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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Tower, Luther Field. Diary, 1845-1846. 2 vols. Location: H:20. Clerk for a New Orleans. La., cotton exchange. Diary provides a daily account of local weather conditions in New Orleans, the arrival and departure of cargo ships, cotton and sugar prices, the cotton trade, local military and political celebrations, Tower's attendance at Protestant church services, concerts and opera performances, and prominent visitors to New Orleans. Entries for November and December of 1845 describe the trial of Dr. W.A. Scott, minister of the First Presbyterian Church in New Orleans. Entries also note the progress of the Mexican War and the funeral of U.S. President Andrew Jackson. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 765.

Turnbull-Allain Family Papers, 1784-1941 (bulk 1820-1890). 15 linear ft. Location: C:98-112, OS:T, 99:T. The Turnbull and Allain families were cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana, West Baton Rouge, and Iberville parishes, Louisiana. Papers include correspondence, legal and financial documents, and plantation records. Included are a large number of Braille writings of Helene Allain, some written while she studied and taught at the Louisiana Institute for the Blind in Baton Rouge. Plantation papers include lists of slaves and laborers. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 19-34. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4261.

Turnbull-Bowman family. Papers, 1771-1956 (bulk 1795-1910). 8 microfilm reels; 5.5 linear ft. Location: MSS.MF:T; X:19-23; OS:T. The Turnbull and Bowman families were cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Financial papers, correspondence, legal documents, personal papers, sheet music, printed items, and photographs of members of the Turnbull and Bowman families, cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Some papers of the related Pirrie and Gray families are included. Early documents reflect involvement of members of the Turnbull family in the fur trade in colonial Louisiana. Most papers reflect planting activities. Papers also include the sermons of William R. Bowman (1800-1835), rector of Grace Episcopal Church in St. Francisville. Some items in Spanish and French. Mss. 4452.

Uhler, John Earle. Papers, 1921-1960 (bulk 1931-1959). 13.4 linear ft. Location: 79:22-32, OS:U, 99:U. John Earle Uhler was an English professor at Louisiana State University from 1928-1961. His teaching and research interests included Shakespeare, 18th century English drama, English Renaissance literature, and linguistics. A public controversy over Uhler's novel Cane Juice, published in 1931, led to his removal from the faculty, and reinstatement six months later.  Papers include personal and professional correspondence; published and unpublished literary and academic manuscripts; and printed material, including newspaper clippings, newspapers, and periodicals related to Uhler's writing and interest in political events. There are also teaching materials from Uhler's tenure at LSU, and a small number of photographs and pencil drawings. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1902.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Performing arts, LSU, Long Family

Variete Association (New Orleans, La.). Stock certificate, 1870. 1 item. Location: Misc.:V. Stock certificate of La Variete Association of New Orleans issued to J. A. Stevenson and signed by M. O. H. Norton, President, and John Crickard, Secretary. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1189.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

Vignaud, Henry. Papers, 1862-1909. 385 items. Location: C:66. Journalist, diplomat, and historian of New Orleans, Louisiana. Papers consist of letters from Louisiana friends; officials in the Department of State and the diplomatic service; Americans in public life; and literary figures, historians, journalists, and other writers. Collection includes 75 letters (1865-1892) of L. Placide Canonge, New Orleans writer and dramatist, pertaining to literature and the theater in New Orleans. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1281.

W. P. A. Collection COMMUNITY SERVICE DIVISION Field memos, 1940-1942. 1 vol. Location: O:3. Memos sent to directors and supervisors of W.P.A. projects in Louisiana pertaining to personnel, employment regulations, preparation of annual reports, conversion of W.P.A. projects to wartime purposes, and operation and administration of programs. Projects included are the Writers' Project, Shoe Repair Project, Music Project, Arts and Crafts Projects, Nursery School Project, and many others. Memos include worksheets and blank forms for recording hours of work, tasks accomplished, and the number of employees at work on particular projects. Mss. 2902.

W. P. A. Collection FEDERAL MUSIC PROJECT Annual report, 1940. 1 vol. Location: O:3. Report of Louisiana Statewide Music Project contains maps showing location of project units; statistics and other information pertaining to personnel, performances, sponsorship, expansion and training; and copies of commendatory letters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2902.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts

Ward, Joseph. Record book, 1894. 1 vol. Location: J:6. Music instructor of Baton Rouge. Record book containing music and lyrics. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 439.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Baton Rouge

Ware, Eleanor Percy and Catharine Ann Warfield papers, 1835-1876 (bulk 1835-1849). 19 items, 8 volumes. Location: E:51, H:16. Eleanor Percy Lee (nee Ware), poet and novelist of Natchez, Mississippi. Her sister, father, and daughter were also authors. Writings and correspondence of Eleanor Lee include six manuscript volumes of novels, prose, and poems. Collection also includes loose poems, family photographs, and sheet music. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reels 31-32. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1416, 1576, 1971.

Webb, Alice. Sheet music, 1904. 1 item. Location: 65:60. Sheet music published by Charles Grinnell, New Orleans, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1956.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

Wehrmann, Henry, 1870-1956. Sheet music, 1912-1954, undated .2 linear ft. Location: 65. Music composer, arranger, and publisher of New Orleans. Manuscript sheet music composed, arranged, or published by Wehrmann, primarily for violin, viola, and cello. Most of the music is by 17th and 18th century composers, newly arranged by Wehrmann. One published item, Songs of the South, composed and published by Wehrmann (1912), is included. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4669.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

Wehrmann, Henry. Scrapbook, 1838-1939. 1 v. Location: A:110. Music composer, arranger, and publisher of New Orleans, La. Scrapbook contains articles and programs documenting theater and opera in New Orleans. Mss. 3999.

