Posts Tagged ‘Archives’

Chin-Deep in Debris

Special Collections & Archives proudly presents Chin-Deep in Debris: A Katrina Retrospect One Decade Later!

Scheduled to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Chin-Deep in Debris: A Katrina Retrospect One Decade Later is a multi-media exhibit highlighting Loyola University’s resilient response to the Category 3 storm and the destruction left in its wake.

Featured within the exhibit are photographs by Harold Baquet and select publications of The Maroon and The Wolf. In addition, a number of interviews of the Hurricane Katrina Oral Histories Collection are available for viewing.

To read further on the topic of Hurricane Katrina as it relates to Loyola University, full editions of The Maroon published during the Spring 2006 semester can be accessed online here. Likewise, The Wolf (2006) can be viewed in its entirety here.

We sincerely hope that you join us on the 3rd floor of Monroe Library this semester! Special Collections & Archives is open for research and quiet study Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 and Friday, 9:00-12:00.

Sewerage and Water…oh my!

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For those of us who live in Southeastern Louisiana, the sewerage and water system has been on our minds quite a bit recently. But let us hearken back to a time when our sewage systems were new and “thoroughly equipped.” In 1914, the Hon. Martin Behrman, mayor of New Orleans, presented “A History of Three Great Public Utilities: Sewerage, Water and Drainage, and their influence upon the Health and Progress of a Big City” to the Convention of League of American Municipalities. According to Behrman’s speech, it was “not until 1900 that New Orleans could be said to have a drainage system.” Until that time, there were no sewers, and open canals and water cisterns were breeding grounds for mosquitoes–and the deadly Yellow Fever. The Sewer and Water Board and the Drainage Commission was created in 1899 to develop New Orleans’ first sewage system, and by 1900 a substantial part of the system was in operation.

New Orleans Pumping Station 1909

New Orleans Pumping Station 1909; image from Wikimedia Commons

Behrman’s speech goes on to detail the increased property value and reduced death rate in New Orleans as a result of the new system. Ironically, a year to the day after Behrman’s speech, the 1915 New Orleans Hurricane made landfall near Grand Isle and put all of the systems operated by the Sewerage and Water Board to the test. A report given by Mr. George G. Earl, General Superintendent of the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board, details failures by the pumping stations and recommendations for infrastructure improvements–including raising the levees.

Both reports have been transcribed in full and are available to read online:

A History of Three Great Public Utilities: Sewerage, Water and Drainage, and their influence upon the Health and Progress of a Big City

The Hurricane of Sept. 29th, 1915, and Subsequent Heavy Rainfalls

Both of these items are also available for viewing in the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room on the third floor of Monroe Library.

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

Help Yourself with the Last Self-Help Book

#howtotuesday: Help Yourself with the Last Self-Help Book

Why can you size up Saturn, or a stranger, in 10 seconds—but not yourself, whom you have known all your life?

Why is the Self the only object in the Cosmos which gets bored?

Why is it that the Self—though it professes to be loving, caring, to prefer peace to war, concord to discord, life to death; to wish other selves well, not ill—in fact secretly relishes wars and rumors of war, news of murders, obituaries, to say nothing of local news about acquaintances dropping dead in the street, gossip about neighbors getting in fights or being detected in sexual scandals, embezzlements, and other disgraces?

These are but a tiny sample of the questions posed by Walker Percy in Lost in the Cosmos: The Last-Self Help Book.

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book is a tongue-in-cheek, mock self-help text containing essays, multiple-choice quizzes, and “thought experiments” authored by past Loyola University New Orleans mentor and professor Walker Percy. The book, Percy’s most popular work of non-fiction, is formatted to satirize standard self-help books while encouraging readers to seriously contemplate their Self and existential situation. Percy embarks upon an array of topics—religion, science, movie trivia, fear, exhilaration, sex, boredom—and discusses both contemporary events and popular figures (e.g. Jonny Carson, Mother Teresa, and Carl Sagan).

Loyola University Special Collections & Archives holds nine copies of Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book—five copies feature the signature (and in a single case, a rather lengthy inscription) of Walker Percy with one additional copy being inscribed by the book’s editor, Robert Giroux.

Are you interested in taking “A Preliminary Short Quiz so that you may determine whether you need to take the Twenty-Question Self-Help Quiz” or courageously embarking upon Percy’s “Twenty-Question Multiple-Choice Self-Help Quiz to test your knowledge of the peculiar status of the self, your self, and other selves, in the Cosmos, and your knowledge of what to do with your self in these, the last years of the twentieth century?” If so, visit Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 or Friday 9:00-12:00!

For further study of Walker Percy, Loyola University Special Collections & Archives holds a significant amount of material relating to the author including the Walker Percy Papers, Percy-Walsh Correspondence, Percy-Romagosa Collection, Percy-Suhor Letters, and Patrick Samway, S.J Papers.

More Summer Fun

"Children's Art Classes - Cynthia Clark - teacher 1973 (summer)"

Students in Jackson Square, New Orleans

Golf

From "Loyola Men of the South."

To check out more images like these, visit the Loyola University Photographs Collection online or come to the Booth-Bricker Special Collections &Archives Reading Room on the third floor of Monroe Library.

