The material for a history of the development of New Orleans along intellectual and artistic lines probably does not exist in anything like completeness, but sufficient data is available to enable us to form some idea of that development in one or two sections. The musical and dramatic history of the city is given elsewhere. In the present chapter the attempt will be made to trace the evolution of the city's art institutions, and its libraries and museums. It is a fact not generally known that prior to the civil war New Orleans was one of the principal art centers of the United States. The wealth and culture of the inhabitants attracted to the city many of the leading American painters, works from whose brushes are still rescued from time to time from the grime of auction rooms or the attics of dilapidated homes. Such private collections as those of James Robb and Burnside would have lent importance to any community. When Robb's collection was sold, on February 26, 1859, sixty-seven canvases of importance were put up, including works by Rubens, Snyders, Salvator Rosa, Horace Vernet, Natoire, David, Roberts, and Lambdin. Some of these are now in public galleries in various parts of the United States. The Salvator Rosa and the two pictures by Vernet may be seen today in the Boston Athenaeum; and the Natoire, although the property of a private collector, hangs in the Delgado museum, in New Orleans. Fifteen of the pictures of the Robb collection were acquired originally at the sale of the gallery of King Jerome Napoleon, at Bordentown, N. J., in September, 1845. The other paintings, American and European, were added with good selective judgment. Some of these found their way into the Burnside collection, which was not dispersed till near the close of the century. Besides these two notable galleries, there were in New Orleans many isolated works of art of high merit, usually heirlooms, brought over from Europe by French or Spanish families. Napoleon's followers, some of whom sought to recoup their broken fortunes in New Orleans, brought thither their art-treasures, some of which remained in the city. The English-speaking people who settled in New Orleans after Louisiana became part of the United States, brought with them from the eastern and northern states portraits of parents and other relatives painted by the best artists. In this way a remarkable accumulation of important pictures went on, which even war and pestilence did not suffice altogether to destroy.
In this connection it is interesting to note that in the early '40s a society was formed in New Orleans to encourage the exhibition of works of art. Among the members were S. J. Peters, James Robb, Glendy Burke, R. D. Shepard, H. R. W. Hill, J. M. Kennedy, J. M. Dick and John Hagan, the latter a man whose enthusiasm for art led him to present a fine Italian marble statue of Washington to the first St. Charles Hotel. This work stood in a conspicuous position at the entrance of the hotel. It was destroyed in the fire of 1851. The society was first housed at 13 St. Charles Street, near Canal. To the establishment was given the rather magnificent name of National Gallery of Paintings. In 1844 a building was erected where pictures might be exhibited for sale, It was p651used, however, principally for loan collections. Mr. Robb's loans were the most considerable in number, and the most important in point of merit. The gallery was under the direction of G. Cooke, a local artist.
Attention should perhaps be directed to a sale of paintings which took place in New Orleans, at the St. Louis Hotel ball room, in 1847. On this occasion 380 pictures were offered for sale. The catalogue of the collection, which still exists, enumerates works by David, Vernet, Del Sarto, Titian, Van Dyke, Raphael, Poussin, Leonardo, Salvator Rosa, , Claude, Guido Reni, Velasquez, Rembrandt, Rubens and Teniers. There was also a marble copy of the Venus de Medici, described as the work of Canova. These pictures were, it appeared from a statement prefixed to the catalogue, collected by Doctor Benvenuti, of the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence; Doctor Colignoni, of Rome, and the Cavaliere Montalvo, then director of the gallery of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. They were chosen from the collections of thirty-nine Italian noblemen, with the idea that the United States would purchase them as a nucleus of a national gallery of art. This project appears to have fallen through. The auction of these pictures was a great success. Only one of the pictures — a portrait of Marie of Austria, attributed to Van Dyke — has remained in New Orleans. The remainder was distributed widely over the United States and some appear to have found their way into important galleries. The late Worthington Whitridge, in a letter written shortly before his death, for example, has left on record the statement that he gained his inspiration in art from some of these pictures which were acquired by the Cincinnati Art Museum.1 The authenticity of the pictures disposed of at this sale may possibly not pass unchallenged by students of art; the significance of the event for our present purposes, however, is, that it occurred in New Orleans at a comparatively early date, and is, therefore, presumptive proof of the existence in the community of a real interest in art at a time when most American communities were acutely indifferent to such matters.
