Posts Tagged ‘Special Collections & Archives’

On this day in 1910: Marquette cornerstone

On November 13, 1910, prominent Catholics from around the country gathered here on Loyola’s campus for the laying of the cornerstone of Marquette Hall. According to the Times Picayune of November 14, the cornerstone contained the following items: A cross blessed by Pope Pius X, the names of ecclesiastical and civil authorities, the names of members of the Marquette Association, the names of benefactors and founders, the names of the members of the college faculty, the history of the Jesuit Fathers in Louisiana, the history and charter of the Marquette Association, a button signifying New Orleans as the logical point of the Panama Exposition, newspapers of the city and a letter from President Taft.

This image features the visiting dignitaries performing the Cornerstone Laying Ceremony in the shadow of the construction scaffolding for Marquette Hall. The building took less than a year to build, as classes were held there in September, 1911.

Here are some more images of Marquette in its early years from the University Photographs Collection in the Louisiana Digital Library.

Catholic Education Association on Marquette steps, 1913

Loyola University classes of 1912 and 1913

Students on Marquette, 1920s

Circa 1920 radiotelegraph class in the WWL station, housed at Marquette

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

New Norman Treigle exhibit

Treigle as Boito's Mefistofele

Dr. Valerie Goertzen’s Intro to Graduate Studies class has been hard at work this semester researching the life and career of Loyola graduate and local and international opera star Norman Treigle with archivists Trish Nugent and Elizabeth Kelly. The culmination of this project is the exhibit “The Golden Voice of New Orleans,” now available for viewing outside Special Collections & Archives on the third floor of the library.

The students in Intro to Graduate Studies did original research using the manuscript materials in the Norman Treigle Papers as well as secondary research using Brian Morgan’s biography Strange Child of Chaos: Norman Treigle.

There will be an Opening Reception Wednesday, 11 November 2015, 11:30 a.m., outside Special Collections, Monroe Library 3rd floor. All are welcome to join us for snacks.

Treigle studied at Loyola from 1949-1951 and went on to an illustrious career in North America and Europe. The exhibit explores Treigle’s career as well as his personal life through the variety of materials in his collection including journals, performance scores, costumes, images, correspondence, and more.

The exhibit will be on display through the end of the Fall semester. Thank you to the first-year Master of Music in Performance students for their great work on this project.


Intro to Graduate Studies class with Special Collections staff

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.


UP000111 Monroe3


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.

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.

lafcadio hearn

The Angolite: The Prison News Magazine

The Angolite is one of our most unique periodicals at Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives. Its uniqueness comes in part from the fact that the publication is inmate produced at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, LA.


The Louisiana State Penitentiary AKA Angola (also known as “The Farm”) is the largest correctional facility in the United States by population and has the highest number of inmates with life sentences. It is a working farm, has a prison rodeo, a museum, and an inmate operated radio station KLSP. This publication covers the history of the Louisiana Prison System as well as internal events and programs, creative writing and poetry, outreach events, and initiatives to help the formerly incarcerated and families of those who are incarcerated.


This award winning magazine is published bimonthly and 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.

If you are interested in learning more about Angola, there is a fascinating documentary called The Farm: Angola USA available for check out from Monroe Library.

Collection Spotlight: The Basil Thompson Papers

Basil Thompson (1892 – 1924) was born and raised in New Orleans and was a prominent literary figure in the city post World War I until his untimely death at the age of 31 from pneumonia. He was a published poet as well as an editor and founder of the small but influential New Orleans literary magazine, The Double Dealer.


(Picture of Basil Thompson in 1908 2nd from left in the front row. Thompson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola in 1910.)

Our Basil Thompson Papers collection housed in our Special Collections & Archives at Monroe Library offers insight into Basil’s literary career, his early childhood, and his family’s history. Through correspondence, personal diaries, scrapbooks, and ephemera, details of Thompson’s life emerge. The contents of this collection not only come from Basil Thompson’s hand but also from other family members such as his father New Orleans insurance man, T. P. Thompson, his sister Ida Marie Thompson Zorn, and Susan Blanchard Elder, the mother of T.P. Thompson’s first wife and a writer and lyricist of some note.

Postcards, letters, publications, diaries, journals, scrapbooks, and photographs flesh out this collection offering fascinating insight into the life and work of a well-known member of the New Orleans literary community and a family’s history.

Here are some images of one of Basil Thompson’s childhood scrapbooks (an analog version of a modern day Facebook or Tumblr page). These are filled with pictures of exotic locations, cards, ticket stubs, poetry, antidotes, and members of his favorite baseball team.





(Images of one of Basil Thompson’s childhood scrapbooks from The Basil Thompson Papers, Box 4, Folder 4)

For further research on Thompson we also have some original issues of his The Double Dealer magazine as well as a 4-volume complete reprint available in our holdings in the Special Collections & Archives. This distinctive publication sought to establish literary legitimacy for the South (as directly motivated by H.L. Mencken’s scathing essay from 1917 on the culture of the South, “The Sahara of the Bozart”) while rooted in the unique character specific to the city of New Orleans.

Published in New Orleans on Baronne Street from 1921 to 1926, The Double Dealer was exceptional during its time not only due to its publication of women writers and African American writers, but also for its printing of modernism and experimental writers framed within a purposefully classical context. This balance bolstered The Double Dealer‘s intentions (as characterized by its subtitle) of being “A National Magazine From The South”.


The Double Dealer was a significant part of the Southern Renaissance that occurred between the wars with a roster of contributors that include William Faulkner, Ezra Pound, Thornton Wilder, Sherwood Anderson, Djuna Barnes, Ernest Hemmingway, Robert Penn Warren, among many notable others. Its contributions to the literary culture of New Orleans can be traced to the creation of other magazines such as The Southern Review and The Outsider.

The Basil Thompson Papers and The Double Dealer are available for viewing in the Booth-Bricker Special Collections & Archives Reading Room on the 3rd floor of the Monroe Library, Monday – Friday, 9:00-4:30.

The Art of Fore-edge Painting

Today, our exploration of Special Collections & Archives uncovers seldom-seen examples of disappearing fore-edge paintings!

Fore-edge painting, simply put, is the technique of applying paint to the edges of the pages of a book. Two types of fore-edge paintings survive, including those applied to closed fore-edges (visible) and adversely, applied to fanned fore-edges (disappearing).

Above: The Pilgrim’s Progress: In Two Parts

While visible fore-edge painting dates back (possibly) as far as the 10th century with the earliest signed and dated example citing 1653, the techniques employed to create mysterious, disappearing fore-edge paintings developed slightly later and reached peak popularity during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Above: The Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier

In order to produce a disappearing fore-edge painting, a skilled artisan renders the desired scene on the fanned pages of a manuscript using watercolor pigment. After the paint has thoroughly dried, the book is closed and subsequently, gold is applied to the fore-edges. The watercolor painting is thus rendered “invisible” by gilding and only becomes visible when the text’s pages are fanned.

Above: The Poetical Works of John Milton

These and several other fore-edge painted books gems are available for viewing in Special Collections & Archives Monday-Thursday, 9:00-4:30 and Friday, 9:00-12:00! You can also learn more about the history and production techniques of fore-edge painting by perusing books like this one.

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.

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.

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!