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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Dunbar, Elijah. Letters, 1851. 3 items. Location: Misc:D. Resident of Canton, Massachusetts, and a boarder living in New Orleans, employed by a music dealer. Letters by Dunbar to his sister, Miss Chloe Dunbar, of Canton, Massachusetts, describing his religious, social, and business activities. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 985, 991.

Dunkley, Ferdinand. Musical arrangement, undated 1 item. Location: 65:. Louisiana composer, organist, and conductor, affiliated with Loyola University of the South. Musical arrangement for orchestration of 'Praise the Lord' by Ferdinand Dunkley. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 965.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Education

Dupre and Metoyer and Company. Account book, 1830-1837, 1873. 1 vol. Location: F:15. General merchandise store in Isle Brevelle, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, owned by Emanuel Dupre and J. B. D. Metoyer, free African Americans. Inventory of stock of Dupre and Metoyer and Company. An entry in 1873 records a mortgage due to Oscar Dubreuil. Copies of songs and drawings by Leatter Dupre are included in the back of the book. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 834.

Durnin, James and John. Family Papers, 1849-1881. 24 items, 7 vols. Location: E:4. James Durnin was a resident of St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, and Confederate soldier in the Civil War, serving in Louisiana and Mississippi. John Durnin, a brother, also served in the Confederate army. Papers include correspondence, bills, accounts, clippings of the Durnin family. Correspondence includes Civil War letters of James and John Durnin. Bound volumes include 3 cash books; a minute book of the Pickwick Baseball Club, Amite City, Louisiana; and a notebook with a list of music pieces and some scores. Available on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 4. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 697.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Civil War

Eaton, Edward O., and Charles Lever. Song, 1864. 1 item. Location: Misc. Sheet music of a Civil War song, Camp Fire Song, with words by Charles Lever and music by Edward Eaton. The song is dedicated to Captain Charles E. Fenner of Fenner's Louisiana Battery and was published by Blackmar and Bro., Augusta, Georgia. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 134.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Civil War