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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Mingo Family African American Photographs, 1877-1955 (bulk: 1887-1915). 33 items. Location: 65. The collection consists of thirty-two photographic images of unidentified African Americans, believed to be members of the Mingo family of Port Allen, La., and one empty photograph album.  Includes cabinet card portraits of men, women, and children taken at unidentified studios and by photographers in Baton Rouge and Plaquemine, La., as well as real postcards and photographic prints made in Hot Springs, Arkansas; Cairo, Illinois; New Orleans, La.; and St. Cloud, Minnesota. It is possible that some of the individuals in the images are members of an African American theatrical troupe specializing in minstrel shows. Mss. 5113.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, African Americans

Moore, Eddie. Musical composition, 1893. 1 item [microfilm copy and enlargement print]. Location: Misc.:M, Mss. Mf.:M. A mulatto resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, studying music at a conservatory in Stuttgart, Germany. Musical composition, 'Mazurka d'encore,' by Moore. The composition is part of an autograph album of Rosa Frantz Harper. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1288.

Murdoch, James Edward, 1811-1893. Papers, 1837-1903. 35 items. Location: A:2. American actor and father of Fannie Murdoch. They were associated with John Pierpont, a Unitarian clergyman, author, and abolitionist. Collection consists of letters written to Murdoch, his daughter, John Pierpont, W. F. Bridges, and others from actors, authors, New England abolitionists, and Unitarian clergymen. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 667.

Music journal collection, 1876-1899. 34 items. Location: OS:M. Various periodicals related to music and song. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2600-73.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts

New Orleans Grand Opera Company Checkbook, 1919-1920. 1 vol. Location: J:12. Checkbook shows deposits and disbursements. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 922.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

New Orleans Grand Opera Company Tickets, 1919. 5 items. Location: EPHEMERA COLLECTION SUBGROUP VI. Subscription tickets featuring Louis P. Verande, impresario. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1189.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

New Orleans opera-theatre scrapbook, 1899-1937 (bulk 1913-1914). 8 items, 1 ms. vol. Location: M:20, MISC:M. Scrapbook contains programs for operas, plays, and benefit performances given at the French Opera House and at New Orleans theatres. Loose items include programs for plays given at the Tulane Theatre and for Sarah Bernhardt's engagement at the Dauphine. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 794.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, New Orleans 1866-

New York theater program collection, 1916-1925. 161 items, 1 printed vol. Location: C:69. Printed programs and handbills of theaters, opera houses, and nightclubs, chiefly in New York City, but also including London and Buenos Aires. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1321.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts

Olivier, Gaston. Song, 1975. 1 printed item. Location: E:Imprints. Copyrighted song, 'That Tiger Is Still a Coonass,' refers to the LSU football team. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3006.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, LSU

Olivier, Laurence. Letter, 1963. 1 letter. Location: Misc.:O. Letter from actor, Laurence Olivier, to LSU professor, Don Moore, expressing his gratitude for a Christmas card and an article concerning Othello. Mss. 5310

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, LSU