Browse Exhibits (23 total)
A student-run exhibition of fairy tale illustrations from Tulane’s Special Collections and from the Amoss Collection, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library; in conjunction with the course “GERM 3670: Grimm Reckonings, The Development of the German Fairy Tale,” offered during the Spring semester 2013 by the Department of Germanic & Slavic Studies at Tulane University.
Fairy Tale Illustrations: Making Fantasy an On-the-Page Reality
From the beginnings of oral tradition to contemporary literature, no other art form has proven its resilience like that of the fairy tale. Its flexibility allows it to take many forms from legend to epic and from myth to folk tale. For generations these stories have piqued our interest, entertained us, and all the while exercised a form of pedagogy. Countless authors and collectors have tweaked and manipulated these tales, adapting them for any time or place in history.
As of the late 19th century and into the early 20th, these tales have come alive on paper and canvas, further impressing their significance on the collective human psyche. When one envisions an ogre, fairy, witch, or beast, one has the imaginations of the artists showcased in this exhibit to thank. Their labors represent the contemporary manifestations of age-old traditions.
“The Brothers Grimm (1855)”
“Charles Perrault (1671)”
Few things stoke the reader’s imagination like a skillfully crafted image. Since
the Brothers Grimm revolutionized the folk tale tradition with their collection of stories,
illustrations have served to illuminate the characters and places readers have
come to love. Although they have served to elaborate and clarify text, they have
done something more magical: at a basic level, the fairy tale illustration has added
to the mystique of simple tales, creating visual representations of characters and
endowing simple phrases with unexpected beauty.
The field of stamp collecting is so broad that many collectors specialize. Notable specializations are aviation history and its sub-specialization, postal aviation history, which is collecting stamps, first-day covers, and cachets (designs printed on envelopes) marking historic events in the history of airmail.
This collection, compiled by Alfred Lippman, uses postal covers and cancellations to document the aviation history of Louisiana. It includes envelopes autographed by famous aviators, covers and cancellations marking important aviation events in Louisiana (such as the passing of the U.S.S. Akron, a naval zeppelin, over New Orleans) and, covers documenting important events in airmail history (such as the first flight of airmail from Atlanta to New Orleans).
This project was made possible in part by the generous support of the Gail and Alfred S. Lippman Family Fund.
The Early New Orleans Jazz Posters exhibit from the Hogan Jazz Archive offers a rare glimpse at music and society in New Orleans at the turn of the twentieth century. Through a series of posters advertising various social events, one can see firsthand the strong connection between the formation of Jazz and the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, Mutual Aid and Protective Associations and their associated Halls that were an integral component of the African-American community in New Orleans. The fabled locations printed on these posters including Economy Hall, Oddfellows Hall, and St. Katharine’s Hall, are some of the most referenced establishments in early jazz history. The acquisition of this powerful collection came as an unexpected addition to the renowned John Robichaux performance library of sheet music and orchestrations. When unpacking and processing the materials for the first time, folded and interleaved paper that appeared to be packing material to protect and separate the sheet music and orchestrations, actually turned out to be the series of posters featured in this exhibit. They are in remarkably good condition with the exception of a distinct crease or tear down the center of the poster from remaining folded for such a long period of time.
Considering the collection’s origin, it is not surprising that John Robichaux’s Orchestra is often one of the bands featured, and this exhibit would not be complete without at least a brief description of him and his times. Robichaux, a Creole of Color and a classically trained violinist, was originally from Thibodaux, Louisiana like so many other talented musicians that found their way to New Orleans. Upon arriving in the city 1891, he took up the bass drum with the Excelsior Brass Band and later formed his own successful orchestra. The Robichaux Orchestra was reputed to be one of the finest in a city full of talented musicians, and was in demand at benevolent society halls, public parks and high end establishments alike. Later in life, Robichaux would enjoy a long tenure leading the Orchestra at the famed Lyric Theater. Many were held in awe of John Robichaux, believing him to be the epitome of refinement. He is often viewed as one of the last of the old guard, attempting to hold onto a unique way of life in the face of inevitable changes.
