Thursday, April 11, 2019

Printmaking Class Talk and Buck Tomb

We recently spoke to Tulane Professor Pippin Frisbie-Calder's printmaking class. We were asked to show the students our cemetery holdings, so brought out recently conserved watercolor presentation drawings for tombs in Metairie Cemetery, plaster scale tomb models, bronze reliefs, art glass samples, photographs, and other items from our Albert Weiblen Marble and Granite Company records. Professor Frisbie-Calder wanted to expose the students to the unique and beautiful materials we preserve, give them ideas and inspiration for their class projects, and to introduce them to the rich archival holdings of Tulane's Special Collections Division. We also gave the class a tour of SEAA's stacks, and one item of particular interest was the large plaster scale model for the Buck Family tomb in Metairie Cemetery, Emile Weil and Charles Lawhon, architects for Albert Weiblen. Built for Charles Francis Buck (1841-1918), who immigrated to New Orleans in 1852 from Durrheim, Germany. Buck became a lawyer, and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1895, representing the 2nd District. He was also active in the Scottish Rite Freemasons. The model for his tomb included Art Nouveau sphinxes flanking the entrance, which were supplanted by carved stone pillars topped with baskets holding spheres with Masonic symbols. There are other Masonic symbols carved in the stone of the tomb. 



Thursday, March 21, 2019

TIDES and James Gallier, Jr.

We welcomed Laura Blokker, Assistant Director of Tulane School of Architecture's Preservation Studies program, and her TIDES  class (Tulane Interdisciplinary Experience Seminar). The class will be making a field trip to the French Quarter this weekend to visit the former home of mid-19th century architect James Gallier, Jr. (1827-1868). To give the students a taste of Gallier's work, we brought out original drawings done during his association with John Turpin, including pencil drawings for his own house at 1132 Royal Street, completed in 1860, and now operates as the Gallier House museum by the Woman's Exchange. We also showed beautiful watercolor drawings and a rare 1854 photo by J.D. Edwards for the James Robb residence at Washington and Camp Streets. The drawings were made for an alternate plan developed by Philadelphia architect, R. Morris Smith, but it is known that Robb commissioned Gallier, Turpin and Company to design the house in 1852, so it's a little unclear where Smith's plans, dated 1853, fit in. Robb sold the house to John Burnside after losing much of his fortune in the 1857 stock market crash. In 1891 Newcomb College purchased the property and moved there from its short-lived location off of Lee Circle. Newcomb moved from this location to its new Uptown campus, next to Tulane University, in 1917. The former Newcomb campus was sold to the Baptist Theological Seminary, and in the 1950s, the site was sold and developed into several residential sites.

We also included watercolor presentation renderings for the residence for Florence Luling, a German immigrant and cotton merchant. Completed in 1866, Luling lived there a brief time with his family, and eventually sold the property about 1870 to the Louisiana Jockey Club. In the early-20th century, the accessory wings of the house, which contained kitchens, stables, a billiards parlor, and a bowling alley, were demolished, and the property was developed as a bungalow neighborhood by architect Leon Weiss. The house still stands as an apartment building on Leda Court. A copy print of an 1867 photograph by New Orleans photographer Theodore Lilienthal, shows the house not long after completion, and an 1870s view when it was in its early days as the Jockey Club.

The students were in awe of the perspective drawing, made by Adrienne Persac for Gallier, Turpin and Company, for the French Opera, which was located at Bourbon and Toulouse Streets. Commissioned by opera company director, Charles Boudousquie in 1859, the building was completed in about six months. It burned in December 1919, and the site was used as a parking lot until the 1960s, when it was developed into a hotel by Arkansas governor Winthrop Rockefeller, and now operates as a Four Points by Sheraton. 

We peppered the table of drawings and photos with plaster, wood, and stone architectural fragments from early to mid-19th century New Orleans buildings, which gave our reading room the look of Miss Havisham's wedding cake.

