Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Medieval Silk

Housed up here in Special Collections & Archives are more than just books. With everything from photos to films to memorabilia to newspapers, there’s just as an expansive array of materials as there are subjects.

One such material can be found in Collection 62, a single box containing a moment in history shrouded in a dead language: three silk banners written in Medieval Latin produced in the 18th century to advertise various debates on matters of law.

1743 Banner Even to someone whose studied the language, it can be difficult to comprehend what “matters of law” could even be. The religious overtones are hard to miss, but the “conclusio” are a bit tricky. Academically, Classical Latin is what is taught to students wanting to pick up, say, The Aeneid, and read the original text. However, Medieval Latin is a very different matter. As stated by the name, it is the Latin taught and used during the medieval era for religious purposes, mostly for scripture transcribed by Catholic priests. Because it was not a commonly spoken language, nor anyone’s first language, the grammar of Medieval Latin, as opposed to Classical, tends to suffer.  That makes translators today a bit skeptical of any possible translations. 1727 banner

One possible translation for the text written in the bold at the top, as a sort of forward to following “conclusio”, is this (just to give you a sense of what’s going on):

“Beautiful as the moon
Noble as the sun
Mirror of sanctity
Miracle of virtues
Daughter of the Father,
Mother of divine words
Bride of the Holy Spirit
And finally virgin
Conceived without any of the original sin from the fall.
Conception of the Sacred Virgin Mary.
Singular, amazing, and without original sin”

Following this is the “epigrama”, a tale of a virgin conception of a child without original sin.

And then following this are the “conclusio”.  One can only assume that what this is referring to are the conclusions one can draw from said tale and what legal grounds they hold as such. In retrospect, such arguments used during a debate of law during the medieval era was common; there was no separation of church and state.

The first conclusion, “prima conclusio”, translates roughly to:

“Just as with life, apprehensive ownerships are acquired of properties, therefore opposed favor, and objection made shall oblige to the Defendant”

The next five conclusions follow the same pattern and tone.

This just being the first of three banners, all are similar in subject and language. For someone studying law debates of the medival era, these could certainly prove useful and an interesting read.

1747 banner

To check out these banners, all of the materials are available for viewing in Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 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.

This post was compiled by student worker Mary Graci.

Two Words: Oriental Stucco

Today we look at one of our more unique titles from the stacks Oriental Stucco.

This book was published in 1924 by the United States Gypsum Company for use by architects as well as to market a new kind of stucco called… wait for it… Oriental Stucco!

This stucco was made with a “list of ingredients” including concrete and most likely gypsum (given the name of the company) and other materials “perfected by modern scientific knowledge” that we are not privy too, but one thing that stands out as told in the Forward is the inclusion of plastic.


So what is so interesting about a book advertising different types of stucco?

The sample cards…

Not only does the manufacturer give you the history and quality of the various stuccos documented in the book, they also give you textured and colored examples of what the product could achieve aesthetically. Pretty handy when trying to decide the kind of wall treatment you want for a structure and still informative today as an example of trade advertising from the 1920’s.

Now to peruse a few of the stucco types presented in the book…

We have Greek stucco…

California Mission…

The California Mission stucco sample has the roughest texture which seeks to evoke a style that resulted from the tools being wielded by “unskilled” hands and the use of  “course and rough” materials.

Here is a close-up… Look at all that texture!

The most vivid color sample is the Early Italian… (though all of the stuccos where “made in white, and nine colors”)

If you would like to come browse this relic of product advertising from the roaring 20′s feel free to visit the Special Collections & Archives in Monroe Library Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 or Friday, 9:00-12:00.

In the meantime here is a link to a more concise version that was published in 1925 that has been digitized over at the INTERNET ARCHIVE and included in their Building Technology Heritage Library.

Before there was Street-View

Being a fan of travelling to new destinations but not being able to do so as often as I would like, I love being able to look at pictures of the places I wish to go.  Seeing places in a photograph allows you to imagine yourself seeing it in person for the first time, but with modern technology you can be right in front of that famous monument with just a click of a button thanks to developments such as Google’s Street-View option in their maps.