Although not mentioned by name on any of the posters, the shadow of Charles “Buddy” Bolden, a contemporary of Robichaux’s, is impossible to escape. Bolden was not a creole, nor classically trained. He embraced the new ratty style, learning to play music predominantly by ear and not yielding to established musical conventions or polite social norms. He was reputedly as wild as Robichaux was refined, and as uninhibited as Robichaux was disciplined. Although the collection ranges from 1900-1913, the vast majority are dated after 1907, the year Bolden was declared legally insane and institutionalized, so it is not surprising that he is absent from these advertisements despite his fame and notoriety. We do see an advertisement from 1910 featuring the “Famous Eagle Orchestra” which was the continuation of Bolden Band under the leadership of Frankie Duson after Bolden was institutionalized. This exhibit also features advertisements for functions held at Lincoln and Johnson Parks, famous segregated parks in the city where Robichaux and Bolden reportedly battled for the affection of audiences and the supremacy of their style.
While it is tempting to romanticize the history of jazz and its forefathers, it would be disingenuous to ignore the oppressive milieu these musicians could not escape from. New Orleans was a city in flux; the increasing Americanization of the Francophile city post-reconstruction and crippling Jim Crow segregation legislation, which stripped Creoles of Color of their unique social status, was bearing down in full force at the turn of the century as evidenced with the brutality of the Robert Charles Riots. De jure racism permeated Louisiana, so it is unsurprising, if disheartening, to see several posters that reflect this harsh reality. Within the exhibit, one sees phrases such as “strictly white excursion,” “extra cars for colored people,” “separate cars for colored people,” or “The Most Refined Park for Colored People in the South.” As such, it is important to view these posters advertising for benefit balls put on by the mutual aid societies and social pleasure clubs as a reflection of their times, when medical, burial and life insurance were out of reach for African-Americans, and such memberships and fundraisers attempted to fill a chasm that Jim Crow legislation created with impunity.
With all of this in mind, perhaps the most important information one can take away from this exhibit is that Jazz was a product of the diverse communities in New Orleans. It gestated in social halls supported by neighborhoods and society memberships; Lawn Parties, where often ladies would negotiate the services of a band with food and drink for an admission fee; public parks and excursions, where entire families would gather for entertainment. There is no mention of Storyville, the red light restricted district. While some members of these bands referenced certainly played in the restricted district, the idea that Jazz developed solely in the environs of Storyville, is a simplistic notion that sullies the rich musical tradition associated with New Orleans since its inception, and continues to this day, almost a century past the closing of Storyville.
For ease of browsing, the exhibit has been broken into three categories based on the occasion of the event, available from the links below. Within the three categories, one can click on each poster to view the full descriptive information, and click on the image again to view the full, enlarged image. If you have any questions regarding the exhibit, or would like any additional information, please contact the Hogan Jazz Archive at firstname.lastname@example.org
This online exhibit is sponsored by The Latin American Library (LAL) at Tulane University. In September 2013, Erika Diettes exhibited samples of her work in the LAL gallery in conjunction with the Library’s annual Open House.
SHROUDS (Sudarios) is the result of multiple theoretical concerns, an infinity of technical quests, and an observation of the world from a certain context.
My decision to create this work stems from questions which have remained from previous photographic series, but are the consequences of the same process that began with my series SILENCES (Silencios, 2004), which deals with survivors of the Second World War who live in Colombia.
These questions are also to be found in DRIFTING AWAY (Río Abajo, 2007-2008), a series which deals with the victims of forced disappearance, and BY FORCE OF BLOOD (A Punta de Sangre, 2009), another series in which I examine the idea of the search for the bodies of the disappeared by their families who, in the midst of despair, find a ray of hope in the vultures that might lead them to the remains of their loved ones. To date I have received the testimonies of more than 300 victims of the violence in Colombia. They have confided intimacies of this violence to me: not only its harrowing details but the way they rebuild their lives and keep going despite what they have suffered.
