Manuscript Resources on The History of Music, Drama, and Other Performing Arts

This guide describes manuscript resources in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections that document performing arts history. Most of the collections relate to music, with smaller numbers dealing with theater, and a few dealing with dance. Geographically, most of the collections center around Louisiana, with many reflecting the rich cultural history of New Orleans and its diverse French and American cultural streams. Baton Rouge and other cities and towns are documented to a lesser degree. The cultural life of rural Louisiana is reflected in plantation collections containing sheet music, playbills, and other evidence of cultural activity.

The collections include papers of music and drama teachers, composers and writers, and performers. They also contain papers of those who sat in the audiences of musical and other performances and commented on them in letters and diaries, or compiled collections of programs and other ephemera dealing with the performances they witnessed. Finally, they contain papers of researchers who wrote about music and theater history.

Though extensive, the resources listed in this guide form a small part of the totality of materials documenting performing arts history in LSU's Special Collections. An exhaustive search of available inventories of manuscript collections would turn up additional important documentation. The Rare Book Collections contain a wide variety of relevant imprints, and include an extensive database of uncataloged sheet music. Similarly, the Louisiana Collection contains additional imprints on the performing arts, specifically related to Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi Valley. A folder containing several music history finding aids in addition to this one is available at the Special Collections reference desk.

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Peters, Samuel J., Jr. Diary, 1840-1862. 1 volume. Location: E:49. Samuel J. Peters, Jr., was the son of New Orleans merchant, civic leader, and banker Samuel Jarvis Peters. He worked as a clerk in New York City (1841-1842), then returned to New Orleans to work in his father's business. Diary describes social life in New Orleans during the antebellum period and in the Civil War prior to federal occupation of the city. Includes entries on family life and health, theater in New Orleans, and national news. Some early 1840 entries are in German. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1355.

Peytavin, John Ludger, b. 1859. Papers, 1806-1937. 342 items, 43 vols. Location: C:27-29, O:17, OS:P, 99:P. Attorney, author, composer, and planter of Ancient Domain Plantation in St. James Parish, Louisiana, and of New Orleans. Business and professional papers concern the operation of Peytavin's plantation and law practice. Personal papers include correspondence, manuscript copies of poems, songs, speeches, and historical sketches. Collection also includes programs for New Orleans theater, opera, and concert performances. Most of the legal papers before 1843 are in French, as is some of the post-1885 correspondence. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 465, 1067, 1071, 1072.

Peytavin, John Ludger, b. 1859. Papers, 1852-1915. 102 items. Location: UU:84. Attorney, author, composer, and planter of Ancient Domain Plantation in St. James Parish, Louisiana, and of New Orleans. Collection includes letters, bills and receipts, and photographs, chiefly of Jefferson College in Convent, Louisiana, which Peytavin attended. A brochure describes the residents and history of Jefferson and several other parishes. Included are two family photograph albums, a volume of music composed by Peytavin, and two bound volumes of published sheet music. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1447.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Education, Literature

Philharmonic Society of St. James Parish. Records, 1875-1876. 10 items, 1 ms. vol. Location: Misc.:P, M:19. Journal contains miscellaneous records of the Society including a copy of the constitution. Loose items consist of bills and receipts in French, and a list of subscribers. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 345.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, French

Pirrie, James. Papers, 1803-circa 1830. 0.2 linear ft. Location: UU:104. Member of a Scottish family, an alcalde under the Spanish, and owner of Oakley Plantation in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Papers include documents related to plantation and business matters, cotton marketing, and legal affairs of the family. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1382.

Playmakers of Baton Rouge. Programs, 1985-1991. .1 linear ft. Location: E:38. Professional theater company for young audiences organized in Baton Rouge, circa 1982. Programs of performances and benefit galas. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4612.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Baton Rouge

Poetry scrapbooks and blacksmith ledger, 1833-1883. 2 vols. Location: C:26. Clippings from New Orleans newspapers, including presidential campaign songs, poetry, and Confederate lyrics. Vol. 1 was originally a blacksmith ledger and contains blacksmith entries. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2297.

Post, Lauren Chester. Papers, 1899-1977. 10 linear ft. Location: 7:11-22, 65:, W:10, OS:P. Native of Rayne, Louisiana, professor of geography at San Diego State University, and author of "Cajun Sketches" (1974) and "Louisiana As It Is" (1969). Correspondence, an autobiography, research materials, published and unpublished works, newspaper clippings, recordings of folk music, interviews, photos, and other material related to Post's books and research on Cajun folk-life and other topics. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2854.