Although, in 1893 before the time of the internet, and back when travelling across the world was not as easily accessible, people relied on picture books such as Thomas Knox’s “Scenes from Every Land” to see the famous places they wished to travel. And those people who could not see these sites with their own eyes were exactly who this book was directed towards, as General Lee Wallace addresses in the introduction, “ To the few who have traveled; to the many who would like to go abroad, , but are restrained by timidity; to the lacking in funds; to the sick and convalescent who promise themselves sight of the world when health will permit; more especially, to the multitude of unfortunates, who, on account of incurable ailments of whatever kinds, can never hope to escape the narrow confines in which their lots are cast, I venture to address this introduction.”
Scenes From Every Land

This particular book holds over 500 pictures from around the world, from Syria to New Zealand and famous buildings to museum galleries, this book shows it all. But one thing that is interesting to wonder when flipping through the pages of this book is how many of these famous sites have changed since the late 1800s, and thanks to Google Street-View we are able to see just how different, if at all, things are. Just click the links below each picture to see how they are today.

Westminster Abbey, London

Westminster Abbey, London

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower, Paris

The Vatican, Rome

The Vatican, Rome

photobook blog post.15

The Colosseum, Rome

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Campanile, or Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

Court of Lions in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Court of Lions in the Alhambra , Granada, Spain

St. Basil

St. Basil, the Beatified, Moscow

Great Pyramid and Sphinx, Egypt

Great Pyramid and Sphinx, Egypt

Cleopatra's Needle, Alexandria, Egypt

Cleopatra’s Needle, New York

(The obelisk was originally in Alexandria, Egypt when this photo was taken but was later moved to Central Park in New York City in 1881)

photobook blog post.1

Washington Monument, Washington D.C.

“Mellows – A chronicle of unknown singers”

“It would appear superfluous to enter into any discussion on the origin, character or musical significance of the Negro spiritual, since the fact is so well established that it is an original lyrical creation of the Afro-American mind evolved in this country… but a few words may seem necessary in explanation of the name “mellows.”

Dialect is not the speech to which the Negro will cling; but for elemental poetry, poignancy and expressiveness it far excels purer speech, and in this his songs have that direct emotional utterance that belongs to all time, making the musical art productions of estimable value. These songs are known throughout the South as spirituals, “himes” and “ballets”: but the “mellows” and “make-up” songs of the Louisiana Negro claim a distinctive place. Mellow is the Negro word for melody, and by this term their devotional songs are called in southern Louisiana. So redolent of this quality are they that we are reminded of the words of Renan, speaking of Celtic melodies: ‘Like emanations from above they fall, drop by drop, upon the soul and pass through it like the memories of another world.””

- R. Emmet Kennedy, “Mellows” © 1925

As a casual fan of the Negro spiritual, having heard many of them wonderfully performed in voice master classes here at Loyola by friends of mine, I was excited to read and hum through the “mellows” Kennedy had transcribed directly from ancestors of the slaves that created them. His book presents some “mellows” as just text, some as transcribed melodies and some with full piano harmonizations (something someone could bring to a pianist if they wished to sing one of these slave songs). In each of the songs, the rhythmic and tonal manifestation of the plight of the slave is apparent. The melodies often include dissonances, expressing the pain and agony of their experience, while the rhythmic refrains (sometimes called “burdens”, isn’t that sad?) are repeated to the extent of yielding an intoxicating, incantatory effect on the listener and the singer- no doubt, a coping mechanism for the inhumane conditions we know them to have lived in.

The “mellows” of the Negro slaves can still be recognized as influences in music that came after that time. Dvorak’s New World Symphony (the symphony he wrote about coming to America) incorporates many mellows into its themes. Their influence is even literary, as Edgar Alan Poe admittedly used rhythms from slave songs in much of his poetry. Even the “blues scale” that we hear in much of today’s blues, jazz, rock and even pop music is arguably a manifestation and elaboration of those dissonances that were existent first in Negro spiritual. As horrific a time in our recent history it was, it is a time that is important to remember. We should be thankful to people like R. Emmet Kennedy, who have helped preserved the culture of an entire people and, therefore, contributed to the progression of our own.

