Through the Williams Research Center (WRC) The Historic New Orleans Collection offers scholars access to extensive collections related to the Gulf South, particularly New Orleans and Louisiana. The professional curators, librarians, archivists, and reference assistants can connect researchers to our extensive holdings: over 30,000 library items, including books, pamphlets, sheet music, printed broadsides, theater programs, and periodicals; more than two linear miles of documents and manuscripts; and approximately 500,000 photographs, prints, drawings, and paintings. The Collection regularly adds to its research collections through purchase and tax-deductible donation.

The major research fields are colonial Louisiana, the Louisiana Purchase, the Battle of New Orleans, the Civil War, Mississippi River life, cartography, transportation, plantations, urban development, Louisiana artists and writers, architecture, the French Quarter, jazz and other forms of early New Orleans music, historic preservation, and Mardi Gras. The collections reflect aspects of the history and culture of the Gulf South, Louisiana, and New Orleans.  Most materials are available to researchers in our Reading Room.

Prior to opening the WRC, The Historic New Orleans Collection published Manuscripts Division Update an annual publication to acquaint scholars with the variety and depth of its manuscript collections available for research.  Since opening the WRC reference staff have developed pathfinders, to aid researchers in finding materials related to a specific topic.  The pathfinders provide links to resources held by THNOC as well as materials held by other institutions.  Subject bibliographies of published works relating to New Orleans and the Gulf South have also been created to aid researchers. Databases for finding information and resources inlcude an updated version of Nancy Miller  Surrey's Calendar of Mansucripts in Paris Archvies and Libraries Relating to the History of the Mississippi Valley to 1803,  The Collins C. Diboll Vieux Carré Digital Survey, The Louisiana Biography and Obituary Index, and the Artist Database.  To find what we may hold in relation to your area of interest, please explore the information and links here and our online catalog.



Some highlighted collections include the work of prominent artists and photographers; records from businesses, organizations, and families; and papers and memorabilia related to specific persons, events, or subjects. Click on the links below or do a search in our online catalog.

Notable Manuscript Collections

Paintings and Drawings


Architecture and Design

Rare Books




Many of The Collection's vintage prints, maps, and photographs are arranged and accessible via broad topical categories. Click on any of the following categories to find related printed views, original artworks, maps, photographs, and other visual material related to a topic of interest.

Advertisements Amusements Architecture -- Commercial Establishments
Architecture -- Public Buildings Architecture -- Residences Architecture -- Vieux Carré
Baton Rouge and Other Louisiana Cities Battle of New Orleans African Americans
Cemeteries Churches and Clergy City Views and Street Scenes
Civil War and Reconstruction Colonial History Disasters
Festivals Furniture and Art Objects Industry and Agriculture
Jackson Square Jazz and Storyville Levee Scenes
Maps -- 16th and 17th C. -- General Maps -- 18th C. -- General Maps -- 18th C. -- New Orleans
Maps -- 19th C. -- General Maps -- 19th C. -- New Orleans Maps -- 20th C. -- General
Maps -- 20th C. -- New Orleans Carnival and Mardi Gras -- Original Works Carnival and Mardi Gras -- Printed Works
Markets and Vendors Military Money
Parks and Monuments People Plantations
Portraits Restaurants and Hotels River Life
Rural Louisiana Steamboats and Steamships Theater and Performing Arts
Transportation Tug and Utility Boats West End and Spanish Fort


The WRC collects and makes available material in microform from other research repositories, publishers, and organizations. Film reels and microfiche can be used on our reader printers. A few examples of materials and collections available in microform include the following:

New Orleans city directories
Louisiana records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Louisiana materials from the French National Archives
Louisiana materials from the General Archive of the Indies in Seville, Spain (AGI) and the Cuban National Archives
Louisiana materials from the National Archive of the United Kingdom and other British archives and libraries
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and other selected atlases
New Orleans newspapers
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
National Register of Historic Places