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  • North Carolina Office of Archives and History

    HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS IN NEW ORLEANSAuthor(s): John S. KendallSource: The North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. 7, No. 4 (October, 1930), pp. 463-476Published by: North Carolina Office of Archives and HistoryStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23515093 .Accessed: 10/06/2014 12:35

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    By John S. Kendall

    In spite of the ravages of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and

    the carelessness and ignorance .of state and city officials since then, the primary material for a history of Louisiana is still to he found

    in New Orleans in considerable quantity. Part of this exists in the

    archives at the City Hall, part in the State Museum, housed in the

    Cabildo, on Jackson Square; part in the custody of the Louisiana

    State Historical Society, quartered on the top-floor of the same

    edifice ; and the remainder in private collections not easily accessible

    to the student. It is regrettable that Tulane University, the logical

    agency for the collection of this matter, has been prevented by a lack

    of funds from taking part in the work. No service more useful to

    the community could be done than for some wealthy individual to

    endow a department of Louisiana History at this institution, with the

    express object of bringing together, in one easily accessible spot, in

    original or in copy, the documents, etc., on which the inevitable re

    writing of the history of the State must be based.

    The most important group of manuscripts in New Orleans at

    the present time is the collection of legal documents in the custody of the State Museum. These are the records of the French colonial

    Superior Council and the Spanish colonial judicial records. They are housed in a building adjoining the Cabildo, generously presented to the Museum by the late W. R. Irby. Here, under the direction of

    Henry P. Dart, archivist of the Louisiana Historical Society, a

    calendar of these documents is being prepared, the French by Mrs.

    H. H. Cruzat, and the Spanish by Miss Laura Porteus. This work

    of cataloguing and indexing these papers has been in progress for

    many years. It was begun in the early part of the present century, under the auspices of the Historical Society, and carried on until a

    lack of funds interrupted it. In 1920 it was resumed with means

    contributed by Mr. Irby, at which time Mr. Dart was put in charge. Under Mr. Dart's direction the scope of the work was extended, and

    the Spanish records were brought under examination for the first



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  • 464 The North Carolina Historical Review

    Mr. Irby's gift was by its terms recognized to be insufficient. It

    was, in fact, intended merely to give the work an impetus, in the

    hope that in this way attention could be attracted to it, and further

    assistance, either from other private benefactors or from the State, would provide for its completion. The Irby gift was exhausted in

    1925. The State Museum thereupon came to the rescue, and it

    seems now, under its auspices, this difficult and enormous labor will

    not again be interrupted. The publication of the calendar of this collection of documents

    was begun under the direction of Miss Grace King, in the Louisiana

    Historical Quarterly in November, 1916, and then continued in

    January, 1917, in accordance with the enlightened policy of its

    then editor, the late John Dymond. It has been continued on a more

    elaborate scale since the death of Mr. Dymond, in 1922, when he was

    succeeded in the editorial control of this magazine by Mr. Dart.

    The French calendar lias thus been printed down to and including

    June, 1743. The remaining twenty-five years of the French colonial

    era have also been indexed, though partially. This was done by Wil

    liam Price, who had charge of the work prior to the date when Mrs.

    Cruzat and Miss Porteus were enlisted therefor. At the time when

    Mr. Price undertook the task, it was expected that only an index to

    the subject matter would be necessary; but as the work proceeded, it

    was seen that, in order to be of real value, its scope in each section

    would have to be broadened, and it now includes a succinct statement

    of the contents of each recorda statement necessarily succinct, or

    the vast number of these papers would make the completion of the

    undertaking something not to be looked for within the present

    generation. The Spanish Index, or Calendar, has likewise been printed in the

    Quarterly, beginning with the number for January, 1923. This

    record, which now forms a feature of each issue of this magazine, has been carried as far as May, 1776. The remaining twenty-seven years of the Spanish period have still to be compiled.

