One of my more exciting projects this summer is working in the Loyola Special Collections & Archives department at Monroe Library. I first learned how to navigate a library via the Dewey Decimal System during my kindergarten year at Hynes Elementary School in Lakeview. There is nothing quite like the thrill of researching, seeking, and finding sources in the library. Those moments when you get lost in shelves because there are more books than you thought there would be on your topic or even a topic you had not considered; the sounds of silence; the scents of the books…I could go on forever about the joys of ‘the library’! Monroe Library at Loyola is an unforgettable one. There has always been a special little place in my heart, where I’ve imagined myself a librarian. Here I am. Tucked away on the third floor, in a quiet and magical place is: The Special Collections and Archives Department. I was hired to take on this part time position as a student worker and am receiving a music industry internship credit. The people I work with are as lovely as they are intelligent (and librarians are very smart, duh!). We all wear sweaters not because sweaters complete the “adorable librarian” look, but because most of the collections in our in our department are extremely old and in order to best preserve them, temperatures are set very low.
My journey in the archives began and will end with the New Orleans Opera Association. My primary job this summer is to search through the extensive New Orleans Opera Association archives and find interesting photos, documents, programs, etc. to display in the New Orleans Opera Association exhibit coming this Fall 2016! What seemed a daunting and vague task (as SA&C has almost 100 boxes of NOOA historical content) has turned into one of the most interesting and exciting research projects I’ve ever encountered! The timeline I am working with is from February 1943 – the beginning of the New Orleans Opera House Association – to the early 2000′s. This collection is over flowing with unique photographs, hand painted or sketched set designs, amusing correspondence, quaint scrapbooks, and reel to reel recordings of performances as old at 1947!
This is my Grandfather. He is one of my most favorite people and he was active with the New Orleans Opera Association for over thirty-five years. From the 1953-54 season as a supporting baritone role; through the 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s as stage and/or artistic director; and from 1998 until his death in 2005 he served as the Emeritus Director of the association. What a handsome guy! Though he always told me, “Everyone looks better when they’re younger.”
This project has only just begun. I am looking forward to another month in the Monroe Library researching, seeking, and finding…
Written by Student Worker and Intern, Gloria S. Cosenza.