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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Gottschalk, Louis Moreau, 1829-1869. Photograph, circa 1860. 1 item. Location: E:73. Louis Moreau Gottschalk was a classical pianist from New Orleans who toured in Europe, the United States, and South America. This carte de visite by Charles D. Fredricks & Co. of New York City presents Gottschalk seated at a piano. Mss. 3658.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts

Gray, Lillie Trust. Papers, 1865-1920 (bulk 1886-1890). 178 items, 9 volumes. Location: U:154; F:9. Musician and teacher at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Convent, St. James Parish, Louisiana. Papers document Gray's teaching of and interest in music, and include a record book (1874-1900, 1902) containing lists of musical compositions and a diary (1900-1905) containing entries on music sung at Roman Catholic masses. Collection also includes household and farm entries; receipts for music lessons; and a payroll book (1865-1867) for Houmas Plantation. The payroll book is available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 1, Reel 15. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 165, 965, 422, 2070.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Plantations, Performing arts, Women

Grunewald, Ella. Journal, 1884-1886. 1v. Location: G:20. Ella Grunewald writes about her family, friends, and neighbors; social life and culture in New Orleans; Mardi Gras; she describes in detail her school lessons in Classical mythology and chemistry experiments; Catholic religious observances; plays, concerts, and other entertainment; and lectures given by Dr. Stanford E. Chaillé. She also describes her visits to the two World\'s Fairs held in New Orleans: the World\'s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition (Dec. 1884-June 1885) and the North, Central and South American Exposition (Nov. 1885-March 1886). Mss. 3858.

Gueymard, Earnest. Programs, 1948-1972. 127 items. Location: W:5, OS:G. Programs for a variety of civic, social, and cultural activities in Baton Rouge, New Iberia, and New Orleans, Louisiana, collected by Gueymard. Includes programs for three world premiere performances. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2600.

Hanley, Ben. Collection, 1919-1936. 41 items. Location: U:115. Director of the New Orleans School of Speech and Dramatic Art, teacher in the New Orleans Public High Schools, and one of the organizers of Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carre and the New Orleans Conservatory of Music. Papers include announcements, circulars, programs, and related items pertaining to the Anna Morgan Studios in Chicago, Emerson College in Boston, and the New Orleans School of Speech and Dramatic Art. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1683.