monday-Friday, 9:00-4:30.

We look forward to shedding light on all of your future archival questions!

This digitized photograph and thousands like it belong to the Loyola University New Orleans Photographs Collection and are available to view online here.

Collection Spotlight: J. Gentil Papers

Jean Sylvain Gentil (1829-1911)*, a native of France and lifelong proponent of democratic principles, left his country in 1850 as a political exile following imprisonment and expulsion by Emperor Napoleon III. Gentil settled in Saint James Parish, Louisiana in 1853 and obtained a professorship of foreign languages at Jefferson College, a small Catholic school. Following the Civil War, Gentil continued his political activism by partnering with Armand Victor Romain to produce the weekly Le Louisianais. In 1881, Gentil sold Le Louisianais to André Roman and Paul Grima, who continued producing the newspaper until 1883. Gentil subsequently owned La Démocratie française of New Orleans and wrote articles for various other publications. In addition to political pieces, Gentil composed a great deal of poetry throughout his life.

The J. Gentil Papers consists of three handwritten documents, all of them in French. The leather-bound volume, titled “Chants de L’exil,” includes sixteen poems or songs. It is unclear if the entries are gathered or the original work of Gentil; entries list a geographic location and date. The other two documents, “Instruction et Avenir” and an untitled manuscript, refer to “College de la Louisiane” and “University de la Louisiane” respectively, suggesting the texts are commencement speeches.

Researchers can view the documents online here or request the original manuscripts by consulting with archives staff. Loyola University Special Collections & Archives is located on the third floor of Monroe Library and is open for research and quiet study Monday-Friday, 9:00-4:30.


*In his book Les écrits de langue française en Louisiane au XIXe siècle, Edward Larocque Tinker presents Gentil’s full name as Jean-Sylvain Gentil; however, Gentil signed himself “J. Gentil” or used one of his noms de plume, which included Jean Gribouille, J. Gringoire, J. Gueux, J. G. jardinier (or, jardinier louisianais), and Simplex.


Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.


Do you have questions? We have the answers!

Today is #AskAnArchivist Day! The staff members of Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections & Archives are eager to respond to any and all questions you may have about archives and archival work.

Contact us via Twitter using our handle @MonroeLibLoyno and don’t forget to include #AskAnArchivist!

Collection Spotlight: The Art Journal

The Art Journal, published in London from 1839 until 1912, represents an influential text of the 19th century. The magazine was known for it’s honest portrayal of fine arts and opposition of both fake and mis-attributed Old Masters and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Each edition included art historical essays, engraved illustrations, and frank reviews of both exhibitions and art-related publications.

The 1878 edition of The Art Journal includes a catalogue of decorative arts displayed during the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) entitled “The Illustrated Catalogue of the Paris International Exhibition.”

The Parisian event (May 1 – November 10, 1878) celebrated the recovery of France following the Franco-Prussian War and was larger in scale than any exposition previously produced, covering over sixty-six acres. Extensive displays of architecture, fine arts, and machinery included the Avenue des Nations (Street of Nations), Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, Thomas Edison’s megaphone and phonograph, and the completed head of the Statue of Liberty. A startling thirteen million people are recorded as having paid to attend the event.

Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections & Archives copy of the text is particularly fascinating with its exquisite marbled endpapers and a disappearing fore-edge painting depicting Windsor Castle and Eton, both located in Berkshire, England, as viewed from the River Thames.

The Art Journal is available for viewing in the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room on the 3rd floor of Monroe Library, Monday – Friday, 9:00-4:30.

Alternatively, “The Illustrated Catalogue of the Paris International Exhibition” portion of the text is available to view online here.


Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.


While perusing the Booth-Bricker Special Collections and Archives Reading Room shelves, it is easy to stumble upon seldom-seen gems.

In addition to beautiful marbled endpapers, The History and Antiquities of the Abbey and Cathedral Church of Peterborough features a vibrant, disappearing fore-edge painting!

To discover your own “hidden treasure,” visit Special Collections & Archives on the third floor of Monroe Library Monday-Friday, 9:00-4:30.


Found in the Archives is a recurring series of crazy cool stuff found in the Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives.

Collection Spotlight: 111th Anniversary of Hearn’s Death

Today is the 111th anniversary of the death of the indomitable Lafcadio Hearn.

In honor of this day, please checkout this prior post on our Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence Collection.

This collection is housed in our Special Collections & Archives and available for your viewing Monday – Friday from 9:00-4:30.

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October 1: #AskAnArchivist Day

October 1 is #AskAnArchivist Day! Monroe Library Special Collections & Archives staff are eager to respond to any and all questions you have about archives and archival work. Tag us at @MonroeLibLoyno and use #AskAnArchivist.

What questions can be asked?
No question is too silly . . .

  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve come across in your collections?
  • If your archives had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
  • What do archivists talk about around the water cooler?

. . . and no question is too practical!

  • What should I do to be sure that my emails won’t get lost?
  • I’ve got scads of digital images on my phone. How should I store them so I can access them later on?
  • How do you decide which items to keep and which to weed out from a collection?
  • As a teacher, how can I get my students more interested in using archives for projects?

For more information, see the news release from the Society of American Archivists.