Archive for the ‘Found in Archives’ Category

Top Tumblr Collections

The Hagley Museum and Library in Delaware included the Monroe Library Special Collections & Archives in its 2015 list of top museums, libraries, and collections on Tumblr.

Their list was inspired by lists put together by the University of Reading Museums and Collections, the Othmer Library of Chemical History, the Decker Library at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and Harvard Divinity School’s Historical Collections and Manuscripts and Archives.

Read the post to see some other amazing cultural heritage institutions using Tumblr, and check us out while you’re at it!

Found In The Archives: A Christmas Letter Recipe

Today we offer you a Christmas Letter we came across in our Anthony J. Stanonis Collection.

The Anthony J. Stanonis Collection contains correspondence, daily calendars, diaries, journals, pocket notebooks, photograph albums and scrapbooks related to travel, tourism and daily life as recorded by the creators of the items.  Albums and scrapbooks related to travel cover regional and cross-country trips in the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe by automobile, train, plane and boat. The date range of the collection spans from 1890 to 1987, but the bulk of the traveling ranges from the 1930s to the 1960s. All items were bought by Anthony J. Stanonis from eBay for academic research related to travel and tourism.

When you take holiday themed stationary

+ a pinch of foul language (and questionable grammar)

+ a hand drawn cartoon (and holly identified as spinach)

You get = A festive holiday letter between friends

christmas letter

The letter reads:

Dear Duke,

You are sweet. So I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and the Happiest Damn New year you most ever had.


To look at this and other letters, scrapbooks, and travel diaries from the Stanonis Collection please visit the Special Collections and Archives Booth-Bricker Reading Room, Monday-Friday from 9:00-4:30.

Spotlight on Collections: Robert Giroux Book Collection

Today is the 47th anniversary of the death of religious writer, social activist, and Trappist monk, Thomas Merton.



The intimate Merton : his life from his journals 1st pbk. ed.

Merton (January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968) wrote on both Eastern and Western religious thought as well as meditations, journals, and essays on social justice and peace. He is considered one of the most important spiritual writers of the 20th Century. Merton’s best-known book is The Seven Storey Mountain, an autobiography about his childhood and subsequent conversion to Catholicism at age 23. Edited my Robert Giroux, this book went on to become a best seller with all Merton’s earnings going to the Gethsemani monastery in New Haven, Kentucky due to his vow of poverty upon entering the order.

Please follow this LINK to look at all the volumes by and about Thomas Merton as included in our Robert Giroux Book Collection.


Photo: Special Collections and Archives Loyola New Orleans

For an extensive bio on Merton please follow this LINK to the excellent one located at the Poetry Foundation.

This collection is available for research in the Special Collections and Archives Booth-Bricker Reading Room, Monday-Friday from 9:00-4:30.

Newsboys’ Home

Today in Found in the Archives we take a look at An Account of the Newsboys’ Home, New Orleans, LA.

The small pamphlet, available in Special Collections and Archives and online at the Louisiana Digital Library, details the life of the some of the young boys working on the streets on New Orleans in the late nineteenth century.

As strange as it may seem now, these often homeless children were fixtures on the streets when the pamphlet was published was in 1899. Written by Rev. A.C. Porta, S.J., the Account begins:

“Of the many creatures we see around us endowed with the power of locomotion, there is none whose nature is so little known as the barefooted, flitting, noisy, ubiquitous newsboy. To the casual observer he is a compound of cat and monkey, with a strong admixture of quicksilver. In the opinion of many the newsboy has no father, no mother, no brothers, no sisters,  no cousins, no friends, no particular home…Alas! the want of a home and the lack of friends are but too often sad undeniable facts. ”

Rev. Porta described a well appointed refuge for the children, managed by the Sisters of Mercy and located at what is now 324 Picayune Place. Featuring a “beautiful” chapel, large gymnasium, clean kitchen and tidy dormitories, the home provided to the newsboys also offered two hours a day of schooling.

The Account strives to be lively and quotes the newsboys at length, attempting to recreate their style of speech. One intriguing section describes a band the children had assembled:

“What are you doing here?” I asked one of them. “We was listenin’ ter de ‘Spasm Band,’ Fawder,” he answered pointing to the boys on the bench. “‘Spasm Band!” I exclaimed. “And what is that?” “Oh! It’s dem fellers who has got introoments made wid soap and cigar boxes, and mouf harmonica and tamboureen, and was givin’ us a concert.”

[The Spasm Band was  apparently well known in  the city. See this blog post for more information.]

The Newsboys’ Home closed it’s doors in 1917, but you can read the account anytime at the Louisiana Digital Library or in person in Special Collections & Archives. Located on the third floor of Monroe Library, we are open for research and quiet study 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.