    It is not too much to say that the investigation of these records, as far as it has gone, has changed our ideas regarding the colonial

    history of Louisiana, and made necessary the eventual retelling of

    many chapters of the story. This is especially true of the Spanish time. The Spanish records begin with some scraps of material

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  • Histokical Collections in New Oeleans 465

    relative to the legal investigation of the personal affairs of the

    Intendent Foucault, initiated shortly after the arrival of Governor

    O'Reilly, in 1769. There is, however, nothing regarding the prose cution of Lafrenire and his associates, accused of rebellion against the Spanish government; these men were tried before special tribu

    nals, created for the purpose, and the original proces-verbals of the

    proceedings are extant in France and Spain. The first document in the Louisiana State Museum collection,

    in the Spanish section, is the original oath of allegiance of the

    inhabitants of Pointe Coupee and Fausse Rivire (two old Louisiana

    settlements), dated September 10, 1769. Then follow numbers of

    notarial acts, found among the court records, some sewed together in paper covers and arranged in strict chronological order. These

    documents were evidently overlooked when, years ago, the French

    and Spanish notarial acts of the colonial period were bound and

    turned over to the custodian of Notarial Records of the Parish of

    Orleans, and archived by him at the new court building, in New


    It is impossible in the narrow limits of the present article to

    enumerate a tithe of the documents already available in the Spanish section of the Calendar, but we may instance a few, as showing in

    a general way the nature of the material thus being made available.

    There is, for example, a conventional special mortgage by authentic

    act, dated February 27, 1787, based upon a security on real estate

    created by a contract before a Notary Public. This is of value as

    showing that, even at this early date, the essential forms of mortgage in Louisiana were the same as those of any similar instrument in

    1930. We have also the complete documentation of the trial of Mary

    Glass, for murder, in 1780, interesting because the crime was com

    mitted in "English Pointe Coupee in the District of Baton Rouge," after the capture of Baton Rouge by Glvez, but while the English officers were still permitted to exercise their functions. The last

    document in the set describes the execution of Mary Glass, who,

    by the way, was a "free quadroon" from the "North of the Caro

    linas." She was hanged in the public square in New Orleans July

    26, 1781, before "a considerable concourse of people." Another interesting document is the record of a case involving the

    use of torture in criminal proceedings in Louisiana in 1771. This

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  • 466 The North Carolina Historical Review

    is from the files of the Governor's Court, and is entitled "The

    Criminal Proceedings officially Brought to Find the Aggressor who

    killed Juan Baptiste Cezaire Lebreton, on the night of May 31 just

    passed, by the discharge of a gun." It established under the signa ture of the judge and the prosecuting officers that the rack was used

    to extract a confession from two Negro slaves upon whom suspicion had fallen.

    A considerable portion of the Spanish records, of course, deals

    with matters of minor interestwills filed for probate, suits for

    debts, etc. Some of these, however, in spite of the relatively unim

    portant character of the subject, have interest and value as illustrating

    points in Spanish legal procedure, often of significance for the proper

    interpretation of questions in fields of historical inquiry quite other

    than the legal. One of these, selected quite at random from the col

    lection, but indicative of the nature of the material, is a suit for

    debt brought in the Governor's Court in 1770, which establishes the

    usage when the litigants did not happen to reside in the same place. In this case, the suit was begun in New Orleans, and then sent

    to the Post of Opelousas, where the Post Commander heard the plead

    ings of the defendant.

    Among the numerous marriage contracts, those of Juan Benoit

    and Elena Montanary, dated November 17, 1770 ; of Carlos Felipe Favre Daunoy and Maria Elizabetha Destrehan, dated March 15, 1773 ; and that of Francisco Daspit and Maria Barba Zeringue, dated March 12, 1779, are typical. They either reveal curious turns of legal phraseology, or relate to old Louisiana families represented today by numerous descendants. It is interesting to note that few of the Spanish judicial records were written upon stamped paper. Elsewhere in the Spanish colonies the paper used in legal work was taxed and a stamp was affixed to each sheet, but for some reason

    Louisiana was exempt from this requirement, a fact which, perhaps, accounts for the great length and sometimes wearisome detail with which the documentation of practically every proceeding was set forth.

