Friday, June 29, 2018

Albert Ledner Exhibit

This is the final day of our exhibit "The Organic Modernism of Albert C. Ledner," and we thought we would share images from the opening reception from last August (Mr. Ledner at left). The exhibit was sponsored by the Louisiana Architecture Foundation (LAF), and Letterman's. Additional support was provided by the Marjorie Peirce Geiser and John Geiser, Jr. Fund of the Southeastern Architectural Archive. The opening reception was generously sponsored by the LAF. 

Many thanks to everyone who attended, and all who helped make this exhibit, and the opening reception, the most well attended in our history, and one of the biggest events of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. Special thanks go to Stacey Pfingsten, Executive Director of the Louisiana Architecture Foundation, and her volunteers, including Kelly Lauren Calhoun. Thanks to Chuck Perret and his staff at Letterman's. Thank you Katheryn Warzak of Howard-Tilton Library for the video she produced of the exhibit prep work and reception, and to Bernadette Birzer and Lisa Hooper for their help with the video. And thanks to Leon Miller of the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) for providing music for the opening reception.

Our reception was also the opening event for the premier of the documentary film about Ledner, "Designing Life:The Modernist Architecture of Albert C. Ledner", at the New Orleans Museum of Art, which was part of the Architecture and Design Film Festival New Orleans. Mr. Ledner passed away in November 2017 while in New York City for the showing of his documentary there. 

All photographs provided by the Louisiana Architecture Foundation

Monday, June 18, 2018

Welcome Incoming Freshmen

SEAA participated in Tulane's new summer orientation program for incoming first-year students, CAST (Cultivating Academic Success at Tulane). Running from June 1 through 18, students registered for fall classes, learned about campus resources, and visited different Special Collections departments and the Latin American Library, to learn about the unique holdings at Tulane. Calling this part of the program "Tulane's Treasures," students learned about the Hogan Jazz Archive, the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC), Rare Books, the University Archives, and SEAA. For our visit, we talked to them about SEAA's history and mission, showed them a sampling of tomb watercolor drawings, plaster models, and other items from our Albert Weiblen Marble and Granite Company records, and walked them through our exhibit, The Organic Modernism of Albert C. Ledner. Highlights included the famous "Ash Tray House" on Park Island in Bayou St. John in New Orleans, the New Orleans branch of the National Maritime Union, now a dog day spa, the National Maritime Union's national headquarters in New York City, also known as the "Overbite Building," and a dormitory for the NMU in New York that features porthole windows, and was recently converted into a boutique hotel, covered in polished stainless steel, and now referred to as the "Cheese Grater." The exhibit has been extended through next Friday, June 29. 

Welcome Class of 2022! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mapping French Quarter Class

Today we welcomed Tulane School of Architecture Professor Irene Keil's class on mapping the French Quarter to SEAA. Consisting of 16 incoming architecture graduate students, the class will learn techniques in mapping New Orleans' French Quarter using historic maps as a basis. We talked to the students about SEAA's history, what kinds of materials we preserve, and showed them our exhibit on the New Orleans modernist architect, Albert C. Ledner (which will close June 29, but you can always access the wonderful digital version created by our archives technician, Althea Topek). We also brought out several items from our Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company records to give them a sense of the variety of research materials a single collection might contain. 

For their mapping exercise, we showed them Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from 1876 through 1978. SEAA has the only known copy of the two-volume 1876 Sanborn, which was digitized in 2017 and included on the Tulane University Digital Library (TUDL). 

This class was very engaged, and we know they will do well in their endeavors. Welcome to Tulane!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Jazz Fest and James Gallier Gates

For today's opening of the 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, we thought we would share some of our Sylvester Labrot, Jr. Collection drawings for entrance gates by New Orleans 19th century father-son architects, James Gallier, Sr. and Jr. The drawing above is the entrance for the current New Orleans Fairgrounds, the site of Jazz Fest. The undated, ca. 1850 ink on paper drawing, was originally built for the former Race Track.

Entrance gates and administration buildings, Charity Hospital, Common Street, New Orleans. Undated.
Ink and watercolor on paper. Signed by James Gallier, Jr.