The catalogue of distinguished painters who were connected with New Orleans is a long one, and goes back to the close of the eighteenth century. The first painter of whom we have knowledge was Ferdinand Latizar (Salizar?), who flourished from about 1790 to about 1830. He was a portrait painter of great ability. Among his works which have survived are portraits of Silvan St. Amand and of Don Andrés Almonester y Rojas, the latter in the collection at the State Museum, in the Cabildo. He was followed by Duval, a miniaturist of distinction. Nothing is known of Duval's life. He painted the portrait of Governor Claiborne which is so frequently reproduced. A portrait of Lalande de Ferrier, executed about the same time, is one of the few other works of this gifted artist that has come down to our time. Of the same period was F. Godefroid, regarding whom we know nothing except that he had a studio in 1809 on South Burgundy Street, near Canal. Godefroid painted the fine portrait of M. Fortin, first grand master of the Masons in Louisiana, which now hangs in the Cabildo. This work was executed in 1807. Nothing is known about Jean François Vallée, either, except that he p653painted admirable miniatures in New Orleans about 1815. About that time he painted a miniature of General Andrew Jackson which the general pronounced the best portrait of him extant. He bought it and presented it to Edward Livingston, who had served on his staff at the battle of New Orleans.
Luis de Penalver,
From a painting by Salagarº in the Louisiana State Museum
One of the most distinguished of early American portrait-painters was John Wesley Jarvis. Born in South Shields, England, in 1780, Jarvis spent much of his life in America, and died in New York in 1840. He was a nephew of John Wesley, the celebrated preacher. He was one of the first artists in the United States to give attention to the study of anatomy as connected with art. Commencing about 1816 Jarvis was accustomed to take up his residence in New Orleans during the winter months. He boasted that in that time he used frequently to earn $60,000 — of which $30,000 he spent in New Orleans, and the remainder he took away with him. He had a studio in 1822 at No. 9 Custom Street. In 1830 his studio was located at No. 48 Canal Street. He was a portrait painter of the first rank, though at times he slighted his work. His connection with New Orleans lasted until 1834.
Another celebrated early American portrait painter who was identified with New Orleans for many years was Matthew Harris Jouett. Jouett was a Kentuckian. He was born in 1787, and died in 1827. He began to paint in 1810. He was not merely a painter, but a soldier, and served as paymaster in the army from 1813 to 1815. In 1817 he made his way on horseback to Boston, and there became a pupil of Gilbert Stuart's. From 1817 till his death he spent the winters in New Orleans and along the Mississippi, painting portraits. He painted Lafayette from life in 1824. Some of Jouett's work ranks with Stuart's best. In the New Orleans directory of 1824 Jouett is mentioned as "portrait painter, peintre en miniature." His studio was at No. 49 Canal Street.
Elias Metcalfe and Samuel F. B. Morse were also located in New Orleans at different periods during this early era. Metcalfe was born in 1785 and died in 1834. He resided in New Orleans between 1818 and 1823. He painted a long series of excellent portraits. In 1822 he had a studio at No. 25 Magazine Street, "above Common." The directory of that year mentions him as "portrait and miniature painter." Morse's visit to cannot be so precisely located. It is known that he lived and painted portraits in Charleston from 1816 to about 1820, and during that time he must have visited New Orleans repeatedly, as portraits from his brush have been found in this city. Morse's fame as a painter has been eclipsed by his reputation as a scientist, but he was one of the best of the early American portrait painters.
