The Collins C. Diboll Vieux Carré Digital Survey an electronic version of the Vieux Carré Survey, allows users to access property data, photographs, plans, chain of title records, and citations, with the option to search by keyword, owners’ names, architectural rating, and even whether the owner was a free person of color. Begun in 1960 to bolster local historic preservation efforts, the Vieux Carré Survey is an extensive study of the properties within the French Quarter, referencing essential historical, architectural, legal and sociological data on individual lots and structures from the French colonial period to the present. The survey has information on every block of the French Quarter—maps, major site plans, old drawings, engravings, sketches, paintings, newspaper clippings, property records, photographs and more. This project was made possible in part through the generous financial support of the Collins C. Diboll Private Foundation.A Guide to French Louisiana Manuscripts
A Guide to French Louisiana Manuscripts: An expanded and revised edition of the 1926 Surrey Calendar with Appendices is an electronic version of Nancy Miller Surrey’s Calendar of Manuscripts in Paris Archives and Libraries Relating to the History of the Mississippi Valley to 1803 (Carnegie Institute of Washington, Department of Historical Research, Washington, 1926). Designed to assist researchers studying French colonial Louisiana, the guide not only details documents concerning the French experience in the Mississippi Valley in Paris repositories described in the 1926 publication, but also appropriate materials found throughout France.Artist Database
The Historic New Orleans Collection maintains a series of files on artists and art organizations that were/are active in New Orleans and the surrounding region. The Artist Files were initiated by Boyd Cruise, THNOC's first director. The institution continues to grow and expand the Artist Files, and today there are more than 15,700. They were used as the main source for the 1987 publication, Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists, 1718–1918. In the early 21st century, a Microsoft Access database was created to serve as an index to the files. Recently, THNOC combined data from the 1987 publication and the index to create a new searchable database known as the Artist Database. For each individual and organization, the database provides the name, active dates in New Orleans, place and date of birth and death, and artistic focus, along with a list of the contents of the individual’s/organization's Artist File and the abbreviated references cited in the encyclopedia.Louisiana Biography & Obituary Index
The Louisiana Biography and Obituary Index references obituaries and death notices published in New Orleans newspapers from 1804-1972 and biographical information published in older Louisiana collective biographies. It is a joint endeavor of The Historic New Orleans Collection and the New Orleans Public Library
LOUISiana DIGITAL LIBRARY
The LOUISiana Digital Library is an online library of more than 84,000 digital materials about Louisiana's history, culture, places, and people. The Historic New Orleans Collection has the five following collections available for searching on the LOUISiana Digital Library.
Charles L. Franck was a commercial photographer in New Orleans whose individual career and successors covered all but the first decade of the 20th century. In 1955, his studio was purchased by Albert Bertacci, who continued to operate within the same scope of assignments as Franck had done. Tens of thousands of photographs and negatives from the Franck and Franck-Bertacci studios, held at The Collection, chronicle the face and growth of Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, during the 20th century. The change of the city through its photographed character focuses on major industries (the port, construction, transportation) during a period of racial integration, labor disputes, and urban growth. Social and cultural events–Mardi Gras, weddings, private parties–all feature in the collection as well. As the Franck Collection approaches the present day, the photographs of major building projects (the Louisiana Superdome, bridges across the Mississippi River, nuclear power plants, and petrochemical complexes) touch on issues of suburban and exurban expansion, and environmental issues.
The London-born Wauds' specialty was producing drawings–from quick sketches to finished works–of places, people, and events assigned to them by editors. These drawings were the basis for wood-engraved illustrations in the periodicals published by their employers. Alfred Waud was hired by the New York Illustrated News in 1860, and he remained with the News for nearly two years covering the opening months of the Civil War before joining the staff of Harper's Weekly in early 1862. William Waud worked as a special artist during the Civil War for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. The Waud Collection presents a visually fascinating history of America in the mid-19th century, covering subjects as diverse as the reconstructed South and the townships that dotted both banks of the nation's largest river system.