“R. Emmet Kennedy’s life changed at the tender age of seven – the Sunday morning he first heard African-American spirituals sung ensemble at the New Hope Baptist Church on 7th Street. Emmet’s childhood friends and playmates were Sammy and Johnny Sparks, sons of Aunt Julie Sparks (Julie’s mother was Milleete Narcisse, formerly a slave on one of the plantations up-river from Gretna) who was one of the lead singers in the New Hope Baptist Church. The church was, and still is, on 7th Street, adjacent to the back yard of the Kennedy home.* ”

- Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), Saturday, November 22, 1941, Page:

*R. Emmet Kennedy (permanent) Exhibit at the Jefferson Parish Library, Gretna Branch located at 102 Willow Drive, Gretna, Louisiana – exhibit by Mr. J. B. Borel.

This post was compiled by student worker Dylan J. Tran.

Book model: Rachel Masters.

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

Beachcombing in the Archive

Even though the official start of summer isn’t till Sunday, the creeping thermometer mercury is already making getting to the beach a priority for many. Being able to cool down in some water and relax is enjoyable… Yet, experiencing the details of the seashore can often bring delight.

The scurrying of hermit crabs, witnessing dolphin acrobatics out from shore, building sand castles, or beachcombing for seashells, driftwood and sea glass enchant the beach goer turned weekend naturalist.

In this spirit and appreciation for the flora and fauna of the seashore, today I offer you some illustrations of shell fossils.

These are from the Report on the Agriculture and Geology of Mississippi By, B.LC. Wailes. Wailes was the Geologist of Mississippi when this was published in 1854.

These lithographs document the shell fossil deposits found a good 160 miles from the Gulf Shore.


Many of these fossils where found in strata revealed during the construction of railroads or the quarrying of stone for building in the area.


With sharks teeth being found in the strata of a quarry eight miles south of Jackson and large sea mollusks in a creek bed emptying into the Pearl River.

You can also beat the heat by visiting our Special Collections & Archives Booth-Bricker Reading Room to view this book and comb through other interesting volumes on the Gulf Coast region Monday – Thursday, 9:00 – 4:30 and Friday, 9:00 – 12:00.

Here is musical lagniappe from the Beach Boys. Enjoy!

Community and Resilience

Community and Resilience: A Participatory Exhibit

As part of the 2015-2016 Common Experience surrounding the documentary film Bury the Hatchet, you are invited to submit materials for inclusion in Community and Resilience: A Participatory Exhibit, which will appear in Monroe Hall, 1st floor, from August 2015 – May 2016.

More information is available on the Common Experience website.



Frankenstein Photos Found!

Today we take a look at a few interesting photographs we found while processing some of our University Archives images. These are from a drama department rehearsal for a production of Frankenstein in 1994.

The performance looks to have been a dynamic interpretation of the classic and fabled story written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly in 1818.

I did some preliminary research and was unable to find if a particular play was used for the basis of this performance.

The physicality in these photos does indicate perhaps that the direction was informed by The Living Theater version first performed in 1965.

The Living Theater production was known for being created collectively by the performers as well as for its inventive staging using a large scaffold.

Do any of our former drama students, faculty, or alumni remember this production? If so, please let us know in the comments.

Remember to check out our Research Guide for Theater and Dance and feel free to come check out the Special Collections and Archives this summer from 9-4:30 Monday through Friday and if you would like to see more images of Loyola’s past please visit our Digital Archives 24 hours a day.

#ForgottenBookmarks : Ask Dad, he knows

Today, Library Lagniappe is tracking the origin of one of our forgotten bookmarks.

When I first came across this 1.5 inch x 2.5-inch card between the pages of a German Bible months ago, I figured it was advertising something related to religion – possibly a hand out from a church service. A Google search months later revealed that the phrase ”Ask Dad, he knows” was actually an advertising tagline for a once popular brand of cigarettes called Sweet Caporal. As I researched further I found that this phrase was a key plot point in the Frank Capra film It’s A Wonderful Life.

The phrase can be seen on a sign hanging on the wall during the pivotal scene where George Bailey discovers his boss has accidentally mixed poison into a customer’s prescription.