A little later in date are Vanderlyn, Audubon, Collas, Sel, Godefroy, and Vaudechamps. These were all remarkable painters. Vanderlyn flourished between 1776 and 1852. He studied in London, Paris, and Rome, and was internationally famous as a historical painter, as well as a masterly portraitist. He was in New Orleans more than once between 1820 and 1830. He erected a building here and exhibited his panorama of "Versailles" and probably other similar works. During these visits he also occupied himself with painting portraits. Inman, who served a seven years' apprenticeship to Jarvis, was with him in New Orleans about 1820. Inman had an enviable reputation as a landscape and genre painter. His work in New Orleans was, like that of most of his contemporaries, p654in the line of portraiture. He flourished from 1801 to 1846, and was president of the National Academy of Design, in New York, from 1824 to 1825. At the same time that Vanderlyn and Inman were painting in New Orleans a young man also supported himself here in the same line. His name was John James Audubon, later to make himself immortal with the "Birds of America." Audubon was a native of Louisiana. He was born on a plantation belonging to Bernard Marigny, near Covington, on the opposite side of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. He was in New Orleans painting portraits in 1821 and 1823. In 1824 he was in Philadelphia receiving instruction from Sully and , and in the latter part of that year he started down the Mississippi on his way to New Orleans, portraits in oil, and drawing them in crayon, en route. He remained in Louisiana until 1826, when he sailed for Europe. Among the works executed in New Orleans was a bust portrait of Lafayette, drawn during the Marquis' visit in 1825.
Of Louis Collas nothing can be found today except the fact that he painted portraits and miniatures of a superior quality in New Orleans from 1820 to 1828. We find him listed in the New Orleans directory for 1822 as a portrait and miniature painter, with a studio at No. 44 St. Peter Street. In 1824 he had a studio at No. 81 St. Peter Street. Louis Godefroy p655is also known to us but as a name in the old city directories. He had a studio in 1824 at No. 139 Tchoupitoulas Street, and in 1830 at No. 31 Poydras Street, corner of Tchoupitoulas. J. B. Sel was a worker in miniature and in oil in New Orleans between 1820 and 1830. Belonging also to this period is the very distinguished artist, Jean Joseph Vaudechamps. He was born in France in 1790, and died there in 1868. He was a frequent exhibitor in the French Salon from 1817 onwards. He resided in New Orleans for several years during the '30s, and executed many fine portraits. In 1833 his studio was at No. 147 Royal Street.
The great name of Thomas Sully is identified with New Orleans only by influence. Portraits by him of distinguished New Orleans people have been found in the city. It is fair to presume then that he visited and worked here. This must have been in the early part of the last century. It is known that he visited the South, and it is very likely that he came repeatedly to New Orleans, which was a Mecca of portrait-painters at this period.
Count Bernard Mandeville de Marigny
Mrs. Bernard Mandeville de Marigny
A few portraits executed in New Orleans between 1830 and 1856 is all that we have of the work of Jaquesº Amans, or Amaus — the name is spelled both ways. Amans was, however, a remarkable painter. His work compares favorably with the best portrait painting of today. It p656may be said that in style and character the work was a century ahead of his time. Amans was born in 1801 and died in Paris, in 1888. In 1838 his studio was at No. 163 Royal Street; in 1840, at 184 Royal Street, and from 1854 to 1856 at the corner of Bienville and Customhouse streets. He painted a remarkable portrait of Gen. Andrew Jackson which has been fortunately preserved. It is now the property of Dr. I. M. Cline.