Monday, February 18, 2019

New Carnival Exhibit in Special Collections

Mark your calendars for Thursday February 28, 2pm-4pm, in the 2nd Floor Special Collections Gallery, Jones Hall, 6801 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA 70118, for the opening reception of Special Collections' new exhibit "Proteus 1892, Teunisson 1902, and Louis Armstrong 1949: Selections from the Carnival Holdings of Tulane University's Special Collections Division." Free and open to all, king cake and coffee will be provided. We hope to see you there, and happy Mardi Gras!

One highlight of this exhibit is the complete set of original float designs for the 1892 Proteus parade. Designed by Carlotta Bonnecaze around the theme “A Dream of the Vegetable Kingdom,” the designs reveal an almost hallucinatory level of creativity and delight, from frightened English peas to mighty warrior acorns. Other highlights are photographs taken by noted New Orleans photographer John Norris Teunisson documenting Mardi Gras along Canal Street and in the French Quarter in 1902; photographs documenting the 70th anniversary of Louis Armstrong’s reign as King Zulu in 1949; Carnival music recordings by Fats Domino, Irma Thomas, and Professor Longhair; and photographs of Tulane students yelling “Throw me something, Mista!” at passing floats. Together, the items on display reveal the depth and range of Carnival in New Orleans.

Special Collections has a special mission to preserve the culture of Carnival in New Orleans and that mission is supported by all of the division’s five departments. From rare jazz recordings to the largest collection in the world of original pre-WWII Carnival float and costume designs, this exhibit brings together holdings from the Hogan Jazz Archive, the Louisiana Research Collection, the Rare Books unit, the Southeastern Architectural Archive, and the University Archives to demonstrate how different collecting goals can complement each other and expand our understanding in creative ways. The whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Above, Float design for Green Peas from the Proteus 1892 parade, "A Dream of a Vegetable Kingdom." At top, Costume design for rider, "green pea man," for above float. Both designed by Carlotta Bonnecaze. Watercolor on paper. Carnival Collection, Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!

For Valentine's Day, we thought we would share an addition to the SEAA reading room. This mid-19th century cabinet in a Dutch Renaissance style, made of carved chestnut and fruit-wood, it is 57" wide by 70" high. We loaned it to Newcomb Art Museum for their "Empire" exhibition in 2018, and when it was returned in early February, we thought we would have it placed in our reading room, instead of the storage room it had been kept in. It was a gift of Albert Lieutaud, and was apparently used in the family's dining room in their New Orleans home.

There are biblical themes in the carvings, visions of hell, and wonderful buxom maidens throughout (note the maid holding her heart). This piece makes for some interesting conversations during our class tours, and gives a bit of je ne sais quoi to our Ikea furnishings...

Happy Valentine's Day! 


Monday, November 12, 2018

Tulane Homecoming 2018

SEAA had special Tulane Homecoming hours this past Saturday for our current exhibit, "The Laurel Valley Plantation Photographs of Philip M. Denman." Visitors included Hortensia Calvo, Director of the Latin American Library at Tulane, accompanied by Penny and James Morrill. Penny is a leading scholar of artist William Spratling, and has written extensively about him and his involvement in the Taxco silver renaissance in Mexico. Spratling also taught drawing in the Tulane School of Architecture in the 1920s. We gave them a tour of the Laurel Valley exhibit, and also showed them beautiful gouache, ink wash, and watercolor drawings done by Tulane architecture students in the 1920s and 1930s, including, at left, this ink and watercolor on illustration board proposal for a plot plan for Tulane University from 1932 by New Orleans architects Moise H. Goldstein and Nathaniel Cortlandt Curtis, Sr., and drawn by Tulane students Samuel Wilson, Jr. and Earl Mathes.

We also welcomed Roland and Frances Bourgeois and family. Mr. and Mrs. Bourgeois own the property next to Laurel Valley Plantation in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and came into New Orleans for the chance to see Philip Denman's beautiful images covering nearly 40 years of history of the largest extant sugar plantation in Louisiana and, in its day, one of the largest in the southern United States. Mr. Bourgeois regaled us with wonderful stories of life growing up on a Louisiana plantation.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Bibliography and Research Methods class visit