Weiss, Seymour. Papers, 1927-1972 (bulk 1930-1960). 11.25 linear ft. Location: 30:38-42, OS:W, Vault:36. Manager and owner of the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. Weiss was a confidant of Louisiana Governor and U.S. Senator Huey P. Long, who made the hotel his headquarters. The bulk of the collection consists of circulars announcing speeches and the political positions of Long and other Louisiana politicians. Also present are political cartoons by 'Trist' [Trist Wood] and various campaign items. The collection includes letters of Huey P. Long related to issues of concern to Louisiana citizens and sheet music for 'Every Man a King,' 'Follow Long,' and several other songs, with words by Long. Mss. 4165.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Performing arts, Long Family

Whig Party campaign song, undated [1848]. 1 item. Location: Misc. Autograph manuscript of an original song composed by John Greiner, Ohio State librarian, celebrating the Whig Party nomination of Zachary Taylor. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3029.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts

Whitaker, Lily C. Poem, circa 1916. 1 item. Location: Misc.:W. Copy of her poem 'Shakespeare,' presented before the Shakespearean Anniversary Association at the Tulane Theater, New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1284.

Whitfield, Irene. Manuscript, circa 1939, 1 item. Location: W:7. Manuscript of Louisiana Folk Songs (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1939), including revisions and miscellaneous notes. Lyrics of songs are in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2823.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, French, Literature

Wiksell, Wesley A., 1906-1991. Wesley A. and Jean Starr Wiksell papers, 1920-1970 ca. (bulk 1950-1965). 39 linear ft. Unprocessed. Location: OS:W; Offsite, contact for details. Professor of speech and communication at LSU. Wesley and Jean Starr Wiksell were puppeteers. Papers include subject files, correspondence, photographs, and other items that document Wiksell's activities as a professor, puppeteer, and theater performer. Papers of Jean Starr Wiksell relate primarily to the theater and to her work as a puppeteer. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4329.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, LSU

Williams, L. Kemper. Collection, 1867-1896, 1915-1966. 14 linear, 115 printed vols. Location: 77:71- 84. Printed materials, principally from New Orleans and other areas in Louisiana pertaining to Louisiana folkways and customs, cultural attractions, public education, economic growth, school desegregation, entertainment, religions, and tourism. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2203.

Wise, Claude M. Papers, 1889-1967. 40 linear ft. Location: 6:8; 115:; 118:14; VAULT:44; MAP CASE 4, DRAWERS 21-24. International authority on phonetics and head of the Louisiana State University Speech Department from 1928 until 1958. Personal and professional papers. Unprocessed collection. Mss. 2245.

Womens University Students Association. Papers, 1896-1940. 139 items. Location: 78:60. Miscellaneous pamphlets not pertaining to the association. Loose issues of the Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science, copies of the Tulane news bulletin, concert programs for performances of music in New Orleans and elsewhere, issues of the Whitney-Central observer, first aid guides, pamphlets from the Church of the Latter Day Saints and other religious organizations, annual reports of the Louisiana State Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, leaflets from New Orleans area businesses, and materials on homeopathic medicine.For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 599.

Work Projects Administration. Ex-Slave Narrative Project, 1937-1941, undated 39 items [photocopies]. Location: W:11. Narratives based on interviews with ex-slaves in the Alexandria and New Orleans areas pertain to slave life; post-emancipation black life; and black folklore, religion, and music. Originals in Louisiana State Library, Baton Rouge. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2858.

Works Projects Administration. Federal Theatre and Federal Music Projects Programs, 1938. 4 items. Location: E:Imprints. Playhouse of the Federal Theatre, New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1980.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

Wurtele, Mildred Orkney. Scrapbook, 1910-1912. 1 ms. vol. Location: M:18. 'A Theatre-Goer's Record' of entertainment in Chicago and New Orleans. Scrapbook contains clipped programs for plays, operas, ballets, concerts, vaudeville, and motion pictures, lengthy comments by Wurtele, and photographs of the artists. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2306.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, New Orleans 1866-

Wynne, Michael D. Collection, 1826-1976. 6 linear ft., 13 volumes. Location: W:34-35; P:19; 5:31-32, 43; VAULT MRDF 6; VAULT:1, 25; OS:W. Resident of Lafayette, Louisiana, and collector of historical materials on south Louisiana history and culture. Collection includes papers of planters, Civil War soldiers, politicians, and professionals. It contains letters, Confederate currency, sheet music, photographs, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks documenting New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and surrounding parishes. Also included are papers of the Mayer Brass Band of Opelousas, Louisiana (1892-1909). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3053.

Yarbrough, Cornelia. Papers, 1963-2004 (bulk 1973-2004). 5 linear feet. Location: 8:66-68. Professional papers of Cornelia Yarbrough, professor of music education and researcher at Louisiana State University. Papers include academic and literary correspondence, research, writings, printed materials and audio recordings. In addition to writings and research, most materials are the product of Yarbrough's time spent in music education at Syracuse University and Louisiana State University. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4921.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, Education, LSU