Stay tuned for future #ForgottenBookmarks finds and other cool stuff found in our archives and be sure to come check out the Special Collections & Archives in person, Monday through Thursday 9-4:30.

And in the spirit of finding the wonder in the world, enjoy this musical lagniappe:

Making Gris-gris In 1943

Today we look to a student thesis from 1943 for our “How to Tuesday” inspiration.

“The Ramifications of Voodoo and Gris-Gris Into Some New Orleans’ Drug Stores” was written by a Loyola Pharmacy undergraduate. One aspect of this thesis looks at the uses, creation, and purchase of gris-gris in New Orleans as related to the pharmacy industry.

Gri-gris is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as:  an amulet or incantation used chiefly by people of black African ancestry.  This definition is a simplification of a practice that is part belief, part folk medicine, part magic and more.

Here are a few recipes pulled from the thesis research:

A highlight of the thesis is the inclusion of some ephemera and personal photographs related to their research.

Here are two photographs of oils and stones used in gris-gris creation:

And a business card advertisement from Billon’s Pharmacy in Gonzales, LA:

This thesis and many other cool and interesting finds are viewable in the Monroe Library Special Collections and Archives Monday- Thursday 9:00 – 4:30.

Here’s a fitting musical lagniappe for you. Enjoy!

Lafcadio Hearn Letters

Today we are highlighting pages 5-7 of Letter 24 from our Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence collection. This collection primarily consists of letters written between the years 1840-1896 from Hearn to Page Mercer Baker, a New Orleans newspaper founder, reporter and editor.

The Lafcadio Hearn was a reporter, writer, and world traveler who was born in Greece, spent his childhood in Dublin, Ireland, England, and emigrated to the United States living in Cincinnati, New York, and New Orleans to eventually live and be laid to rest in Japan. He is a truly fascinating literary figure known not only for his writing about the darker sides of life, black culture, Japanese ghost stories, and the macabre, but also his life spent as an outsider and traveler.

Follow these links to enjoy a fascinating 2-part radio documentary produced by RTE Lyric FM in Dublin, Ireland and learn more about Hearn’s life and work.

The letter was written in the month of June in 1887 days before he traveled from New York City to Trinidad aboard the Barracouta on an assignment for Harper’s Magazine. The resulting article “Midsummer Trip to The West Indies” appeared in the July 1888 issue of the magazine. Hearn’s excitement for his travel south is obvious as found in the prose of the letter.

Below you will find a transcription of the last 3 pages of the letter. Hearn writes Baker conjuring his connection to New Orleans  “I think I will feel when the steamer cuts the line of parallel with N. O.”   And writes further looking beyond the city with expectation of what he will experience during his travels “I will see New Orleans colors for awhile: – then stranger and weirder colors, and new sky, – unknown lights of another world. And it will be very hot, – as if one were getting closer to the breath of the world….”

Letter 24, pages 5-7

I am writing as usual in a hurry. One day more, Then South. I will pass you by again, and not see you, – but I think I will feel when the steamer cuts the line of parallel with N. O. Then, a few days more and I shall be more than a thousand miles south of you. All the way the sky will deepen it’s blue. – I will see New Orleans colors for awhile: – then stranger and weirder colors, and new sky, – unknown lights of another world. And it will be very hot, – as if one were getting closer to the breath of the world…. After all, I cannot say I feel glad at going. The sensation of belonging to nowhere, – of instability; – nothing solid or certain in life or work or effort, – always comes on one prior to seeking a strange latitude. You understand, as by some sudden revelation, what a monstrous whirl of dust and light all life is, and that you are but one atom of the eddy, – may be laid here, there, anywhere, – to rest a little, to struggle a little, or to shine a moment in the light; but sooner or later all the motes float into the darkness and the silence forever. Before, it will be some consolation to have seen what makes life and thought, – Light, in the most splendid aspect it can offer to human eyes.

Please don’t show my letter to anyone, outside Toledano and Prytania corner, – so that I can write to you just as I want

Always with love to you,

Lafcadio Hearn


You can find this letter in its entirety along with others in our Digital Library or come and view the complete Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence collection in person Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM in the Special Collections & Archives located on the 3rd floor of Monroe Library.