Gates for Bank of Louisiana (now sub-station, New Orleans Police Department), Royal and Conti Streets, New Orleans. Undated. Ink and watercolor on paper.

Unidentified Gothic style gatehouse. Location unknown. Undated. Pencil on drawing paper.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Manuscript Society and Fresh from the Conservator

Bronze relief tomb decoration from
Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite  Co. 1910s.
This morning we welcomed the Manuscript Society, who are in town for their annual meeting, to SEAA to talk to them about our holdings and history. We brought out four watercolor presentation proposals from 1920 for the Joseph Vaccaro tomb in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, by the Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company. The drawings were just returned from the conservator by Howard-Tilton Library's conservation librarian, Sabrena Johnson. Done in a large-scale on acidic cardboard-like illustration board, the drawings were brittle, missing portions, cracked and broken, and had darkened from the board's acidity. Sabrena had the conservator, Bridget Broadley of New Orleans, deacidify, repair cracks, replace missing portions, and wash the drawings to remove much of the darkening, and make them strong enough to hang in future exhibits. 

We also brought out other items from our Weiblen records, including bronze tomb reliefs, plaster models, which were used to give potential clients an idea of scale and design, photographs, art glass samples, and an enameled metal sign used to identify newly constructed Weiblen tombs from the 1920s.

The four watercolor drawings were presented to client Joseph Vaccaro, but apparently rejected by him, as the photos of the as-built tomb show a different design. Drawings for the built design were not included with the company's records when they were given to Tulane by Stewart Enterprises, Inc., who purchased the Weiblen company and its office contents in 1969. Joseph Vaccaro, along with his brothers Luca and Felix, and Salvatore D'Antoni, formed the Standard Fruit and Steamship Company in New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century. The company eventually became Dole Fruit.

Top: Weiblen stone cutters and plant employees, 1931. Bottom: Weiblen office staff, including John Weiblen, son of Albert, 4th from left, 1931.

Top photo: Weiblen offices and showroom, City Park Avenue, New Orleans, December 1940.
Caryatids designed by A. Goddard flanking entrance were from the demolished 1883
New Orleans Cotton Exchange building at Carondelet and Gravier Streets.
Bottom: Enameled metal sign used by Weiblen for newly completed tombs. 1920s.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Empire Exhibition at Newcomb Art Museum

SEAA has loaned several items for Newcomb Art Museum's EMPIRE exhibition, opening Friday April 13 with a talk with guest curators, David Burns and Austin Young, of Fallen Fruit at 6:30 pm, followed by a public reception from 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm. On Saturday April 14, SEAA will participate in "roving archivist" tours as part of the Fruit for All event from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. Other participating departments and collections include Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC), Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University Archives, Latin American Library, Tulane University Biodiversity Research Institute, Middle American Research Institute, Newcomb Art Museum, Newcomb College Institute Archives, and the Amistad Research Center.

Items from SEAA include plaster scale models and watercolor renderings for tombs in Metairie Cemetery; building artifacts of wood, stone, plaster, and ironwork, including a railing from Belle Grove Plantation, a grained cypress door from Armitage Plantation, a hammered iron weather vane from Angelina Plantation, and a bored cypress log that was part of an early New Orleans water main; models of Tomy Lafon Elementary School, Lulu White's Mahogany Hall, and the Ninth Ward Victory Arch; photographs by C. Milo Williams of family life in late-19th century Carrollton section of New Orleans contrasted to mid-20th century images by Frank Lotz Miller of families in modernist Curtis and Davis houses; photographs of slave cabins of Laurel Valley Plantation by Philip M. Denman; watercolor renderings of recently removed Confederate memorials; and a rendition of the following early 19th century French hand-blocked wallpaper remnant from de la Ronde Plantation house in St. Bernard Parish. We hope to see you at the EMPIRE opening tomorrow night! And if you'd like to see how much information archivists can remember without a cheat sheet, please join us again on Saturday for tours of the exhibit at Fruit for All.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Architecture Grad Students, Leeds Iron Works, and the PRC

We are meeting with incoming Master of Preservation Studies students from the Tulane School of Architecture today, and wanted to share some of the items we brought out to show them the scope of different types of documents, artifacts, and books they might expect to use in their own research projects in SEAA.

