For detailed guides to published materials in selected subject areas, see Tips for Finding Books.
Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC)
In addition to its manuscript collections, LLMVC includes more than 50,000 volumes of books, periodicals, maps, publications from Louisiana state agencies, Louisiana newspapers, and other published materials dating from the 17th century to the present that document the social, economic, political, cultural, literary, and environmental history of Louisiana and its people.
Rare Book Collection
Dating back to the dawn of printing in the fifteenth century, this collection contains more than 27,000 books that require special handling and protection because of their age, rarity, value, or historical significance. Particular strengths include eighteenth-century British literature, religion, European exploration and travel, agriculture and gardening, the history of slavery, early English translations of classical literature, and fine printing and book design. Included in this collection are high-quality reproductions of nearly 100 manuscripts dating from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. For detailed holdings in selected subject areas, see Tips for Finding Books.
E. A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection
In 1971, John Stauffer McIlhenny donated the natural history portion of the library of his uncle, Edward Avery McIlhenny, a conservationist and member of the prominent Louisiana family which since 1868 has produced the world-famous Tabasco hot pepper sauce. His collection was combined with existing holdings and has since been further developed. Particularly strong in botanical and ornithological illustration, highlights include the elephant folio edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America; an archive of original pencil drawings, some in Audubon’s own hand; and the original watercolors of the Flora of Louisiana by Australian botanical artist Margaret Stones. For more information, see the printed library catalogs Nature Classics (1987) and Aves: A Survey of the Literature of Neotropical Ornithology (2011).
In 1986, LSU purchased the library of New Orleans photographer Clarence John Laughlin, the “father” of American surrealist photography. The collection’s focus is on science fiction, fantasy, and mystery writing. Other subjects represented include 20th-century art and design, photography, Victoriana, humor, sex, psychology, spiritualism, and the occult.
Andrei Codrescu Collection of Outsider Literature
Codrescu, a Romanian émigré, was a professor of English at Louisiana State University from 1984 until his retirement in 2009. The author of more than 30 books, Codrescu was the founding editor of the literary journal Exquisite Corpse. The collection contains approximately 5,000 volumes of late 20th-century fiction and poetry, many of which are ephemeral in nature or were published by small presses. Codrescu’s personal papers are also held in Special Collections.
Several smaller book collections are available, including the Bowlus Comic Book Collection, the Gladney Chess Collection, the Carriere Collection of Poker and Hoyle, the Judge Warren Jones Lincoln Collection, the Rhoades Crayfish Collection, and the Williamson Collection of Civil War Books for Young People. You may limit your search to any of these collections in the LSU Libraries’ online catalog. For more information, contact the library.