Many times, with my camera, I have been a witness of the moment when people have to close their eyes as they recall the event which divided their life into two parts. The intention of the SHROUDS series is to enable the spectator to enter into and walk through these impenetrable and apparently alien worlds, when s/he observes that moment in which these women close their eyes because they find no other way to communicate the true dimension of the horror which they witnessed and the intensity of the sorrow to which they were subjected.
The women whose faces appear in SHROUDS were first-hand witnesses of acts of horror. They were forced to feel in their own flesh or in front of their own eyes that there is no difference between human beings and the most savage beasts of nature; or rather, that there is a difference and it is that we are the only species capable of mass murder and the only ones who do not adapt to our own kind.1
1. Nikolaas Timbergen, cited by Erich Fromm, Anatomía de la destructividad humana. Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1975; 2004. p. 35.
Erika Diettes is a visual artist who lives and works in Bogotá. She works mainly with photography to explore issues of memory, pain, absence and death. She has a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá), with a Licenciatura in Visual Arts and Communication from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá. She has authored several essays on artistic representation in times of war, and her photographic and essayistic production has been included in various books, newspapers and journals. Her work is part of the permanent collection of several major museums and has been exhibited at the Museums of Modern Art of Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and Barranquilla, the Museum of the University of Antioquia, the National Museum of Colombia, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago de Chile, Centro Cultural recoleta in Buenos Aires, De Santos Gallery and Houston Museum of Art. Her most recent work, Sudarios, participated in the 2012 Fotofest Biennal, the Festival de la Luz in Buenos Aires, the Ex Teresa Arte Actual in Mexico City, and the Ballarat Foto Biennale in Australia among others. Erika Diettes’ photographs also have been exhibited in other spaces linked to rememoration processes developed by several victims’ movements in Colombia.
The photographs of Abbye A. Gorin
1937 to 2000
An exhibition featuring photographs of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's songbooks and publications spanning the career of their founder and cornetist Dominic James "Nick" LaRocca.
Preserving Louisiana's Legacy
Did you know that the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) preserves letters of George and Martha Washington, John Jay’s commission as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and William Faulkner’s hand-written and illustrated manuscript of Mayday?
LaRC’s archival program stretches back to May 3, 1889, when Mrs. L. Dolhonde presented to the Charles T. Howard Memorial Library a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a M. duPlantier of New Orleans. In the more than 120 years since Mrs. Dolhonde’s donation, the Louisiana Research Collection has grown to encompass almost four linear miles of archival documents, books, maps, and other resources central to the study of our state. We hope this exhibit will introduce viewers around the world to the scope and depth of our holdings while also revealing some possibly surprising international cultural treasures.
We begin with the Colonial era and letters from William Penn, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers. We then highlight our renowned Civil War collection, followed by Louisiana arts and literature featuring Mark Twain, John Kennedy Toole, and William Faulkner.
LaRC’s Carnival Collection is one of Tulane University’s most precious jewels and includes original costume and float designs from the “Golden Age of Carnival.” The exhibit then moves on to women and gender, religion, and finally Louisiana’s rich and often vivid political heritage.
This exhibit, prepared by Hogan Jazz Archive Curator Bruce Boyd Raeburn, explores the fascinating history of jazz played on the Mississippi River. Selections detail the rise and fall of the riverboat excursion, and the impact the engagements had on the careers of early New Orleans jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong and Sidney Desvigne. Rare images and insights bring the bygone era to light in a compelling way, and reiterate the importance of the riverboat excursion and the northern migration of jazz.
About Victor H. Schiro
Victor Hugo “Vic” Schiro (May 6, 1904 - August 29, 1992), was born in Chicago and moved to New Orleans with his parents as a child. In 1932 he married Mary Margaret Gibbes, better known as “Sunny.” He founded his own insurance company and by the 1940s had become a civic leader.