    The documents which have come down to us from the French

    Superior Council are, in number, probably greater than the Spanish collections, although of no deeper interest. They begin with the year 1717. Among the very earliest are papers relative to the punish

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  • Histoeical Collections in New Orleans 467

    ments visited upon offenders against the local regulations at Old

    Biloxi, one culprit being "keel-hauled," apparently for having com

    mitted a theft. Many of these papers shed light upon the treatment

    of slaves during the French regime. A curious series of documents

    has been found setting forth the complaint of the engineer Pauget,

    against a certain Mme de Verteuil. Pauget ivas Bienville's chief

    engineer and is credited with having laid out the city of New

    Orleans. He and the lady seem to have had a difficulty, and she

    scratched his face; whereupon he laid a charge against her before

    the authorities.

    The French records contain a number of interesting documents

    regarding the massacre of 1729, including a list of the unfortunates

    butchered by the Indians at Natchez. In this connection it is odd

    to note that subsequent documents include the marriage contracts

    of all the widows created by this sanguinary event, every one of

    whom found new husbands within the year. We find in the collec

    tion also an example of a very early will, that of a man named

    Le Juif, drawn up by a priest in the absence of a notary. This

    instrument was admitted to probate in due course. Kegarding the

    Chevalier d'Arensbourg, a picturesque personality of great import ance in the early part of the French period, we have a large number

    of papers dealing with practically every phase of his career in Louisi

    ana; and, among other interesting items, establishing the fact that

    he was a Protestant, not a Catholic, as has been erroneously

    conjectured. Interest also attaches to the elaborate record of the first suit ever

    brought in Louisiana for separation of bed and hoard. The defendant

    was a physician, the Chevalier Manade, probably the first medical

    practitioner in the colony. Mme Manade wanted her husband to

    return her dowry, but he refused, on the ground that to do so would

    encourage "immorality," and offer a precedent for other wives who

    had wearied of the holy estate of matrimony. It seems that the lady

    eventually repented of having made so much trouble, returned to

    the Chevalier, and lived more or less happily with him ever after.

    Other matters regarding which the French records contain much

    material are the case of the French soldiers who deserted with the

    intention (apparently not realized) of joining the British in North

    Carolina, in 1725-28; the difficulties which arose between the Capu

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  • 468 The North Carolina Historical Review

    chins and their parishioners, and, later on, between them and the

    Jesuits, about 1726; the personal affairs of Father Baudoin, superior of the Jesuits in 1766; and the suit brought by Lafrenire against the Jesuits in 1763. The argument of Lafrenire in this case, which

    affected the vast property owned by the order in what is now the

    upper part of New Orleans, has been preserved and forms intensely

    interesting reading. We may also cite briefly the record in a case in admiralty, affecting

    the two-master "Snow," tried in 1741, before Salmon, Commissary of the Marine and First Judge of the Superior Council, interesting because it mentions the "itratif commandment," equivalent to the

    modern writ of fieri facias, although in those days there were ap

    parently no formal citations or writs. An edict dated 1721 has

    been found for the appointment of dual tutors for minors. The ap plication of Jean Franois Pasquier to the Superior Council for

    registration of his commission as counsel or assessor in that body, dated March 22, 1737, shows that this office had been created by the local officials, before any formal authority had been granted by the home government. The records of a judicial auction in 1739

    and the petition of one Thierry for a building site in New Orleans in 1722, valuable as shedding light upon the methods adopted by the

    company of the Indies to induce settlers to go to Louisiana, are two other matters regarding which fairly complete documentation has been rescued from the French colonial archives and put in shape for the student. Whereas the Spanish records were, for the most

    part, collated and bound long ago, the French manuscripts, with a few exceptions, exist in loose sheets and the task of assorting them into proper order has been a serious one. All of these documents, Spanish as well as French, have been badly treated, in some cases eaten by worms and mice. It has taken severe physical labor as well as expert language-knowledge to prepare the resumes which are now

    being published. In 1915 the municipal authorities of New Orleans transferred from

    the City Hall to the State Museum twenty bound volumes of original manuscript material dealing with the history of the city government. These volumes are now being card-indexed. They contain several hundred documents, some of great interest and several of the highest value. Among them we may specify :

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  • Historical Collections in New Orleans 469

    American Document Book: containing letters of Governor "W. C. C. Claiborne 1804-1815, including a number relating to the lands owned

    by the Marquis de Lafayette in the vicinity of New Orleans; also re

    garding the schools, early attempts to introduce water and drainage, etc.