We welcomed Tulane English Professor Melissa Bailes' Bibligraphy and Records Methods class to SEAA last week to learn about our holdings, and how we might be able to help in her students' research projects. We brought out items from our Albert Weiblen Marble and Granite Company records to give the class an idea of information a single collection might contain (and because it was Halloween). We focused on presentation renderings used to show clients proposals by the Weiblen company for tombs, plaster scale models of classical tombs made by the Lachin family of New Orleans, Weiblen's stone sample box, which includes granite from Weiblen's quarries at Stone Mountain, Georgia (Albert Weiblen's brother George helped carve the Confederate bas relief on the mountain's side), art glass samples, decorative bronze reliefs, bronze color samples for tomb doors made by the Gorham Company in New York from 1910, photos of Weiblen stone carvers, masons, and builders from 1931, and the only known surviving enamel sign used to mark newly erected Weiblen tombs from the 19teens.

Ink wash rendering for prospective tomb, unidentified client/location. 1923.

Watercolor rendering for Salvatore D'Antoni tomb, Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans,
Ca. 1920s. Stanley R. Poole, architect for the Weiblen Company.

Color samples for bronze doors, 1910, Gorham Company, New York.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Preservation Studies in SEAA

Gallier & Turpin watercolor perspective drawing for Luling house, 1865.
Last week we welcomed Professor John Stubbs' Master of Preservation Studies (MPS) students to SEAA. John talked to the class about our current exhibit, "The Laurel Valley Photographs of Philip M. Denman", which includes a three volume survey of the plantation, which he wrote in 1975 for the Thibodaux U.S. Bicentennial Committee. John also wrote the foreword to the exhibit, and MPS co-hosted the exhibit's opening reception in September in SEAA. We also brought out examples of the types of material researchers might find in SEAA, focusing on the Luling Mansion on Leda Court in New Orleans. Built in 1865 for German immigrant and cotton merchant Florence Luling, the house was designed by Gallier and Turpin (James Gallier, Jr. and John Turpin) as an Italian Renaissance style palazzo. The house originally faced Esplanade Avenue, but the grounds were subdivided in the 19teens and turned into a bungalow neighborhood obscuring the mansion from Esplanade. After his two young sons drowned in nearby Bayou St. John, and he lost the bulk of his fortune and moved back to Germany, Luling sold his house and property to the Louisiana Jockey Club in 1871, which used the mansion as its clubhouse until 1905. The students were very engaged, and it was a joy to have them with us.

Above and below are items we showed the class, including the original Gallier and Turpin watercolor perspective rendering, a Theodore Lilienthal 1867 photo of the house in its early days showing its original dependencies accessed by arched bridges. The dependencies contained a stable, kitchen, billiard/smoking room, and a bowling alley. The faint pencil drawing is by James Freret, ca. 1870, and we're not sure why he drew it. The large photo is a reproduction of one from the 1870s, when the house served as the Jockey Club. And we have photos from the 1890s through the 1950s. The ink drawing is a 1904 proposal by Rathbone DeBuys to alter the exterior of the mansion in the arts and crafts style, but was never carried out. And, an 1896 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the house with its dependencies, when used at the Jockey Club. The house was converted to an apartment building in the 1930s, and is still in use today.

1867 Theodore Lilienthal photograph.

Ca. 1870 pencil drawing by James Freret.

Reproduction of 1870s photograph, Unidentified photographer.
1904 Rathbone DeBuys ink on linen drawing for proposal
to redesign the mansion.
1896 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the Luling house with its original dependencies when it was used as
the Louisiana Jockey Club.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Cities of the Dead Class

We welcomed Professor Heather Knight's "Cities of the Dead" class to SEAA last week for an introduction to our holdings and a tour of our stacks to give the students an idea of what an archives looks like. We brought out materials from our Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company records, including watercolor presentation renderings and plaster scale models for tombs, which were used to show clients potential designs. Great expense went into these drawings and models, but the result of a client spending many times more than the price of some of the costlier homes in New Orleans at the time, was well worth the effort. The Weiblen company had architects on staff who designed many of the large-scale "golden age" tombs of Metairie Cemetery in the 19teens through the 1940s, including Lorenzo Orsini, Charles Lawhon, and Ralph Phillippi. The company also worked with other leading New Orleans architects hired by clients. 