In 1950 Schiro was elected commissioner of public buildings and parks, followed by election to councilman-at-large in 1954. When DeLesseps S. "Chep" Morrison resigned as mayor in 1961 to become U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States, the City Council elected Schiro interim mayor. He subsequently won two full terms as Mayor of New Orleans in 1962 and 1965.
Schiro held to a simple governing philosophy, "if it’s good for New Orleans, I’m for it." His accomplishments included:
- Ensuring the peaceful opening of integrated schools in 1961
- Initiating a code of ethics for city employees
- Sponsoring the creation of the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission
- Establishing the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority
- Directing Hurricane Betsy recovery
Mayor Schiro considered the arrival of the New Orleans Saints professional football team and the beginning of plans to build the Louisiana Superdome to be two of his foremost achievements.
Curated by Linda L. Carroll, Jacklyn Grambush, Rachel Hullett, and Teresa Russo, this exhibit arose from the breadth and depth both of Tulane University's holdings in this area and of the Italian literary patriotic experience.
Over the course of the eighteenth century, Enlightenment ideals of individual dignity and self-determination grew in concert with the determination of leading Italians to free their regional states from the foreign domination under which they had labored from the early sixteenth century. The rise of Napoleon and the American Revolution provided further elements that drove Italy from its fragmented, dominated condition to national unification. Seeking to inspire a patriotism among the populace that would lead to the overthrow of foreign domination, Italian patriots found the answer in their cultural history, especially their literature, undertaking extensive publishing programs to bring their literary classics to a broad public and creating new works to establish both personal and national identity. This exhibit provides a sampling of the books and ideas that helped spur Italy into forging its own existence as a unified nation.
Excellence in Education: Celebrating the Artistic, Academic, Athletic, and Administrative Achievements of the Women of Tulane University
This exhibit was created in conjunction with the Nola4Women linked exhibition initiative, Builders and Rebuilders, which over the past two years has featured 45 exhibits across the city highlighting the prominent role women play in making New Orleans such a special place. Here at Tulane, the theme of our digital exhibition was easy to choose, since we have been in the business of providing excellence in education for 183 years. On these webpages, you will find vignettes of women who came to Tulane University and Newcomb College from near and far, as students, faculty and staff, or just as friends who wished to make a difference in the fabric of New Orleans, and who left us all the richer for their presence. These outstanding women have made contributions to many different fields of study and have reach varied levels of personal and professional achievements. In the future, we will profile additional women. In order to make the ladies more easily searchable, we have grouped them into four categories: Arts, Academics, Athletics, and Administration. Of course, many of our fabulous women cross over between categories, e.g. Rosa Hart, the nation’s first female cheerleader – you’ll find her in the Athletics category, which in no way diminishes her later career in local theatre.
This digital version of the Southeastern Architectural Archive's in-house exhibit features original drawings, photographs, and other items from the records of New Orleans modernist architect, Albert Charles Ledner (1924-2017). Born in the Bronx, New York City, Ledner was raised in New Orleans. After graduating from the Tulane School of Architecture in 1948, Ledner attended the Frank Lloyd Wright Fellowship in Spring Green, Wisconsin. He returned to New Orleans in 1950, with a commission to design a house for C.V. Goldate in Metairie, Louisiana. This led to a career designing many residences in the New Orleans region, several commercial projects, the First Unitarian Church on Jefferson Avenue in New Orleans, and several buildings for the National Maritime Union, including New Orleans, Baltimore, San Francisco, Norfolk, Virginia, and the national headquarters in New York City.
Included are project drawings and photographs, including photographs taken by Ledner on trips to see Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, an ashtray from the A.C. Sunkel residence (“the Ashtray House”) on Park Island, New Orleans, acrylic and glass shades made by Ledner for lighting fixtures, a plan for an electric tunnel oven for Ledner’s mother’s bakery, and a cookbook from 1987 of his mother’s recipes. Ledner’s mother, Beulah Ledner, is credited with the creation of the New Orleans doberge cake.
Generous support for this exhibit provided by Lettermans and the Louisiana Architectural Foundation.