    Collection of Dispatches of Governor Mir, 1787-1789: ahout 50 documents in all.

    Volume numbered 4076, containing a long series of documents on the "batture" casethat is, the city's title to the riparian deposits in front of the present business section of New Orleansespecially with refer

    ence to the claims of Jean Gravier.

    Volume numbered 4074, comprising the papers referring to the suc

    cession of Gilbert Antoine de St Maxent, all interesting because the

    property involved is now within the limits of the city. Volume numbered 4086, containing documents relative to the acquisi

    tion by the city of the so-called "Faubourg" Trm, now an important

    section of the business district of New Orleans. Volume numbered 4088, made up in part of accounts connected with

    the erection of the gallows and the expenses of executing criminals in

    New Orleans in colonial times.

    Volume numbered 9374, dealing exclusively with the Battle of New

    Orleans, 196 documents in all; including letters from Claiborne, Jack

    son, and others of importance in 1815. Much is found here regarding

    the Negro slaves whose labor was required for military purposes. One

    letter refers to Captain Juzon, who commanded a company of Choctaw

    Indians during the campaign. Other papers relate to the trial by court

    martial of Major Viller in February, 1815, for "knowingly harboring the enemy" ; and of Louaillier, Jr. Jackson's proclamation dated March

    13, 1815, announcing "with the most lively emotions of joy" the fact of the peace between the United States and Great Britain, is included

    in this volume.

    Other volumes contain records of law suits going back as far as the

    year 1794; accounts of city officials like Delaronde, Carondelet, etc., whose names are important in Louisiana history; accounts and plans

    connected with the building of the Cabildo, or former city hall; letters

    and documents connected with O'Reilly, Glvez, Unzaga, and other

    Spanish officials, 1770-1792.

    The Museum is in possession of other manuscript material which

    is now being examined and indexed. Among the matter already

    found and made accessible to students are a long series of letters of

    Daniel Clark, who figured in a notorious controversy with General

    James Wilkinson, at the beginning of the nineteenth century; many

    letters from General D. B. Morgan, Andrew Jackson, Major Tatumn,

    and General J. H. Gordon relative to the Battle of New Orleans in

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  • 470 The North Carolina Historical Review

    1815 ; and six or seven letters addressed by Nathaniel Cox in 1801

    1809 to G. L. Lewis, nephew of George Washington. Lewis was

    then a resident of Louisiana. A manuscript diary of Captain Blanch

    ard during the Mexican War, covering 75 pages of excessively minute

    chirography, is now being transcribed. The museum also has four

    or five of the dispatch-hooks of General "Dick" Taylor, the Confed

    erate chieftain, which shed light upon the military operations in

    Louisiana and Mississippi during the Civil War. Taylor's dispatches include many addressed to N. B. Forrest, and to Maury, the geog

    rapher, and their replies. A complete card catalogue of this im

    portant material has already been made.

    The museum possesses a collection of Louisiana newspapers, in

    which will be found:

    The Propagateur Catolique, 1870-1882. The Country Visitor, 1879-1881 (scattered copies only). The Catholic Standard, 1860 (scattered copies). The Morning Star and Catholic Messenger, 1871-1881 (scattered


    These files are valuable for the detail which they supply regarding the history of the Catholic church in Louisiana in the middle and later years of the last century.

    But the Cahildo also contains a far greater treasure of New Or

    leans and Louisiana newspapers, kept on the top floor, and forming

    part of the library of the Louisiana State Museum and of the Louis

    iana Historical Society. The latter, as has been said already, is quart ered in the same building as the State Museum. Most of these papers are the property, neither of the Society nor of the Museum, but

    merely placed in their custody by the publishers ; however, it is not

    likely that they will be removed from their present resting-place. The Society is the owner of a complete file of the New Orleans

    "Abeille," the most important French newspaper ever published in

    New Orleans. It extends from the foundation of the paper in Sep

    tember, 1827, to March 25, 1917, when the paper ceased publication. This invaluable file was left to the Society by the late Colonel H. J.

    De La Vergne. Recently, the Museum has acquired by purchase from Gaspar Cusachs the latter's unique file of the Louisiana Courier,

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  • Historical Collections in New Orleans 471

    extending from October 14, 1807 (Yol. I, No. 1), to October 14,

    1842, but unfortunately not including the volume for October 1814

    October 1815, or tbat for the year 1836.

