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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Cooper, Emil. Papers, 1954-1959. 12 items, 1 printed vol. Location: U:115. Musical director and conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. Letters to members of the Youth Concert Committee of the Junior League of Baton Rouge and the Symphony Auxiliary, concerning the Youth Concerts and, in particular, the production of Peter and the Wolf. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1929.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Baton Rouge

Cox, Ellen M. Collection, 1850s. 1 ms. vol. (365 pages). Location: 65:29. Bound sheet music published principally in Paris and purchased from New Orleans dealers. Includes a copy of Jerusalem composed for Louis Moreau Gottschalk and published in New York City (1855). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2384.

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

Dansereau, Hercules, b. 1832. Account Books and Papers, 1807-1907 (bulk 1859-1906). 32 items, 5 ms. vols. Location: Misc:D, OS:D, F:16. Physician of Thibodaux, Louisiana, and a member of the Scottish Rite Masonic Order. Papers include two medical ledgers (1860-1906) and a daybook (1874-1875); a minute book of the Scottish Rite Thibodaux Lodge No. 13 (1859-1861); and a minute book of the Philharmonic Society of Thibodaux (1861). Some manuscript volumes in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 823.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, French, Medicine

Davis, Jimmie, 1899-2000. Photograph, circa 1940s. 1 gelatin silver print. Location: 65:5. This is a signed photographic portrait of James H. "Jimmie" Davis, governor of Louisiana (1944-1948, 1960-1964). Mss. 3692.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Performing arts

Davis, John. Document, 1839. 1 item [photofacsimile]. Location: Misc. Manager of the Orleans Theatre and the French Opera House in New Orleans. Last will of John Davis signed at Mandeville, Louisiana. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1048.