Spotlight: H.L. Mencken Letters

Sometime in 1927 Lou Wylie submitted a poem to The American Mercury, a leading journal of letters and opinion. On September 26, 1927 H. L. Mencken, editor of that magazine, wrote Wylie that her poem had been accepted and would appear in a forthcoming issue. Thus began a correspondence between the two that lasted over twenty years. The H.L. Mencken Letters collection preserves one side of that exchange–the letters written to Wylie by Mencken.

Wylie must have been flattered by Mencken’s interest, for by 1927 he had established himself as one of the nation’s leading writers.  Born in Baltimore in 1880, he began his career in 1899 as a police reporter on one of the local newspapers. His subsequent labors on one or another of the Baltimore dailies–as reporter, columnist, or editor–won him recognition as a talented and prolific journalist. In 1924 he helped found The American Mercury and served as its editor from 1924 to 1933. In addition, he found time to write many books, including The American Language, an important study of the English language in the U.S.

This prodigious output was marked by Mencken’s aggressive iconoclasm and by his gift for invective; he was a formidable polemicist whose combative prose mocked the sacred and the conventional in American social, political, and literary life.

He was also an effective champion of aspiring writers. As the nation’s most powerful literary critic, he discovered or brought to national prominence such talents as Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, and Theodore Dreiser and encouraged others whose names and contributions have since been forgotten. Lou Wiley was one of the latter. She was probably born in Kentucky at the end of the nineteenth century. By 1927 she was a reporter and feature writer on New Orleans’s leading newspaper, the Times-Picayune. At the behest of a Times-Picayune superior, she shortened her name from Louise to Lou because, as she recalled years later, “I was taking over a feature signed by a man and he seemed to think it would [lose] effectiveness with a feminine by-line.”

But whatever the attractions of New Orleans, in 1928 Wylie moved to New York City, where she worked as a journalist and publicist. At some point she married–Mencken began to address her as Mrs. Van Sicklen in 1941–though that union apparently dissolved in 1949. About 1941 she returned to New Orleans, where she handled publicity for Pan American Airways. Over the years she maintained her literary ambitions, but her accomplishments were apparently modest. During Mencken’s tenure as editor, however, The American Mercury did publish at least two of her writings–the poem “Psalms of Love” appeared in the January 1928 issue; and the short story “Dance-Hall Lady” appeared in the July 1933 issue. The relationship between Mencken and Wylie was confined to correspondence; the two never met. Mencken’s letters to her were, in general, brief notes” usually no more than a 3 couple of short paragraphs. In them he often encouraged her literary efforts and suggested publications to which she might submit material, and he often commented with mordant humor on topics as varied as publishing, literature, politics, religion, and his own health. His last letter to her was dated November 15, 1948.

H.L. Menken’s papers were given to the New York Public Library – including Lou Wylie’s letters to Mencken – where they can be accessed today. Ms. Wylie declined to send her side of the correspondence to be a part of the collection, however. As she wrote in the journal Menckeniana in 1971:

” Original letters contain something of the person who writes them. My Mencken letters contain much to make their author come alive. I decided to keep them  in New Orleans. I presented then to Loyola University. There they are, in the library, for anyone who wants to meet him through his own words.”

Come and meet H.L. Mencken through his words in Special Collections & Archives, located on the third floor of Monroe Library, Monday-Friday, 9:00-4:30.

Bonus Video – The only recording of Mencken:


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

Collection Spotlight: Anthony J. Stanonis Collection

Anthony J. Stanonis received a B.A. in history from Loyola University New Orleans in 1997, then an M.A. in 1998 and a Ph.D. in 2003, both in history, from Vanderbilt University. Stanonis’s research interests have centered on the cultural and economic implications of urban tourism. While researching the history of tourism in New Orleans for his dissertation, he acquired an assortment of artifacts generated by that city’s tourist industry. His research resulted in the publication of his book, Creating the Big Easy: New Orleans and the Emergence of Modern Tourism, 1918-1945, published in 2006 by the University of Georgia Press.

This collection comprises Stanonis’s personal acquisitions of materials pertaining to the New Orleans tourist industry. It includes guides, maps, brochures, books, and other literature put out by public and private groups and businesses, spanning roughly from 1902 to 1960.

Special Collections & Archives, located on the third floor of Monroe Library, is open for research and quiet study 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.


The following (utterly charming) film, Art of the Marbler, allows us to follow the production of marbled paper as executed by William Chapman, an artist employed by Douglas Cockerell and Son.

The video was produced by the Bedfordshire Record Office in 1970 and published via the Bedfordshire Archives Youtube channel in 2013.

To examine a selection of beautifully marbled papers firsthand, drop by Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections & Archives on the 3rd floor of Monroe Library Monday-Friday, 9:00-4:30.

Charles Bukowski

This is such a cool book, I don’t even know where to begin.

So, there’s this couple- John and Louise “Gypsy Lou” Webb. They founded a publishing company called “Loujon Press” in the early 60s which created this magazine called “The Outsider” which was responsible for much of the popularization of the work of Charles Bukowski (I’ll talk about him later).