Additional support provided by the Marjorie Peirce Geiser and John Geiser, Jr. Fund of the Southeastern Architectural Archive.
On October 31st, 1517, theologian and priest Martin Luther supposedly nailed his 95 Theses to the door of a Wittenberg church and began the Lutheran Reformation, which altered the religious and cultural landscape of Western Europe. Curated by Elio Brancaforte and students of his seminar "The Experience of War" (Audrey Brown, Alison Cunningham, Paulina Kiernan, Bradley Reber, Sara Scott, Annie Strnisha, and Jake Ward), this exhibit was part of a group of displays and talks centered on the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation's beginning and presents materials from the Rare Books Collection that touch on the history of the Bible as a book, the Lutheran faith in Europe and America, and the Thirty Years' War.
An online exhibit to complement the physical exhibit currently on display through 2018 on the 4th floor of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University.
As the city of New Orleans celebrates the 300th anniversary of its founding, it also commemorates a three centuries long relationship with its neighbors in the Circum-Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The Latin American Library celebrates this history with Charting the Gulf: Tricentennial Connections. In this online exhibit, we display images of maps, photographs, print ephemera, and manuscripts that document three historic moments in the evolving relationship between New Orleans and its Southern neighbors:
Early European Cartography of the Gulf, 16th-18th centuries;
Trade and Travel Across the Gulf, 19th - 20th centuries;
Tulane University's John Geddings Gray Memorial Archaeological Expedition to Middle America in 1928.
How Long Have Women Fought for Liberty?
The Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) has a special mission to preserve the contributions of woment to New Orleans. This exhibit uses LaRC archival resources to highlight notable New Orleans female activists and their struggle to obtain the right to vote, with a special emphasis on how our city's social stratification and educational institutions shaped the local suffrage movement. It was created by Tulane student Emily Galik as part of her internship for the class "Public History" taught by professor Jana K. Lipman.
Preserving the heritage of New Orleans women is a special mission of the Louisiana Research Collection. From the personal papers of notable women, (including Lindy Boggs, Hilda Phelps Hammond, Ethel Hutson, Angela Gregory, among many) to the records of women's organizations such as the Poydras Home, the Quarante Club, the YMCA, the Independent Women's Organization, the Women's Exchange, the Louisiana Women's Committee, and the National Council of Jewish Women. The Louisiana Research Collection is a leader in preserving the political contributions of women to New Orleans.
Natalie Scott (1890-1957):
A decorated war hero, a celebrated newspaperwoman, an award winning playwright, a wilderness explorer, a Red Cross nurse, translator, teacher and social worker, Natalie Scott lived and worked among the poor and the war wounded on four continents.
As a writer and columnist in New Orleans during the 1920s, she became a vital member of the literary/artistic/intellectual community of the French Quarter. Her close companions were some of the twentieth century’s most creative minds. She then moved to Taxco, Mexico in 1930. There she went on to create a school, develop a colony for artists, and help the residents of Taxco preserve their heritage.
For the first time since the 1980s, the students of Newcomb Music Department will produce a fully staged opera in March 2018 under the direction of Amy Pfrimmer. Despite the long hiatus, there is a century's long tradition of opera at Tulane University, beginning in the 1910s with the first annual production of a Gilbert & Sullivan opera. Although a period often overlooked in the history of opera at Tulane, opera production blossomed in the 1950s under the leadership of Cardon V. Burnham, who created the Tulane Opera Workshop program that ultimately served as the foundation for all future opera productions at Tulane and that played a roll in the early years of Summer Lyric Theatre. The Opera Workshop was sustained in the 1960s by performances of new operas by then faculty member Charles Hamm, who launched his career as an acclaimed and pivotal musicologist here at Tulane. The program was later revived by long time director Frank Monachino, who sustained the program until a sudden loss of significant funding in 1985 led to the closure of Opera Workshop.
The history of Tulane Opera Workshop outline here is based on materials found in University Archives, the Jambalaya Yearbook, and reporting by The Times-Picayune. If you have concert programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, or any other materials that bear evidence of opera performances at Tulane, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact University Archives at (504) 865-5691.
