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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A Song for the Ladies broadside, circa 1863. 1 item. Location: MISC:S. The author of the broadside, "Bones," was a drummer in Company G of the 77th Illinois Infantry Regiment, formerly of the 130th Illinois. Lyrics compare virtues of soldiers to flaws of men who stayed at home. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 4290

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Civil War

Acadian Handicraft Project. Records. 1936-1962. 9.5 linear ft. Location: 7:98-106, OS:A. Project launched in 1942 to preserve the language and culture of the French-speaking people of Louisiana; project was suspended around 1962. Project launched in 1942 to preserve the language and culture of the French-speaking people of Louisiana. Records consist of general office files, program files for festivals and exhibitions, and records relating to the promotion, the production and sale of handicrafts. Some itmes are in French. Mss. 1880.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, Acadiana, French

Actors and Musicians Photographs, ca. 1880-1920. 64 items. Location: E:71. The collection consists of mounted and unmounted black and white photographs of actors and musicians who appeared at New Orleans theaters during the period of 1880-1920. Handwritten notes on the back of many of the photos identify the individuals, the theater where they appeared, and the name of the play or event. Among the New Orleans houses so identified are the Tulane, Athenaeum, Orpheum, Dauphine, and Crescent Theaters, as well as the French Opera House. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2116.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

Amato, Pasquale. Scrapbook and Printed Items, 1913-1929 (bulk 1913-1915). 1 vol., 26 items. Location: M:23. Native of Italy and operatic baritone. Amato performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York until 1921, and headed the Opera Department at LSU from 1934-1942. Scrapbook containing newspaper clippings and printed items relating to Amato's operatic career. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2563.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, LSU

Anonymous letter, 1851. 1 item. Location: Misc.:A. Letter written from Augusta of Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana, to her sister, Mrs. Sarah W. Simpson, Newburyport, Massachusetts. The letter describes the excitement in Alexandria among whites and blacks over Jenny Lind's concert in New Orleans, Louisiana; steamboats and fishing on the Red River; and other local news. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1008.

Anonymous manuscript volume, 1858-1877. 1 item. Location: Misc. A. Journal contains notes on the progress of the Civil War and the 'Trent Affair', a diplomatic incident between the U. S. and Great Britain. Other topics include poetry; songs; partial plays in commedia dell'arte style; notes on Renaissance Italian history and notes on Daniel Deronda by George Eliot. Also included are listings for businesses and consulates in New Orleans, and public officials in Paris. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3545.

Anonymous letter, 1864. 1 item. Location: Misc. Letter from Sarah, apparently a young girl and resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, written upon her return from a trip to New York City, commenting on a minstrel show in New Orleans, Louisiana, and expressing interest in the New York presidential election returns. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1418.

Anonymous letter, 1867. 1 item. Location: Misc. Letter from a guest at Trenton House [Trenton, New Jersey], commenting on the artistic ability and physical characteristics of the blind African American musician 'Blind Tom,' after attending a concert given by the pianist. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1533.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, African Americans

Applewhite, Cornelia. Papers, 1877-1878, 1924-1925, undated 3 items, 2 ms. Vols., 2 printed vols. [on microfilm]. Location: Mss. Mf.:A. Student at Whitworth Female College, Brookhaven, Mississippi. Two notebooks containing entries on basic subjects; lists of students; and biographical and genealogical notes. Also included are a printed song book (1877); a printed volume on the history of Sarepta (1924-1925); and three pictures. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3498.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, Education

Armstrong, A. Notebook, 1839-1847. 1 vol. Location: F:2. Notebook of miscellaneous items including remedies, beverage recipes, medical reports, observations on phrenology, Clay and Polk campaign songs, poetry, memoranda, directions for erecting a house, correspondence, and events in Armstrong's life. Included is Armstrong's will, July 7, 1841, made before meeting 'Mr. Smith' in an affair of honor. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 664.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Medicine, Literature

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