A few other painters may be mentioned among the ante-bellum artists of New Orleans. A. D. Lansot is known only from the fact that he painted in New Orleans from 1835 to about 1850. Judged by the style of his work he was a pupil of Amans. He had a studio in 1843 at No. 163 Royal Street, and in 1846 at No. 33 Toulouse Street. Ralph E. W. Earl, who is remembered as a good artist and as the husband of Miss Caffery, a niece of Gen. Andrew Jackson, painted in New Orleans in the later years of his life. He died in this city but was buried at the Hermitage.a Earl was an Englishman by birth but was identified with the United States from early childhood. His father was a distinguished portrait painter. Earl studied in Europe, and returning to America in 1815, settled first in Georgia, and then in Tennessee, where he met the lady who subsequently became his wife. Another widely-known painter who figured in New Orleans in the late '40s and early '50s was George Catlin. Catlin was over forty years of age when he came to New Orleans. During his stay here he was employed on one of the local papers, not in an artistic, but in a literary capacity. After leaving New Orleans he made a great reputation for himself by painting portraits of typical American Indians. Still another very distinguished painter who belongs to this period was Benjamin Franklin Reinhart, whose reputation as a portrait, historical and genre painter was international. Reinhart lived and painted in New Orleans in 1859 and 1860. His studio was located at 170 Canal Street. The name of A. G. Powers is preserved by the fact that a full-length portrait of Gen. Andrew Jackson, painted at Baton Rouge, in 1848, now hangs in the mayor's parlor, in the City Hall, in New Orleans. It is known that Powers had a studio in New Orleans in 1850 at 13 St. Charles Street, and in 1861 at 142 Canal Street. Otherwise nothing is known of his life. His portraits are good, but in the commonplace manner. Leon Pomerede is remembered for somewhat similar reasons, having executed the three large altar pieces still to be seen in St. Patrick's Church. Mention is also made of Julien Hudson, an octoroon, whose portraits were, in his day, considered good. There was also an artist named Ciceri, a French painter of established reputation in his own country, the government of which on one occasion sent him on an artistic mission to Egypt. He came to New Orleans in 1859 or 1860, on the invitation of the French Opera Association, to decorate the interior of the French Opera House, which was then being built. Ciceri made friends here, remained many years, and left behind him a series of small pastels and drawings which are prized by their owners. He met with considerable success also as a teacher. Of about the same time, or a little earlier, was Canova, nephew of the famous Italian sculptor of that name. Canova came to New Orleans to decorate the dome of the St. Louis Hotel. In addition to this work he executed a few commissions for private parties. He decorated the interior of the residence of the wealthy banker, John Watt, on Baronne Street, near St. Joseph, torn down within the last decade to make way for a candy factory.
p657 Beginning about 1848, and continuing through the troubled era of the civil war, down to 1867, Francisco Bernard painted portraits and landscapes of merit. His studio in the latter year was at 146 Customhouse Street. The greatest of these later artists was, however, Enoch Wood Perry, who, although a native of Boston, was identified with New Orleans from his seventeenth year onwards. Perry was born in 1831 and died in New York, in 1915. He came to New Orleans in 1848, and in 1852 and 1853 was in Europe, studying his art in Dusseldorf and Paris, in Rome and Venice. From 1856 to 1858 he was United States consul in Venice. In the latter year he returned to New Orleans and opened a studio at 108 St. Charles Street. It was at this time that he painted the fine portrait of John Slidell, which is now one of the treasures of the Cabildo collection. In 1861 he painted another life-sized portrait — of Jefferson Davis, with a map of the United States as background. Perry traveled extensively in his later years, and painted many portraits of the great men of his time. His fame was international.
To this time also belonged William H. Baker and G. P. A. Healy. The former was a painstaking and conscientious artist, who never achieved greatness. He was born in 1825, and was brought up in mercantile pursuits in New Orleans. While thus employed he studied art, and about 1853 opened a studio at 123 Canal Street. He painted portraits and genre subjects down to 1861. In 1865 he moved to New York, where he taught art and continued to paint portraits and ideal subjects, down to his death, in May, 1875. Healy, who is ranked with the greatest American painters, was in New Orleans in 1852 and 1861. In the latter year he resided in Claiborne Street, near St. Louis.