During the day, Gypsy Lou would sell paintings on street corners, but at night- her and John were setting the type on an outdated 19th century clamshell press for what became Bukowski’s first published collection of works. Each and every page of the 777 copies was hand printed and crafted in their crummy apartment on Royal St. in the Quarter. One of the last pages in this book is an account from John and Louise, discussing the conditions they were working in- how “bugs flew & walked into the running press to be ground up into ink” and “lovemaking rodents scattered alphabets in the typecases” and how the walls caught fire multiple times due to aged wiring. So bohemian. Ultimately, they very much valued the experience,”-we’ve nothing at all to complain about: the experience was unforgettable, one that could not be bought for gold – nor sold to the devil.”

Bukowski was a prolific, underground writer- a cult hero of sorts- whose work was usually an allegorically auto-biographical perception of the depravity the urban and downtrodden in American society. His language was direct and he often made use of violent and sexual imagery. This style and content was seen by some as offensive, others called it a satire on the “machismo attitude”. I think it is merely the result of an artist drawing from his vernacular. This really gave his poetry such a sense of realism and humanity, though, you read it and it speaks like a human, like an old friend. John William Corrington (literary critic) called it “the spoken voice nailed to the paper.” Bukowski’s colloquialism and evasion of standard convention allowed him a flexibility and versatility that few poets had, that is to say no topic was beyond or below his ability- he could really write about anything.

Either way, his “offensive” style and vocabulary led him away from larger companies and into the arms of Loujon Press. This, to me, seemed like a very fortunate happenstance- for both parties.

The copy we have in Special Collections and Archives is signed by Charles Bukowski himself and even includes a thank-you-note written by him to Jon and Louise Webb.

Cool, cool stuff. Shout-out to Trish for showing me this book.

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

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

52nd anniversary of JFK assassination

This Sunday, November 22nd, marks the 52nd anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. While it may be widely known that Lee Harvey Oswald spent time, on and off, living in New Orleans, there is a whole string of other connections that may not be as well known. Two books in the Special Collections and Archives are focused completely on the ties New Orleans has to the assassination of President Kennedy beyond Lee Harvey Oswald. And oh, what a tangled web it is.

Mafia Kingfish: Carlos Marcello and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy”, by John H. Davis, focuses on the Mafia boss Carlos Marcello and his feud, and eventual deep-seeded hatred for Attorney General Robert Kennedy. A hatred that ran so deep, it may have sparked the revenge plan to have President Kennedy assassinated and enlisted Oswald as a scapegoat.

False Witness: The Real Story of Jim Garrison’s Investigation and Oliver Stone’s Film JFK”, by Patricia Lambert, tells the entire story of Clay Shaw, “who was arrested and charged with conspiracy in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.” Jim Garrison’s determination to pin down Shaw for conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy is discussed in great detail. Many years after the hype died down, in 1990, Oliver Stone’s film JFK was released with Kevin Costner playing Garrison, reigniting the world’s interest in this case.

We have a few other interesting pieces in the Special Collections and Archives. There is an issue of The Loyola Maroon from December 6, 1963 featuring a few photographs of students from the days following President Kennedy’s assassination.

One final, slightly eerie, piece is “Oswald: Self Portrait in Red”, a vinyl featuring Lee Harvey Oswald speaking on a New Orleans public affairs show in the days prior to November 22, 1963.

You can listen to the audio here (side 1) and here (side 2).

Posted by student worker Samantha

Making Notes

Here in the Loyola Special Collections & Archives, we have a huge number of currently unprocessed negatives dating as far back as the 1940s.While cataloging these photos, I’ve had the chance to see how the university has changed, with different clothes and haircuts going in and out of style, buildings being built and knocked down, and a thousand faces passing in and out of photos. Thankfully, some parts of Loyola remain the same, regardless of the year. Music is one such part.

Walking around campus today, you’ll see people carrying instrument cases, hear drums emanating from the chapel in Bobet Hall, and see people listening to headphones everywhere. The overabundance of music is one of the reasons that people attend this university.  Thankfully, music has always been a big part of Loyola life, dating back to the very start of the university.

Jazz Combos, symphonic bands, even bass trumpet ensembles (as seen above) have graced the people of New Orleans with a cacophony of different musical sounds.

Most of the photos I’ve had the pleasure of looking through capture the beauty of musical creation, and the camaraderie that comes from playing music together. Every now and then, though, you come across a rare gem that reminds you just how much time have changed .

Sometimes it is hard to remember the thousands of students that came before us, who left the legacy of musical excellence. When we visualize them, we think about classical music and poise and sometimes forget that these were young adults, too, the same age as many of us are now. So of course there has to be a kid with a ukelele.

Written by Mercedes Sandoval, freshman at Loyola University.