Included are original Gallier and Turpin 1850 watercolor drawings from our Sylvester Labrot Collection for the Leeds Iron Foundry building, located at 923 Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans, currently the headquarters of the Preservation Resource Center. We also pulled original photos from our Frank H. Boatner Collection of Louisiana Architecture Photographs, Louisiana Landmarks Society Records and Collection, and our Miscellaneous Photographs. To show how the building related to its 19th century neighborhood, we included the 1876 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, which was recently digitized and is included in the Tulane University Digital Library (TUDL). And to give the students a sense of what the Leeds company produced, we included cast iron decorative details salvaged from demolished New Orleans buildings.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Mary Mykolyk for International Women's Day

Strip negative press photos of Mary Mykolyk at
Curtis & Davis. Frank Lotz Miller, photographer.
In honor of International Women's Day today, we thought we would focus on New Orleans architect, Ismay Mary Mykolyk (1926-1985). Born in British-controlled Nairobi, Kenya, she was educated in England, and received her architecture degree from the University of Manitoba, Canada in 1949. In architecture school, she met fellow student, John Peter Mykolyk (1925-2015), whom she married. Together, they started a career in Minnesota. The couple soon relocated to New Orleans, where Mary established herself as an associate architect in the firm of Curtis & Davis in 1954, where she was Chief Associate Architect on several projects, including the Tulane University Student Center, the Guste Housing Project, New Orleans, and the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

Mary established her own firm in 1965 in New Orleans, sometimes partnering with other local firms including Lowrey, Hess, Boudreaux, and Farnet (Loyola University Law School), and Lawrence and Saunders (Loyola University Science Complex).

Tulane University Student Center, 1959. Curtis & Davis, architects (Mary Mykolyk, Chief Associate Architect). Frank Lotz Miller, photographer. Curtis & Davis Project Photographs, SEAA.

Exterior night view, interior at night, and swimming pool.

Guste Housing Project, New Orleans. 1964. Curtis & Davis, architects (Mary Mykolyk, Chief Associate Architect). Frank Lotz Miller, photographer. Curtis & Davis Project Photographs, SEAA. Two exterior views, top shows Mary Mykolyk pointing.

Loyola University Law School, New Orleans. 1968 - 1969, perspective elevation. Mary Mykolyk; Lowrey, Hess, Boudreaux, and Farnet, architects.Ink and Zipatone on vellum.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

August Perez and Associates

Arrow Tourist Court, entrance, Gentilly Boulevard, New Orleans. 1947.
August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.
Althea Topek, our archives technician, just completed processing project drawings from our August Perez and Associates Office Records. August Perez, Jr. (1906-1998), was born and raised in New Orleans, and educated at Tulane University and Delgado Central Trades School (now Delgado Community College). The drawings mostly cover the period of the firm from the start of the office in 1940 through Perez's retirement in 1978. After 1978, the firm was headed by his son, Tulane University School of Architecture graduate, August Perez, III (1933-2014). In 1992, the firm became Perez, Ernst, Farnet Architects. It continues today as Perez, APC under Angela O'Byrne, also a Tulane School of Architecture graduate.

Notable projects of August Perez and Associates include the 1940 Art Moderne Blue Plate Foods building on Jefferson Davis Parkway, New Orleans and the International style Louisiana Supreme Court building for the New Orleans Civic Complex in 1959. The firm was prolific in designing residences, shopping centers, academic buildings, public, and other buildings in New Orleans, Louisiana, and other parts of the south.

The collection also includes project photographs from the 1950s through the 1980s, many by New Orleans architectural photographer, Frank Lotz Miller.

Below are a few perspective renderings for projects in the collection--

Community Shopping Center for Latter and Blum, Incorporated. Frenchmen Street and Gentilly Boulevard, New Orleans. Ca. 1944. August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.

Blue Plate Foods, Charlotte, NC. 1945. August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.