Presidential campaign songs, 1876, 1884. 4 items. Location: OS:P. Sheet music for political campaign songs for Rutherford B. Hayes, Governor Samuel J. Tilden, and James G. Blaine. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2600-73.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Performing arts

Randall, Lizzie. Letter, circa 1851. 1 item. Location: Misc.:R. Letter to a friend in Connecticut describing New Orleans social life, including visits to the opera, art museums, and concert halls. Randall writes about performances by Rosa Devries and Jenny Lind. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1326.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Performing arts, Women

Reed, Mary. Collection, 1937-1968, undated. 102 items. Location: U:144. Playbills for theatrical and musical performances, dramatic readings, opera, ballet, and vaudeville, principally in New York City. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2474.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Literature

Reiff, Anton. Journal, 1856-1857. 1 ms. vol. 1 microfilm reel. Location: Misc.:R, Mss.Mf:R. Musician touring with the Pyne and Harrison Opera Company from New York to New Orleans. Diary records daily activities, comments on theater facilities, musical performances attended, music in churches visited, scenery and social customs, and other matters. Reiff recorded his impressions of steamboat travel and his visits to Memphis, Tennessee; Natchez, Mississippi; Baton Rouge; and other cities. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3274.

Richardson, Carey Johnson. Papers, 1864-1986. 1 linear ft. Location: 12:27. Papers include playbills and programs for New York theater productions annotated by Mrs. Richardson (1950s-1960s); an original typescript of Eudora Welty's The Ponder Heart; a letter from Maxwell Anderson (1956); and a prayerbook (1864). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4189.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Performing arts, Literature

Ridleman Letter, 1819 Dec. 12. 1 letter. Location: Misc.: R. A letter written by a Mr. Ridleman to "Ogden" describes the capture of eighteen of Jean Lafitte's pirates by two U.S. revenue cutters. Ridleman writes that guards patrolled New Orleans in order to prevent a rescue of the pirates. He reports that the Creole guards were unable to capture three other of Lafitte's men in the New Orleans neighborhood of Faubourg Marigny. He tells that he participated in the patrol of the city, and he describes the various crimes, which occurred. In other news, he writes that the good prospects of the newly formed firm of Ridleman and Burke ended when Mr. Burke succumbed to the "fatal climate." He also describes the newly opened Theatre d' Orleans, and its gambler owner, Mr. Davis. The Theatre d' Orleans was the most important opera house in New Orleans in the first half of the 19th century.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Performing arts

Ripley, Mrs. E. Letter, 1909. 1 item [typed copy]. Location: Misc.:R. Resident of New York. Letter published in the New Orleans Times Democrat gives supplementary facts to an article on the musical history of New Orleans. It describes in detail a fancy dress ball given by Joseph Kennedy at the New Orleans Mint in the 1850s. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 369.

Rolling, Hubert, 1823-1898. Scrapbook, 1843-1898. 15 items, including 1 vol. Location: H:16, MISC:L. New Orleans pianist, composer, and music teacher, and a native of Alsace, France. Scrapbook (with some loose items detached) documenting Rolling's professional career. It includes articles from New Orleans and French newspapers and periodicals, correspondence from Louis Moreau Gottschalk and others, and two photos of Rolling. Some correspondence and newspaper clippings in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 997.

Saturday Music Circle. Invitation, circa 1910. 1 item. Location: E:Imprints. Invitation to a recital by Mrs. Benjamin Elsas, soprano, in the Grunewald Gold Room, possibly in New Orleans, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2600.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women

Saxon, Lyle, 1891-1946. Play, 1923. 2 items. Location: Vault:22. Typescript and Times-Picayune newspaper clipping of "Epitaph," a one-act play by Lyle Saxon that appeared in the fall of 1923. Mss. 1284.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

Saxon, Lyle, 1891-1946. Monograph, 1934. 1 typescript. Location: Vault:22. Typescript of a biographical article on New Orleans actress, Adah Issacs Menken. Mss. 965.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

Schwartz, Kurt S. Papers, 1932-1967, undated (bulk 1932-1935). 18 items. Location: C:96 OS:S. Schwartz was a member of the Louisiana State University Cadet Band during the 1930's. Papers consist of student paraphernalia including an LSU Library card, Athletic Association student tickets, commencement program, concert programs for the LSU Cadet Band, a University Directory, a freshman beanie, and a LSU license plate. Also included are a letter from Huey P. Long stating that Long had no influence in securing scholarships and a copy of the musical score for EVERY MAN A KING for solo clarinet. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3740.