    The list of these files follows :

    Moniteur, August 14, 1802-Nov. 26, 1803 (Nos. 304-371) ; Jan. 3, 1811-1812 (Nos. 1101-1412).

    Louisiana Gazette, April 4-13, 1813. L'Ami des Lois, Apr. 6-Nov. 25, 1820 (Nos. 2488-2635) ; July-Dec.

    1821 (Nos. 2813-2960). National Intelligencer, July, 1822-May 24, 1824.

    Union, September 21-Dec. 31, 1837. New Orleans Picayune, Apr. 25, 1837 (Yol. I, No. 77), to March,


    Weekly Picayune, March, 1828 (Yol. II, No. 2)-February, 1843; March-October, 1850.

    True American, 1838.

    Tropic, October, 1843-August 25, 1846.

    Delta, Oct. 12, 1845-Apr. 1857; June 1858-Oct. 9, 1859; Jan. 12-Oct.

    y, I860; Nov.-May, 1861; May, 1862.

    Weekly Delta, Oct. 20, 1845-Oct. 1848. Price Current, Sept. 13, 1845-Aug. 1847; Sept. 1855-Aug. 1856.

    National, Sept. 10, 1847-Dec. 1848.

    Crescent, March, 1848-March, 1851; Sept. 1852.

    Vigilant, Nov. 6, 1847-Oct. 4, 1848. True Delta, Nov. 18, 1860-May 17, 1861.

    Times, Sept. 20, 1863-Dec. 1868; Mar. 20, 1869-Sept. 1874; Sept. 1875-June, 1881.

    Weekly Times, Nov. 14, 1863-Dec. 1880.

    Era, Aug. 15-Dec. 1863.

    Tribune, Nov. 1, 1865 (Yol. I, No. 51)-March 20, 1866.

    Republican, Apr. 10, 1867-Feb. 1869; Sept. 1869-Apr. 1871; Nov.

    10, 1878.

    Star, Mar. 14, 1866-Mar 13, 1867.

    Herald, May-Dec. 1873.

    Bulletin, May-Sept. 1874.

    Democrat, Dec. 19, 1875-Dec. 3, 1881.

    Evening Democrat, Feb. 17, 1877-Jan. 20, 1878.

    Times Democrat, Dec. 4, 1881-Feb. 1914.

    Item, June 11-Dec. 10, 1883.

    New Delta, Sept. 6, 1890-Dec. 1891.

    States, June, 1911 to date.

    American, Dec. 1915-Feb. 1917.

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  • 472 The North Carolina Historical Review

    Times Picayune, March, 1914, to date.

    Capitolian Advocate (Baton Rouge), Jan. 19, 1882-July, 1888. Baton Rouge Advocate, Aug. 1888-Aug. 1894; April, 1898-March,


    The Louisiana Historical Society, which has been continuously in

    existence since 1836, has a small but good collection of transcripts made for its use in France many years ago. These volumes have

    been handsomely bound, and a few of them have been indexed briefly, but the need for a more complete guide to their contents is obvious.

    Among them one of the most important contains the texts of various

    concessions made by the company of the Indies from 1719 to 1731

    to induce settlement and colonization in Louisiana. This volume

    has been made the basis of a series of articles published in the

    Louisiana Historical Quarterly in 1927 and 1928 by Mr. Dart and

    Mrs. Cruzat, dealing with the lands owned by Bienville in Louisiana.

    These articles open up for the first time the details of French colonial

    policy with regard to the distribution of lands in the colony at its

    very inception. This has long been an obscure page in the history of the State, and its elucidation is of particular interest because the

    lands in question were situated in and around New Orleans and

    contiguous territory as high up as Natchez.

