Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Garden Library of the New Orleans Town Gardeners

We had a nice visit last week with Fionuala McGlinchey-Monsted, the newly elected chair of the library committee of the New Orleans Town Gardeners. Fionuala replaces long-serving chair, Ruthie Frierson. Thank you Ruthie for all your help in strengthening the library's holdings.

The Garden Library of the New Orleans Town Gardeners, a collection of the Southeastern Architectural Archive, has extensive holdings of published works dealing with gardens, gardening, and related subjects. The library contains well over 1,000 volumes representing approximately 800 titles. Founded in 1983, and given to Tulane in 1986, the library is a project of the New Orleans Town Gardeners, a New Orleans garden club affiliated with the Garden Club of America. The library has its own dedicated space within the archive's reading room.

The Garden Library is open to the public by appointment during normal SEAA hours, and is a great resource for general information on gardening and plants, but is also useful for more in-depth scholarly research. Areas of special interest include gardening of the southern United States, garden design and landscaping, and books by and about women in gardening. Of note are the handwritten gardening journals of Genevieve Munson Trimble, documenting her Afton Villa gardens in St. Francisville, Louisiana.

Please see our webpage for the library, which includes a search box to help locate items specifically in the Garden Library's holdings. You might also want to use the search tools on the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library's homepage, which will give you items in the Garden Library, as well as books, journals, and other materials on gardening and botanical subjects in other Tulane collections. The Louisiana Research Collection is the main source for published material on Louisiana gardens and gardening at Tulane.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Tulane Cemeteries Class Visit

We did a class instruction/archive tour session for Professor Heather Knight's TIDES class (Tulane Interdisciplinary Experience Seminar) on New Orleans cemeteries. We brought out examples of our cemetery/tomb holdings, including an 1830s wrought iron cross with cast zinc rosettes, a plaster inverted flame relief from an unknown tomb, an elevation drawing for the Egyptian Revival pyramid Brunshwig tomb in Metairie Cemetery by late-19th century New Orleans architect Thomas Sully (1855-1939), and from our Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Co. Office Records--watercolor presentation renderings of tombs in Metairie Cemetery including the Brady/Arlington (now Morales family), Chapman Hyams, Cassard, and Dantoni tombs, granite and marble samples, and bronze reliefs, including the 3' tall mourning lady with roses. 

In our stacks, we gave the class a tour of our holdings to give the students an idea of what an archives looks like and how we store nearly 1.5 million drawings, 45,000 photographs, models, and other records of Louisiana architects and firms. We focused on more Weiblen Co. items--plaster presentation models for tombs in Metairie Cemetery that include the Joseph Harrington, Pearl Wight, and Buck family tombs.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Bendel Family Memorial

We gave a tour of SEAA to two donors last week, and judging from their reactions, the highlight was the presentation model (above) for the memorial/tomb for the family of Henri Bendel, including his father, William Bendel, step-father, Benjamin Falk, and his mother Mary Plonsky Bendel Falk, at Menachim Aveilim Cemetery (formerly Jewish Cemetery and Hebrew Rest Cemetery) in Lafayette, Louisiana. The model is part of our Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Co. Office Records, which include construction drawings, beautiful watercolor presentation renderings, models, and other records. The Weiblen Company designed and built tombs and other funereal projects, public monuments, and also supplied stone work for buildings. Many of the tombs of New Orleans' Gilded Age in Metairie Cemetery were created by the Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company.

The memorial was commissioned by Henri Bendel in 1918, built by the Weiblen Company and designed by Weiblen architect, Charles L. Lawhon. The memorial contains catacombs in the rear of the structure, and is made of Dorian Gray Granite, with figures of Italian bronze. The model is made of concrete, with plaster figures encased in copper foil. Weiblen also installed additional headstones, and created a plan for the Bendel family plot at the cemetery.

Henri Willis Bendel (1868-1936) was born in Vermilionville, Louisiana. His father died when he was six years old. His mother ran several businesses, until she married Benjamin Falk in 1878. The couple operated a successful dry goods store and Falk's Opera House in Lafayette, Louisiana. Henri married Blanche Lehman in 1894, and established a millinery shop in Morgan City, Louisiana. After the shop was destroyed by fire, Henri and Blanche relocated to New York City, where Henri worked for the department store B. Altman & Co. After Blanche died shortly after, he established a millinery shop, eventually adding custom dresses and imported fashions from Paris. This evolved into the iconic store, Henri Bendel, which still operates in New York and several other U.S. cities. Bendel's was reputedly the first U.S. store to offer clothes by Chanel.

Top image: Bendel Memorial model, K. Williams.
Bottom images: Drawings from Albert Weilben Marble & Granite Co. Office Records, SEAA.

Friday, September 22, 2017

SEAA's New Blog

Welcome to our new blog! For our first post, we thought we'd focus on our current exhibit, The Organic Modernism of Albert C. Ledner, which opened in August. This exhibit was done in collaboration with the premier of the documentary on Albert C. Ledner, Designing Life: The Modernist Architecture of Albert C. Ledner

Sponsors for the exhibit are Lettermans and the Louisiana Architectural Foundation, with additional support provided by the Marjorie Peirce Geiser and John Geiser, Jr. Fund of the Southeastern Architectural Archive. Our opening night reception, held August 17, was sponsored by the Louisiana Architectural Foundation. We are grateful for the wonderful turnout, and thank everyone who attended. You helped make this the most successful reception we've had to date!

This exhibit features drawings, photographs, and other items from the records of New Orleans modernist architect Albert Charles Ledner. Born in 1924 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, and soon had 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 buildings for the National Maritime Union, including New Orleans, Baltimore, San Francisco, Norfolk, Virginia, and the national headquarters in New York City.

Drawings are supplemented by period photographs, b/w snapshots, and prints made from 35mm slides of projects. Photographs taken by Ledner on trips to see Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are in cases under the windows. Included is an ashtray from the A.C. Sunkel residence, aka “the Ashtray House’ on Park Island, New Orleans, acrylic and glass shades made by Ledner for lighting fixtures, and 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.

Earlier this week, we had an unexpected gift of a ceramic model of the Galatoire/Massey residence (see above pencil drawing) designed by Ledner in 1962 for Leonie Galatoire, of the famed New Orleans restaurant family, Galatoire's. Judy and Morris Massey owned the house in the 1970s and 1980s, and had this model made in 1982. A long-time SEAA donor introduced us to Mrs. and Dr. Massey, who decided to preserve their model with us. It has been included in the Ledner exhibit. SEAA has benefited from the generous support from donors like the Masseys since its founding in 1979. Thank you! 

Garden Library of the New Orleans Town Gardeners

We had a nice visit last week with Fionuala McGlinchey-Monsted, the newly elected chair of the library committee of the New Orleans Town Ga...