The conditions which resulted in New Orleans are the civil war and the Reconstruction period were not favorable to art. Nevertheless, there is a group of painters who carried on the art-history of the city through this troubled era down almost to the close of the century. Among them may be mentioned Henry Byrd, Richard Clague, George D. Coulon, Peter Schmidt, Harold Rudolph and Bernard Moses. Byrd was a portrait painter of merit, in the class which is styled "competent but commonplace." He lived in New Orleans in the '40s and '50s and painted the portraits of many planters. After an absence of some years he returned to the city in 1867, and took up his residence in the vicinity of Hilary and Commercial streets, where he continued to paint portraits until 1883. He died shortly after that date. Clague, also a native of Louisiana, was born in 1816, and died in New Orleans in February, 1878. He studied with Ernest Hébert and at the Ecole des Beaux in Paris. Clague left us many landscapes which portray in a poetic and pleasing manner Louisiana scenery, and street scenes in New Orleans. He painted a few portraits and genre pictures. Coulon had a studio at 103 Condé (Chartres) Street in 1850. He continued to paint in New Orleans for fifty years thereafter, with studios in various parts of the city. His last residence was 1536 North Claiborne Street. He died in 1904. Schmidt was born in Germany in 1822 and died in New Orleans on April 28, 1867. He practiced portrait painting assiduously. He belonged to the "competent but commonplace" group of painters. He had a studio in 1860 and 1861 at No. 133 Royal Street, and in 1866 at 82 Royal Street. Rudolph is known to have worked in New Orleans as early as 1871. In that year he had a studio at 212 Carondelet Street. In 1874 he was established at 108 Canal Street. Rudolph has left us a few p658Louisiana landscapes which show good composition and a fine effect of color. Otherwise nothing is known of this artist. Moses was a photographer by profession, but for many years painted portraits also.
The next generation brought a number of talented men, among whom may be mentioned Julio, Genin, Pierson, and Poincy. They cover the interval from about 1868 to 1880. Of these Julio was probably the most gifted, but his untimely death cut short a career which promised great things. E. D. B. Fabrina Julio was born in the Island of St. Helena in 1843. His father was Italian, but his mother was Scotch. He came to the United States in 1861, and settled in New Orleans in the later '60s. Here he resided during the greater part of the remainder of his life. In 1872, however, he was in Paris as a student of Leon Bonnat; and his death, which occurred September 15, 1879, took place in Georgia. Julio was a painter of historical, portrait, genre, and landscape pictures of real distinction. His "Diana," "Harvest Scene," and several Louisiana landscapes were exhibited at the Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia. "The Last Meeting of Lee and Jackson" is his best known painting. It hung for years in the armory of the Washington Artillery, in New Orleans. He was a rapid and skillful draughtsman and an artist of originality, who has not received the recognition due him. John Genin was born in France in 1830, and died in New Orleans October 19, 1895. He had a studio as portrait-, historical- and genre-painter at 150 Canal Street, in 1876. For twenty years thereafter he made his home in New Orleans. At the time of his death he had a studio at 233 Royal Street. He was a skillful painter, but followed too closely the style of Bougereau. V. Pierson's name is associated with those of Poincy, Moise, and others of that period. He painted animals in compositions in which they supplied the figures. He was an Englishman. He is known to have resided in the city in the '70s, and was here later. Poincy, although belonging to this period, lived down into the opening years of the present century. He was born in New Orleans in 1833, and died in 1909. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux , in Paris, and was a pupil of Julien. He was a portrait and genre painter of great merit. His street-scenes were well executed, full of poetry and charm. As a teacher and painter he had much to do with the advancement of local art. Some of his portraits will bear comparison with the best American work of his time. A very fine example hangs today in the Delgado Museum.
We can only mention in passing the work of Charles Giroux and William Neuser. The former was located in New Orleans in 1882 and 1883. In those years he had a studio at 90 Baronne Street. He was a landscape painter of some merit, whose work is good in color and pleasing in tone and composition. Neuser was born in Germany in 1837 and died in New Orleans in 1902. He had a studio at 342 St. Charles Street in 1861 and was a resident of the city from that date to his death. He painted portraits, genre and some landscapes.