    In this series will be found four large volumes containing manu

    scrips relating to the Mississippi Valley during the Spanish regime,

    1766-1808; one volume relating to the French regime in this region,

    1679-1769; copies of the papers relating to the trial of Lafrenire,

    1769-1770; two volumes of correspondence covering the years 1678

    1706, transcribed from the originals in the Ministry of Marine in

    Paris, beginning with the permit granted to LaSalle for his first

    voyage to Louisiana ; two volumes copied from the same bureau of

    the French government, containing the correspondence of and with

    Aubry; one volume entitled "Etat Civil, 1720-1734," also from the

    Ministry of Marine; one volume entitled "Recensements, 1706

    1741" ; one volume containing inventories, plans and mmoires rel

    ative to Louisiana, copied from originals preserved in the Depot de

    Fortificacions des Colonies, Paris, and extending from 1704 to 1733 ; one volume entitled "Reseignements sur Oeuvres que Etaient Passes

    a la Louisiane," 1725-1729; and, most important of all, a volume

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  • Historical Collections in Hew Orleans 473

    containing the passenger lists of persons coming to Louisiana during the regime of the company of the Indies. This manuscript shows that

    the original population of Louisiana was predominantly drawn from

    the artisan class. There is also one entire volume of extracts from

    documents, the originals of which are extant in France, regarding the transfer of Louisiana to the United States in 1803 ; three volumes

    of transcripts made by Margry in 1847 of documents in the French

    archives of interest to Louisiana; and a volume containing a MS.

    transcript of Pre LeClerc's "Establissement de la Fe dans La

    Louisiane et Canada." While all this material is merely copies, it is

    of transcendent value for the student of Louisiana history, and serves

    as well as the originals. We are fortunate to have it accessible on

    this side of the Atlantic. Moreover, the Historical Society possesses a manuscript believed to be the original of LaHarpe's journal for


    An extensive library of secondary material is being formed under

    the auspices of the Historical Society and of the Museum. It is

    lodged with their other collections on the top floor of the Cabildo.

    It contains a good many rare volumes, and is growing at a rapid rate.

    Primary material for the history of the State is also found in the

    Howard Memorial Library. Unfortunately, William Beer, the learned

    librarian, whose labors, extending over more than a quarter of a cen

    tury, resulted in bringing together at this institution a vast store of

    books and manuscripts, died in 1927. His place has been lately filled by Robert J. Usher. Mr. Usher found, shortly after taking up his duties, that the basements of the library were filled with a col

    lection of miscellaneous literature for which there was no room on

    the library shelves, and which had been accumulated there by Mr.

    Beer during the years of his incumbency. This collection is estimated

    at 150,000 volumes. The task of examining this enormous mass of

    matter is now in progress, but will take many months to complete; and until then it is impossible to say just what historical material

    the Howard Library really contains. Moreover, the material on the

    shelves of the library has not been segregated in a manner to make

    possible for a newcomer like Mr. Usher to point out at the present moment just what Louisiana historical documents are in his juris diction. However, since taking over the library, Mr. Usher has ac

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  • 474 The North Carolina Historical Review

    quired some important collections, notably a set of 900 letters by John McDonogh, the miser-millionaire who established the New

    Orleans public schools. The maps in the Howard library are famous.

    Mr. Usher is now having them examined and listed. They number

    thousands and include many precious examples of early cartography connected with the exploration of the Mississippi Valley.

    The Howard Library has the good fortune to possess the only known copy of The Moniteur for 1804. The Moniteur was the first

    Louisiana newspaper, and copies of it of any date are excessively rare.

    An almost complete collection of the acts passed by the Louisiana

    State Legislation since territorial times is also a valuable asset of

    the library. Particular attention has always been given at the Howard

    to the preservation of the reports of local charitable, social, and politi cal institutions. For example, one finds here a file of the reports of

    the celebrated New Orleans Charity Hospital going back to 1840, of the greatest value to students of the state medical history. The

    library has also the most complete file in existence of the journals of the Louisiana State Senate and House of Representatives. It

    begins in 1812 and extends to the present date.

    The Howard Library has a collection of local newspapers which

    supplements those in the Cabildo and at the City Hall. Taking these

    three collections together, there are in New Orleans practically un

    broken files of the leading periodicals published in the city from the

    beginning of the nineteenth century. Moreover, the Howard is the

    possessor of a perfect set of DeBow's Review, one of the few known

    to be complete from 1846 to 1880, including the excessively rare

    volume of July, 1864, of which but a few copies were ever issued, and which seems to have been circulated in New Orleans only. A

    volume of a very rare weekly, valuable for its references to the New

    Orleans theater and opera, is Le Passetemps, published in the city in

    1827-1829. Another very rare local weekly, La Lorgnette, covers the

    year 1843 and is important for the same reason.