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

New Orleans Opera Association Archives

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“The date of the very first staging of opera in the New Orleans cannot be firmly established and seems forever lost to music historians, but it can safely be stated that since 1796, in the final decade of the Spanish colonial era, New Orleans has had operatic performances on almost a yearly basis. With few exceptions throughout the nineteenth century, each year the city hosted a resident company which was engaged for its principal theatre and which could be depended upon for performances throughout an established operatic season…

Welcome though these sporadic appearances were, what the city needed was a return to a permanent company, with a fixed operatic season. Determined to meet this challenge, in February 1943 a group of music lovers, led by Walter L. Loubat (1885-1945), drew up a charter creating the New Orleans Opera House Association. An inaugural summer season of open air performances, billed as “Opera under the Stars”, in City Park stadium was planned. The inaugural bill of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci (June 11/12, 1943) was followed by three other works.  Amelio Colantoni served as artistic director; former Metropolitan Opera conductor Louis Hasselmans was recruited from nearby Louisiana State University’s faculty; and Lelia Haller, a New Orleanian who had danced with the Paris Opéra ballet, began the training of a resident corps de ballet.   The initial season scored a success, but the ever present threat of evening showers in semi tropical New Orleans prompted a move indoors to the Municipal Auditorium that autumn.  The concert hall of the Auditorium remained home for the Opera Association until the inauguration of the Theatre of Performing Arts in 1973.”

Jack Belsom, “A History of Opera in New Orleans.”

Here at Monroe Library’s Special Collections and Archives, we house a huge collection of programs, donated by the New Orleans Opera Association, dating back to that first performance “under the stars” in 1943. I have been lucky enough to have been allotted the task of digitizing this collection. Flipping through the beautifully vintage pages of these programs, one can recognize Loyola Alums credited as both chorus members and singing roles. Sarah Jane McMahon (’02), Norman Treigle (51’) and Bryan Hymel (’01) are just a few of the many recognizable names you can find. You can even find the names of superstars like Walter Cassel, Robert Weede, Eugene Conley, Lawrence Tibbett, Gabor Carelli and many more. Each program includes bios about the composers, conductors and singers involved in each performance, as well as a synopsis of the opera(s) being performed, and provides a neat insight to the life of those musicians. They also include some very hip ads from the time: a piano company that was based in New Orleans, local restaurants and eateries, clothing and jewelry stores, home radios, cars, theatres, etc…

Once the collection is digitized it will be made available and accessible through the SCA webpage. In the meantime, if you desire to hold one of these pieces of operatic history in your own hands, the same pieces of paper that were held by the hands of who-knows-who (perhaps a few of today’s New Orleans-hailing opera stars from their student days), then come by the Booth-Bricker Special Collections and Archives Reading Room on the third floor of Monroe Library to consult with one of our archivists. We will be happy to help!

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.

Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press & Artists’ Books

Special Collections & Archives proudly presents Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press & Artists’ Books!

Curated to highlight several exciting new additions to our book collection, Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press & Artists’ Books features the work of five contemporary artisans who uniquely reimagine text, illustration, and “book” form to create engaging works of art.

The exhibition is on view in the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room through July 31, 2015.

As always, all are welcome to join us in Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 and Friday, 9:00-12:00.

Special Collections & Archives Projects Assistant, Rachel, installing the exhibition.

Fine Press & Artists’ Books

So, what exactly are Fine Press & Artists’ books?

Artists’ books harmoniously combine content (both the written word and visual imagery), design, and form to share a message. Artists’ books can employ a wide range of forms, including, but not limited to, scrolls, foldouts, accordion style pleating, or loose items contained in a box.

Simply stated, Artists’ books are not books about art—they are art expressed in book form.

A Spring Garden

Similarly, Fine Press books, often valuable and intrinsically beautiful, harken back to centuries preceding the advent of mass production. They are composed of artist-selected content and are created on a small scale, with a limited number of copies.

A Sound Beyond – Un suono al di là

Both Fine Press & Artists’ books are generally printed on high-quality paper using equipment controllable by a single individual, usually a hand operated press.

Interested in learning more? Visit the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room over the next seven weeks to view this summer’s Special Collections & Archives exhibition, Recent Acquisitions: Fine Press  & Artists’ Books!

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

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.

World’s Worst Singer?

“Some may say that I couldn’t sing, but no can say that I didn’t sing.”

So said Florence Foster Jenkins, considered by some to be the worst soprano the world has ever seen. The brief celebrity of the “Diva of Din” was a pre-American Idol example of the public ironically supporting the less-than-talented. Though the facts of Jenkins’ early life are much debated, what is known is that she was a wealthy socialite who funded her own debut at Carnegie Hall in 1944. 5,000 people showed up for a 3,000 seat venue, and scalpers were able to sell their two-dollar tickets for $20. Her triumph was short-lived as she passed away only a month later.

In 1946, the Melotone Recording Studio published a brochure about Jenkins written by Milton Bendiner. The brochure includes quotes from the press as well as Jenkins’ supposed complete discography.

One excerpt in the brochure details Earl Wilson of the New York Post discussing Jenkins with her PR rep.

“I asked her personal representative, Sinclair Bayfeld, ‘Why?’

‘She loves music,’ he said.

‘If she loves music, why does she do this?’ I asked.

He said she uses proceeds to assist young artists and, incidentally, she walked away with about 4 G’s last night. Maybe the joke’s on us. None of us walked away from that with anything except a dizziness, a headache, and a ringing in the ears.”

Just how bad was Florence Foster Jenkins? You be the judge. Two of her most “famed” performances were of Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” aria and Delibes’ “Bell Song.” You can also listen to Jenkins’ album The Glory (????) of the Human Voice through Loyola’s Naxos subscription.

Jenkins’ life has inspired two plays, Souvenir and  Glorious!: The True Story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the Worst Singer in the World, and an upcoming movie starring Meryl Streep.

This pamphlet can be viewed in Special Collections & Archives or in the Louisiana Digital Library.

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

Summer Fun

Summer classes are in full swing, but hopefully Loyolans are still finding time for some fun this summer.

The original versions of these photos, and many more, can be found in the Loyola University New Orleans Photograph Collection.

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