While no scientific field has ever been an easy profession for women, botany was for many centuries one of the most accessible. An interest in plants and flowers was seen as a proper womanly pursuit, and a girl or woman with access to a garden, yard, or a patch of grass had at hand many subjects for observation and experimentation. Determined female botanists financed their own expeditions, achieved degrees at universities where they were the only woman in a group of men, or leveraged their floral knowledge and artistic skills into positions at important gardens and preserves. Some of these women were the very first to study and document botanical specimens from distant locations or past eras. Even when the continued development of botanical science as a profession resulted in women's work in the field being overlooked or dismissed as frivolous, women continued to use this 'feminine' interest as way to fulfill their own intellectual pursuits, educate others, and establish careers.
Drawn from the Rare Books collection's range of materials on natural history, this exhibit provides a look at the life and works of a few of the 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century women who made the world of flora their profession and their passion.
“Mary Gehman’s Feminist Ephemera: Violence Against Women” examines the mistreatment of women in New Orleans in the late twentieth century. This exhibit draws materials from the “Feminist Ephemera Series” in the “Mary Gehman Papers Collection,” housed in the Newcomb Archive on Tulane University’s campus. Mary Gehman is a feminist, journalist, and activist who lived in New Orleans from 1970 until 2005, when she migrated to Donaldsville, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina. Though involved in numerous movements in New Orleans, Gehman asserts that her role as a journalist and the editor of Distaff was the highest priority in her life. Gehman collected materials from local events that informed her journalism and publication.
Gehman donated her files on women in New Orleans and Louisiana, as well as the materials she collected through her job as the editor of Distaff, to the Newcomb Center for Research on Women at Tulane University in the spring of 2016. These materials include not only Feminist Ephemera, the second series, but also the first series in the larger collection, which consists of original copies of Distaff. The third series in the collection is a general papers and publications series, including correspondence, Distaff planning and layout documents, feminist periodicals and newsletters, and newspaper clippings. The Feminist Ephemera series is comprised of ephemera, which are items that one would typically discard after the first use or until the purpose of the material is fulfilled. Examples include newspapers, flyers, and pamphlets.
Though the Feminist Ephemera series comprises a plethora of issues, the history of violence against women is one that seemed most imperative to explore, particularly in the wake of the Tulane Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct. The survey, which was released on January 31, 2018, reports that nearly half of undergraduate women at Tulane have experienced sexual assault during their time at the university. The majority of the items in the collection were created three decades ago, making it clear that this issue has been one plaguing Tulane and the greater New Orleans community for decades.
The exhibit displays items about not only rape and sexual harassment, but also domestic violence, disparaging representations of women in the media, the group Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW), and the Take Back the Night march, founded by WAVAW and still operative today. This exhibit depicts how the dialogue surrounding and the language used to describe these atrocities have changed greatly in recent years. Certain items in this exhibit show how the issue was discussed at the time, such as the item “A Study of Rape Booklet,” in which the activism focuses on prevention and coping on part of the victim, rather than preemptive efforts to stop the perpetrators from committing the crimes. Though the discourse surrounding culpability and equality is changing for the better, it is imperative we look to the past to understand how we can change the future.
This exhibit examines early New World textual encounters between Europeans and Amerindians through selected rare books and original manuscripts from The Latin American Library’s special collections. We focus specifically on how disparate conceptions of language and writing played out as ideological and discursive features within key texts. Reflecting the Library’s collection strengths, the exhibit focuses most prominently on Mesoamerica.
Presented here is the online version of a session developed at the Special Collections of the Latin American Library as part of a summer orientation experience for incoming undergraduates to Tulane University. In this hands-on exhibit, we highlight examples from the Latin American Library's Image Archive of stereoscopic photography taken in various locations and time periods within Latin America and the Caribbean. With these and other examples we trace out the technical and commercial development of Latin American stereographs from the earliest beginnings of photography (c. 1838) to the latest trends in digital formats that presage today's cutting-edge technologies for producing 3D images and VR (Virtual Reality) simulations. A second objective of this session is to demonstrate the potential for scholarship that stereographs hold from a variety of perspectives including historical, artistic, communications, and business marketing, to name just a few.
