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Charlee LaChatte and Friends: Collecting Cats at Tulane

This exhibit is meant to explore and celebrate the cat collections at Tulane. While it may seem unusual to have such objects in university collections, it should not surprise us that artists and writers have responded to human interest in the subject. In the cases in this room you will find a selection of the books acquired with the Charlee LaChatte endowment in Rare Books as well as examples of the holdings of the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive and the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC).

The Charlee LaChatte book collection has centered on Anglo-American literary production between 1880 and 1960, though there are examples as far back as the sixteenth century. The books vary greatly in their representation of cats, but most often pertain to themes of childhood, innocence, role-playing, and the relationships between humans and animals.

These materials challenge us to think about what is or is not included in the definition of a “rare book" and why people create and collect “cute” books.