We also included in our talk working plans, bronze decoration and art glass samples, and photographs of the Weiblen stone carvers, masons, and office staff. A highlight of our stacks tour included the concrete, plaster, and copper foil scale model of the 1918 Bendel family tomb and memorial at the Jewish Cemetery in Lafayette, Louisiana, also made by the Weiblen company, designed by Charles Lawhon. The photo shows the tomb fairly soon after completion. The tomb was commissioned by Henri Bendel to hold the remains of his mother, father, and step-father. Bendel, who was born in Vermilionville, Louisiana in 1868, established himself as a milliner in New York City in 1895, and soon after created what became the iconic Henri Bendel department store. It was announced recently that the remaining Henri Bendel boutiques located throughout the United States would close.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Coffee Wash French Quarter Plans

We welcomed Tulane Master of Preservation Studies Professor Laura Blokker's first year students to SEAA last week. We wanted them to see what Tulane architecture students were doing in the late 1920s and early 1930s, so brought out large-scale coffee wash plans of the French Quarter, which were entered in the S.S. Labouisse competition. Each sheet focused on one entire block of the New Orleans French Quarter, and showed the footprint of all buildings, details such as courtyard paving, landscaping, stair and fireplace placement, and elevations of buildings surrounding the block. To give the drawings an aged look, the students used diluted coffee in lieu of watercolor on the heavy paper, and some sheets were shellacked. We also included a few more Tulane architecture student drawings--a watercolor drawing of ironwork details by Tulane alum and former architecture professor, Bernard Lemann, and an ink wash drawing of French Quarter doors by another Tulane alum and co-founder of the New Orleans architectural firm, Koch and Wilson, Samuel Wilson, Jr.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Reception for New SEAA Exhibit--This Friday 5:30 - 8:00pm

Please join us for an evening opening reception for the Southeastern Architectural Archive’s new exhibit, "The Laurel Valley Plantation Photographs of Philip M. Denman," Friday September 14, 5:30pm – 8:00pm. Free and open to everyone. Refreshments will be served. This event is being co-hosted with the Master of Preservation Studies Program, Tulane School of Architecture. Please see additional information below--

The Laurel Valley Plantation Photographs of Philip M. Denman.
September 14, 2018 – June 14, 2019.

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. Denman 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. 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 before its demolition in 1977. Special thanks to John Stubbs, Director, Master of Preservation Studies Program and Senior Professor of 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.

Curated by Kevin Williams, The Laurel Valley Plantation Photographs of Philip M. Denman opens September 14, 2018 and runs through June 14, 2019 at the Southeastern Architectural Archive, 6801 Freret Street, Jones Hall, Room 300 on Tulane University’s Uptown campus. Hours are 9am–12pm and 1pm–5pm Monday-Tuesday; Thursday-Friday. Admission is free and open to the public. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

LGBT+ Archives Project and Barnett's Furniture Store

Our friends in Tulane University's Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) will be honored at the 4th annual Oracle Gala of the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana. Founders of Southern Decadence will present LaRC with the official donation of their records. The LGBT+ Archives Project works with New Orleans and Louisiana archives to preserve the written record of the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups and individuals, and to find permanent homes for these important materials.

This year's Oracle Gala will be held at the Ace Hotel in New Orleans this coming Sunday evening. SEAA preserves the original drawings for the hotel's original occupant, Barnett's Furniture, in our Weiss, Dreyfous, and Seiferth (W,D,S) Office Records. W,D,S was the New Orleans architectural firm also responsible for the current Louisiana State Capitol building in Baton Rouge, the unoccupied Charity Hospital in New Orleans, much of the second phase of the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge, the St. Bernard Parish Courthouse in Chalmette, and many more public, commercial, and residential projects in the state. The drawings below are pencil on tracing paper, and include the Carondelet and Lafayette Street elevations, details of the beautiful Art Deco details, and details showing the Barnett name. They are dated July 1927, and are very dark and dirty--apologies for the poor quality photos.

Printmaking Class Talk and Buck Tomb

We recently spoke to Tulane Professor Pippin Frisbie-Calder's printmaking class. We were asked to show the students ou...