Store and Office Building, Metairie Road and Atherton Drive. Metairie, LA. 1947. August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.
African-American College, Southwest Louisiana. Ca. 1950s. August Perez and Associates, architects. Pencil on tracing paper.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Storyville and Architectural Archives

We gave a tour last week of SEAA and our stacks to a colleague from Mississippi, whose institution is planning to form an archive to house its own building plans. They wanted to use SEAA as a model to organize their various collections of architectural drawings to make them available for staff and other researchers to use. A highlight of the stacks tour was the scale model (at left) of the former Storyville brothel, Lulu White's Mahogany Hall and Mahogany Hall Annex, which were located at 235-241 Basin Street. The model was made in the 1960s by artist William Toye and jazz historian Al Rose, and constructed of basswood, plexiglass, and other materials.

Storyville, also known as The District, was a section of New Orleans, north of the French Quarter, where prostitution became legal in 1897. Named for alderman Sidney Story, who wrote legislation for the district, it was an experiment to limit prostitution to one area of the city. Many infamous brothels, including Lulu White's, operated successfully until 1917, when the city, spurred by demands from the Army and Navy, made prostitution illegal again. The bulk of Storyville was razed in the 1930s to make way for the Iberville Housing Project. Lulu White's Mahogany Hall stood until 1949, and the Annex stood until the 1990s. When preservationists got wind of it being demolished, a portion of the building was saved and still stands today. 

Another well-known brothel belonged to Josie Arlington (1864-1914), whose real name was Mamie Deubler, and took her professional name after her friend Tom Anderson's Storyville bar, the Arlington. There are stories that the Arlington name came after a visit to the Arlington Hotel in the spa town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. From our holdings below is an ink and watercolor working elevation drawing and the gouache presentation perspective rendering for the tomb for Arlington in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans. Built in 1911 for John Brady, Josie's business partner, it was designed by Lorenzo Orsini for Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company. Constructed of red Maine granite with carved eternal flames, bronze doors, and a bronze figure by German sculptor F. Bagdon. The tomb was later sold by Josie's niece, who married John Brady, to the Morales family, and Josie's remains were moved to an undisclosed location within the cemetery. Josie Arlington died on Valentine's Day 1914, which also happens to be Ash Wednesday today.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Photographs of Frank Lotz Miller

Giraffe House, Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, 1957, Curtis
and Davis, architects. Frank Lotz Miller, photographer.
This week we welcomed our spring 2018 Tulane School of Architecture intern, Rene Duplantier. Rene's project is to create a digitized online collection of images from our holdings of the architectural photography of Frank Lotz Miller. Rene will create metadata and scan original Miller photographic negatives and prints of modernist buildings by New Orleans architectural firms including Burk, LeBreton, and Lamantia; Lawrence and Saunders; Curtis and Davis; Nolan, Norman, and Nolan; and August Perez, Jr. and Associates. 

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Frank Lotz Miller (1923-1993) moved with his family to New Orleans during his childhood. He became interested in photography while a teenager, and after graduating from Tulane University, he went on to work for New Orleans photographer, C. Bennette Moore. In 1953 he opened his own studio at 1115 Washington Avenue in the Garden District of New Orleans. 

While most recognized for his architectural photography, Miller was also known for portraits, commercial photography of fashion and food, and carnival and debutante balls.

Miller was an award winning photographer, and was featured in the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company's Architectural Photographers Invitational brochure in 1973. His work appeared in regional New Orleans and Louisiana publications, as well as national journals and magazines including Progressive Architecture, Architectural Forum, Architectural Record, and Interiors. Miller was the go-to photographer for New Orleans architectural firms from the 1950s through the 1980s. While most of his work was situated in the region, firms such as Curtis and Davis hired Miller to travel to photograph their work in New York, California, Germany, and Vietnam. Miller's photographs are often compared to well-known mid-20th century architectural photographers Ezra Stoller and Julius Shulman.

SEAA collections that include work by Frank Lotz Miller--

William R. Burk Office Records

AIA-New Orleans Chapter Records

William T. Nolan Office Records

James R. Lamantia, Jr. Office Records and Collection

Curtis and Davis Project Photographs

August Perez, III and Associates Project Photographs

For a sampling of Miller's work, see SEAA's 2005 online exhibit.

Albert Ledner Exhibit

This is the final day of our exhibit " The Organic Modernism of Albert C. Ledner ," and we thought we would share images from t...