Louisiana Research Collection
Subject Resource Guide
The Louisiana Research Collection supports Tulane University's mission by acquiring, preserving, and making available Louisiana research material in almost all formats, including monographs, periodicals, archives and manuscripts, maps, photographs, pamphlets and other ephemera, prints and other images, microfilm, digital resources, and newspapers. Its holdings pertain primarily to New Orleans, and secondarily, to the state of Louisiana as a whole.
It acquires materials in most subject areas pertaining to New Orleans and Louisiana, with a special emphasis given to the social, cultural, political, literary, and military development of the region. Most prominent among its collecting interests are Carnival, the Civil War, Jewish studies, LGBT, Louisiana politics, medicine, social welfare, Southern literature, waterways, and women's studies.
The Louisiana Research Collection is a conspectus level five collection for almost all subject areas concerning Louisiana; however, it does not actively acquire the full range of available publications regarding agriculture and education because Tulane University lacks programs in those fields. Exceptions are agribusiness, forestry, and enterprises possessing state-wide cultural significance such as cotton and sugar; or, when publications directly pertain to and strengthen current holdings
Fields in which LaRC does not acquire archives or manuscripts (conspectus level 0-1) are African-Americana, jazz, architecture, Catholicism, Acadiana, education, law, Tulane administrative records, and official records of the City of New Orleans, the Parish of Orleans, and the State of Louisiana. Instead, it works closely with other research libraries and archives specializing in those fields to ensure those areas are documented. Exceptions are made when records or papers directly pertain to and strengthen current holdings.
Special attention is given to retrospective collecting of publications to assure completeness of the collection. A special focus of retrospective collecting is Louisiana publications from World War II - 2000 and fiction by Louisiana authors.
In addition to serving Tulane students and faculty, the Louisiana Research Collection supports the research needs of visiting scholars and is an integral part of Tulane's commitment to the larger New Orleans community. This flows directly from the nature of its holdings, which are essential for understanding the region. Many of LaRC’s holdings are international cultural treasures, such as possibly the finest nineteenth-century Louisiana library extant, a noted Louisiana map collection, the Jefferson Davis papers, the Gettysburg letters of Robert E. Lee, and the John Kennedy Toole papers. Because such holdings have cultural significance beyond Tulane, the Louisiana Research Collection has an ethical obligation to make its holdings available to all researchers on equal terms regardless of affiliation.
Archival documents are created in a wide variety of formats. They include but are not limited to codices, personal papers, institutional records, photographs, programs, individual letters, typescripts, and transcripts. Almost all will be non-published.
The Louisiana Research Collection avoids acquiring formats for which there are no, as yet, generally accepted preservation methods, are outside our technical expertise to maintain, or are beyond our financial capacity to care for properly.
We typically do not accept photocopies, microfilm, or other alternate use copies in lieu of originals. Exceptions will be newspapers and online database products.
LaRC acquires archival holdings almost exclusively through donation. Purchases are reserved for rare occasions when documents of unusual significance to the department's current holdings or collecting interests come on the market. The department accepts materials on loan or deposit only in extraordinary circumstances, usually with the understanding that they will be donated outright at a specified later date. Donations of materials and funds are essential to maintaining and developing the collections and the department consistently seeks the support of donors.