Showcasing the nearly 40-year photographic coverage of Laurel Valley Plantation in Thibodaux, Louisiana by Philip Marin Denman. The journey began in 1978 documenting the more than 100 buildings dating from the 1830s—ca. 1900. For three consecutive summers, Denman photographed the plantation, showing the slow decay. He returned in 2005 to record the condition of the plantation 27 years later, and again in 2017 to photograph the 55 or so remaining structures.
The striking b/w images are enhanced by a small number of color prints from Denman’s 2005 visit to Laurel Valley, which help bring to life the unpainted rough wood buildings and rusted roofs against the bright blue Louisiana sky.
The exhibit includes Denman’s capture of life in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the late-1960s to early-1970s, and his images of the remains of Seven Oaks Plantation in Westwego, Louisiana.
Thanks to Germaine Butler of the St. Tammany Parish Library, Artistic Framing Plus, AI Glass, Robert Moldaner, and Althea Topek for creating the digital version of the exhibit. Special thanks to John H. Stubbs, Director of the Master of Preservation Studies Program/Christovich Professor of Preservation Practice, Tulane School of Architecture, for writing the exhibit foreword.
Generous support provided by the SEAA Gifts Fund and the Marjorie Peirce Geiser and John Geiser, Jr. Fund of the Southeastern Architectural Archive.
The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Restored
Michael P. Kuczynski
Professor of English
The Kelmscott Chaucer, published in Hammersmith, London in 1896 by William Morris (1834-96), has been called one of the most splendid books ever printed. Morris, the most famous artist-medievalist of Victorian England, devoted his life to recovering the beauty and usefulness of the Middle Ages. His efforts were an antidote to the dehumanizing effects of the Industrial Revolution, with its emphasis on mass production and the replacement of human labor with machines.
Medieval books were handmade. They were thus both rare and expensive, and served not only as sources of information but also works of art. With their exquisite scripts and illuminations, they still captivate and discipline the eye, turning reading into an aesthetic act. Early printers of the fifteenth century, such as the Englishman William Caxton (1422-91), preserved the artfulness of medieval manuscripts during the age of print culture, echoing in their elegant typefaces and woodblock illustrations the look and feel of the handwritten books of the Middle Ages.
Morris, in turn, imitated these early printers and Caxton especially, who first published Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in 1476. The Kelmscott Press produced over fifty books, both on vellum—calfskin, the surface on which the best medieval manuscripts were written—and on linen paper. Inks were handmade too, according to exact medieval recipes. Kelmscott books were also decorated with lavish floral borders, red initials and captions (medieval-style ‘rubrics’) and, in the case of The Kelmscott Chaucer, with numerous pictures designed by Morris’s friend and collaborator, the Pre-Raphaelite painter, Edward Burne-Jones.
The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer Now Newly Imprinted rolled off Kelmscott’s presses just four months before Morris died. The book is the culmination of Morris’s vision of the Middle Ages, a volume that he described in a letter to a friend as ‘a pocket cathedral’.
One would need a large pocket indeed to carry around this massive book, however. Howard-Tilton patrons can see The Kelmscott Chaucer for themselves, in Rare Books on the library’s sixth floor. It is the jewel in the crown of Tulane’s complete Kelmscott Press collection.
Tulane’s Kelmscott Chaucer has just been lovingly restored by Howard-Tilton’s conservation librarian, Sabrena Johnson. Before, during, and after images are available in this exhibit. When Morris published the book, he had most copies of it bound in a simple binding of quarter linen with paper-covered boards, intending that those who purchased them would rebind theirs more durably and elegantly. That’s what Tulane now has done, fulfilling William Morris’s plan for his book and making it available, in all its splendor, to a new generation of students, faculty, and admirers.