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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Shaver, Claude L. Papers, 1924-1973. 6 linear ft. Location: 77:103-109, OS:S. Professor, Louisiana State University (LSU) Department of Speech. Papers include professional correspondence, materials relating to the Southwest Theater Conference, and items pertaining to theater groups in Louisiana; teaching speech and drama at LSU; and other aspects Shaver's career. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2769.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Education, Baton Rouge, LSU

Sheet music collection, 1826-1912. 53 items, 2 vols. Location: 65:. Sheet music, popular and sacred, some illustrated, printed, composed, or sold in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. Mss. 2600-73.

Shields, Joseph D. (Joseph Dunbar), 1820-1886. Papers, 1802-1960 (bulk 1843-1897). 1802-1960 (bulk 1843-1897). 712 items, 4 ms. Vols., 2 printed vols. Location: T:37-T:44; 99:S; Vault; OS: S. Resident of Natchez who was a judge, legislator, planter, and author. His son Joseph Dunbar Shields, Jr., served under J. E. B. Stuart in the Civil War and was killed at Culpepper, Virginia. Papers consist of personal, political, financial, Civil War, and plantation management correspondence and papers; historical, literary, legal, and political manuscripts; and printed items, documenting three generations of the Shields family. Includes letters from Joseph Dunbar Shields while attending the Univeristy of Virginia and drafts of his writings. Plantation papers relate to the family's plantation Pecano, in Waterproof, Tensas Parish, Louisiana. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 4, Reels 12-15, or Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries, Series E, Reel 34. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 390, 1526, 1542, 1709, 1821, 1996, 2053.

Short Kenneth R. M. Lantern Slide and Motion Picture Film Collection, circa 1895-1960 (bulk: 1914-1916). 710 items, 1.5 linear feet. Location: 145:18-20; 146:12. This collection consists of 710 lantern slides contains series covering World War I, Ireland, Politicians, Life, and a few entertainment series such as Puss and Boots, Reynaud the Fox, and St. George and the Dragon and a series of long, hand-painted "story" slides. The motion picture film component contains five series with fourteen distinct titles most of which may be considered propaganda. Mss. 4849, 5091.

Skidmore Guard. Songsheet, circa 1863-. 1 printed item. Location: E:Imprints. African American military unit organized in New York during the Civil War. Broadside sheet with lyrics of the marching song of the Skidmore Guard. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2983.

Smith, James Monroe, 1888-1949. LSU songs, 1937. 1 printed item. Location: Misc.:S. President of LSU (1930-1939). Autographed presentation copy of LSU songs from Castro Carazo. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2006.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, LSU

Snee, J. E. (Joseph Emmett), 1895-1966, Photograph collection. 1914-1944. 41 items (35 are photographic copies, 6 are photocopies). Resident of Baton Rouge, employee of the Standard Oil Company, and director of the Stancola Refinery Band. Photographs made or collected by Snee of LSU students, Governor Ruffin G. Pleasant's inauguration, World War I military service, Baton Rouge landmarks, and Standard Oil Company. Collection also includes two band programs and other ephemera. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4069.

Société des Servantes des Pauvres poem, circa 1850. 1 item. Location: E:Imprints. Poem entitled 'Les Servantes des Pauvres,' published by the Society des Servantes des Pauvres. Also printed on the sheet: 'Matinee Concert, offerte par les artistes de l'opera.'. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2600.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, French, Literature

Sommer, Ray. Concert programs, 1929-1960. 268 items. Location: W:2. LSU assistant registrar (1926-1971). Programs collected by Sommer of various types of musical performances, given chiefly in Baton Rouge, including operatic, orchestral, and individual and choral performances. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2600-73.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Baton Rouge, LSU

Sothern, E. H. (Edward Hugh), 1859-1933. Letter, 1890 Mar. 10. 1 letter. Location: Misc. E.H. Sothern was an American actor born in New Orleans, La., who specialized in dashing, romantic leading roles and particularly in Shakespeare roles. Sothern in Cleveland, Ohio, writes to the Secretary of the Press Supply Association describing his first professional acting appearance in September 1879. Mss. 3920.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts