With roots extending back to 1889, the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) supports a wide range of Louisiana research. Its strengths include art, business, Carnival, the Civil War, the environment, Jewish studies, LGBTQ+ studies, medicine, politics, social welfare, literature, and women's studies.
Tulane University’s archival program began on May 3, 1889, when Mrs. L. Dolhonde presented to the Charles T. Howard Memorial Library a letter from Thomas Jefferson to M. duPlantier. That donation marked the beginning of what came to be the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC).
In 1938 the Howard Library, the Newcomb Library from Newcomb College, and Tilton Library from Tulane University merged to form Tulane’s Howard-Tilton Memorial Library (HTML). The Howard Library opened in 1889 and while privately held, functioned as the city library for New Orleans. Its holdings are largely why LaRC today preserves one of the finest 19th century Louisiana libraries.
While the Howard Library, the Newcomb Library, the Tilton Library, and the merged Howard-Tilton Memorial Library (HTML) had all intermittently acquired Louisiana research materials, in 1956 HTML hired Consuelo “Connie” Garza Griffith as its first person specifically charged with overseeing archival and special collections. The new Special Collections department initially had three sections: Rare Books, the Manuscripts Department (for archival collections) and the Louisiana Collection (for books and other printed resources about Louisiana). Those departments were soon followed by the Hogan Jazz Archive (1958), the Tulane University Archives (1962), and the Southeastern Architectural Archives (1979).
In 2009 the Manuscripts Department and Louisiana Collection merged to form the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC). In the more than 120 years since its initial donation, the Louisiana Research Collection has grown to encompass almost four linear miles of archival documents, books, maps, images, ephemera, and other resources central to the study of Louisiana.