The Historic New Orleans Collection's Anne and Dick Stephens Collection of Louisiana Decoys and Wildfowl Artifacts includes more than 300 hand-carved decoys and other works of art by southeastern Louisiana craftsmen. The collection celebrates the talent and dedication of the artists who devoted themselves to this region's distinct carving traditions.
Painting in Louisiana from The Historic New Orleans Collection consists of several hundred paintings, including oils and watercolors by Louisiana and Southern artists, owned by The Historic New Orleans Collection. The paintings held by The Collection have a pronounced historical interest, documenting persons, places, and events in Louisiana and by implication, the Gulf South. As a whole, the painting collection at The Historic New Orleans Collection forms a visual narrative of the origins and development of art and society in Louisiana.
Between 1916 and the mid-1930s, John Tibule Mendes (1888–1965) was a consistent and curious observer of life in New Orleans. The 609 gelatin dry plate negatives that form the Mendes archive were donated to The Historic New Orleans Collection by Waldemar S. Nelson in 2003. Waldemar and Opal Nelson were Mendes's neighbors and ultimately purchased his house, finding there a box containing his negatives. Mendes appears to have been purely an amateur photographer; his photographs capture children at play, Mardi Gras, street scenes, the demolition of historic buildings, and news events of his day. Although a handful of the negatives are signed by Mendes (as one would do in order to identify authorship upon publication), no records indicate that these photographs (or any others he made) were published in his lifetime.
The photographer's unillustrated self-published memoir, Dogs in My Life (1964), emphasizes the canine pets that served as Mendes's companions over the course of six decades, but also provides background information about his life. Photographs of dogs appear throughout the range of Mendes's work but are no more prevalent than his depictions of everyday life in early 20th-century New Orleans. The posthumously published Dogs in My Life: The Photographs of John Tibule Mendes (University of New Orleans Press, 2009) juxtaposes Mendes's autobiographical writings with photographs taken over the course of his career.
The Historic New Orleans Collection has extensive holdings of significant manuscript and printed maps. Acquisition was begun by The Collection's founder, General L. Kemper Williams, in the 1920s and '30s. Since then considerable additions have been made including a wide range of maps dating from early colonial times to the present.
The Historic New Orleans Collection is the major repository for the photographs and writings of pioneer surrealist and experimental photographer Clarence John Laughlin (1905–1985), a native of Louisiana. Included in this digital collection are master prints, work prints, unique collages, and color experiments, as well as selected images by other photographers. The Laughlin Collection chronicles an active career that stretched from the early 1930s through the late 1960s. Laughlin’s subjects include architecture and cemeteries of New Orleans, historic plantation architecture of southern Louisiana and the lower Mississippi valley, American Victorian architecture, contemporary architecture, interpretive photographic renditions of sculpture, and several series of symbolic photographs that use the camera to probe the subconscious mind.
The Classical Institute of the South (CIS) is dedicated to identifying and documenting fine and decorative art objects in the Gulf South and making that information available to all. CIS believes that objects are dynamic, provocative, and vital to understanding the past. Since the first Gulf South Field Survey in 2011, CIS fellows and staff have cataloged over 1,000 objects in private collections dating from the 18th century through the Civil War. The survey spans Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and CIS is continually expanding their reach throughout the region.
So far, the Gulf South Field Study has only scratched the surface of the rich cultural material that survives in the region. In addition to expanding into new physical areas, CIS also seeks to explore new material evidence of the cultural diversity represented in the Gulf South. As cataloging efforts continue, new information and images will be added to this database in order to draw attention to the objects and to the research possibilities that they present.
Such an undertaking would not be possible without the cooperation of willing homeowners and institutional partners. The CIS is pleased to participate in the active cultural community of the Gulf South region along with collaborators such as The Historic New Orleans Collection, the Louisiana State Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the LSU Museum of Art, the Historic Natchez Foundation, and others.