Curatorial collections include images and three-dimensional objects. Among the images are paintings, maps, vintage photographs and negatives, engravings, lithographs and other prints, and original drawings. Three-dimensional objects include sculpture, decorative arts, and memorabilia.
The Collection's many city images reflect the growth of New Orleans, one of America's oldest urban areas. Printed maps deal primarily with southeast Louisiana and New Orleans but include a selection of early maps of the New World, as well as original plats and plans of New Orleans and its surrounding area. Architectural drawings, including some by James Gallier, Sr., and Jacques N. B. dePouilly, and photographs or slides of most of the drawings in the New Orleans Notarial Archives are also available.
The internationally important collection of photographer Clarence John Laughlin contains more than 37,000 photographs and negatives. These include not only Laughlin's famous plantation and surrealistic photographs but images of early buildings in New Orleans and Victorian and commercial structures in Los Angeles, Chicago, Milwaukee, Houston, and other parts of the United States.
The Alfred R. Waud Collection includes about 1,800 drawings made for illustrations in Harper's Weekly and Every Saturday magazines. Many of these record New Orleans and its social life during Reconstruction; others depict the eastern states and the Midwest.
Extensive holdings of Mardi Gras ephemera include ball invitations and programs, carnival bulletins depicting parade floats from the mid-1870s to World War II, carnival jewelry and favors, and original designs for floats, sets, and costumes.
Paintings and three-dimensional objects by Louisiana artists are on display throughout the Collection's buildings and are available for research. The Louisiana artists files contain information on more than 20,000 artists and art organizations of national and local importance. Most of the printed holdings in the curatorial collection are retrievable through forty subject categories that reflect aspects of New Orleans life and history. A list of these categories is available upon request.
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