    An especially good file of the New Orleans Price Current, in

    dispensable to all students of the economic aspects of Louisiana his

    tory, will be found in the Howard Library. It is nearly complete for

    the important years 1826-1864. The Howard's file of the Picayune extends from 1852 to 1914, with only a few gaps during the Civil


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  • Historical Collections in New Orleans 475

    To students of Louisiana history the fact is of great importance that in the Howard Library will be found a copy prepared by the

    Carnegie Institution of the typewritten list of documents in the

    Biblitheque Nationale, Paris, relative to the Mississippi Valley. A

    photographic reproduction of the series of dispatches of the governor of Louisiana to the captain general of Cuba between 1768 and 1791, is of like importance. The latter item is particularly interesting because it coincides with the manuscript index to the correspondence of the captain general of Cuba with the governor of Louisiana be

    tween the years 1766 and 1780, which is one of the valued possessions of the Louisiana Historical Society.

    The material available in the archives of the city of New Orleans, in the City Hall, is too considerable to be dismissed with a passing reference here. An entire article should be devoted to an analysis of the abundant store of documents, newspapers, etc., which is

    gathered on the top floor of the City Hall. One may, however,

    point out that here will be found the minute books of the Cabildo

    (Spanish government), from its inception under O'Reilly down to

    the early years of the nineteenth century, a series of ten large manu

    script volumes, written in a microscopic hand, but exceedingly legible. This record contains in detail the history of the government of the

    colony of Louisiana over a period of thirty or thirty-one eventful

    years. It ought to be transcribed and translated and, if possible,

    printed. Supplementing it, is the enormous mass of "proceedings" of the New Orleans city counciltoo vast to be reprinted, in its

    entirety, but full of invaluable data over the period from 1803

    to the present moment. The material in the City Hall is not indexed, and is exposed to constant fire-risk ; moreover, it has been very hardly used in times gone by, and the need for rebinding is in many instances


    Finally, one should perhaps mention the private collections in New

    Orleans where historical material of value is preserved. That of

    E. A. Parsons contains the originals of the correspondence between

    the pirate, Lafitte, and Andrew Jackson, and with the ofiicers of

    the British army, in 1814-1815. These letters have never been

    printed. Mr. Parsons also owns the originals of the correspondence between Mayor Monroe and General Benjamin F. Butler regarding

    the latter's notorious "woman order." Edward Laroque Tinker, of

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  • 476 The North Carolina Historical Review

    New Orleans and New York, has collected every available item

    relative to the French literature of Louisiana, hut this collection is

    housed only in part in New Orleans. Mr. Tinker is preparing a

    bibliography of this subject, which, when issued, will be a valuable

    guide to a little known department of Louisiana literary history. Charles F. Thompson, also, has collected extensively, and possesses a great variety of valuable Louisiana material, including, for ex

    ample, some 3,000 letters of John McDonogh. The opportunity to coordinate and supplement these various col

    lections is obviously alluring. Unfortunately, to do so would entail

    large labor and expense, and there does not seem at the present time

    in New Orleans any institution or individual in a position to under

    take it. But a scholar may permit himself to dream of a time when

    all these scattered documents will he listed in one catalogue, and

    neatly typewritten copies will be immediately available for his ex

    amination, and when there will be at hand transcripts, at least of the

    theses compiled at the larger American institutions of learning on

    Louisiana subjects. The present essay can close in no way more

    fittingly than by reiterating the value of a work of this sort, and

    stressing the merit which would attach to any act that would make its realization possible.

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    Article Contentsp. 463p. 464p. 465p. 466p. 467p. 468p. 469p. 470p. 471p. 472p. 473p. 474p. 475p. 476


    BOOK REVIEWSReview: untitled [pp. 518-520]Review: untitled [pp. 520-522]Review: untitled [pp. 522-523]Review: untitled [pp. 524-527]BOOKS RECEIVED [pp. 528-528]

    HISTORICAL NEWS [pp. 529-532]Back Matter


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