The revival of interest in art which began in 1880 and 1881, which was largely the consequence of the labor of these earlier, isolated workmen, has not slackened since then. It brought into prominence first a little group of painters, among whom were Andres Molinary, W. H. Buck, E. Livingston, C. W. Boyle, and B. A. Wikstrom. Molinary was born in Gibraltar, in 1847, and died in New Orleans in September, 1915. He came to New Orleans as a young man, full of talent and vigor. He was equally good in portrait, genre and landscape. Buck was a native of p659Norway, where he was born in 1840. He died in New Orleans in September, 1888. He was employed in a clerical capacity in the office of a New Orleans cotton broker before he became a professional painter. He studied under Clague and in Boston. In 1880 he opened a studio as a professional landscape painter, at 26 Carondelet Street, where he worked till his death. He painted Louisiana landscape with considerable force and effect, but sometimes slighted his work. Livingston painted poetic landscape, pleasing in color, both in oil and water colors, during the period between 1880 and 1890. He was a business man, but painted in his leisure, for pure love of the art. Boyle painted portraits and landscape, but was principally occupied with the teaching of art; he was appointed curator of the Delgado when that gallery was opened in 1911, and is still in charge thereof. Bors Anders Wikstrom, a Swede, was born in the Province of Nerike, April 14, 1854, and died while on a visit to New York, in April, 1909. Wikstrom settled in New Orleans in 1883. He painted some landscapes, and a few genre pictures, but it was as an interpreter of the sea that he will be chiefly remembered. With some defect of color he united sound training and great industry. Much of his time was given to the designing of the Carnival parades. For over twenty years the Rex and the Proteus pageants were his handiwork. His skill in this unique department was such that when New York projected a pageant in connection with the Hudson-Fulton centennial, he was summoned to that city to supervise its construction; and it was while thus employed that he died after a brief illness.
The presence in the city of these men led about 1880 to the formation of the Art Union, an association intended to further art and culture. There Boyle, Poincy, Molinary and others had classes which attracted from 150 to 200 students. Their success led to the organization of the Southern Artists' League, in 1885. The prime moves in this society were Boyle and a local amateur, W. J. Warrington, but they had the support and assistance of Poincy and Molinary. Warrington was a music dealer who took an interest in art and dabbled in literature. The charter for the society was drafted by a well-known attorney, Lionel Adams, who also took an interest in its affairs. The charter-members were James Moise, Horace Carpenter, T. R. Tennant, Emile Dantanet, besides Boyle, Poincy, Molinary, Livingston and Warrington. Livingston was elected president, Boyle, corresponding secretary, an office which he retained for twelve or fourteen years; and Dantanet was made financial secretary and treasurer. All of these did not attend the first meeting of the projected society, but they joined at the second or third; and at the third Livingston brought in Wikstrom, who became a teacher in the school which was soon established. At the fourth meeting it became desirable to re-organize completely; at a meeting shortly thereafter, in Wikstrom's studio on Commercial Place, this was effected, and the name, Artists' Association, was adopted. At this meeting R. S. Day, long prominent in artistic circles, was added to the roll. The same officers were retained, and the school which had already met with success was continued, with Molinary, Poincy, and a clever Italian painter, Perelli, as instructors in painting; Wikstrom, in sketching, and Boyle in "flat" drawing. The rooms of the society were situated over the State National Bank, in Camp Street, near Canal. About 100 students matriculated in the classes here, among them Helen Turner, who afterwards established herself as an artist in Philadelphia and rose to distinction; Edith Sansum, p660Julia Massey, Cora Floyd, and Fred Wang, the latter a youth of the highest promise, who won the Rascón medal, and would have been sent to Europe to study by the munificent patron of art who instituted this trophy, but was compelled for family reasons to refuse the opportunity. The Artists' Association gave annual exhibitions which attracted much attention. At the second show the artists who contributed (all local) were: Jules Andrieu, W. H. Buck, C. W. Boyle, Horace Carpenter, R. S. Day, Durante Da Ponte, C. L. Girault, Gamotis, Livingston, Moise, Miss V. Montgomery, Molinary, Poincy, Perelli, a young man named Nogieri, to whom reference will be made further on; Marie Sansum, Mrs. H. B. Smith, Mrs. M. C. Stauffer, T. R. Tennant, W. A. Walker, William Woodward, P. M. Westfeldt, Ellsworth Woodard, and B. A. Wikstrom. Many of these were amateurs. Nogieri, however, was a professional painter. His reputation rests upon poetic visions of the river, with the noted river steamers and great freighters which plied the Mississippi in his time. These he has left to New Orleans as a legacy of by-gone days. Some of his work is treasured at the State Museum in the Cabildo, notably the pictures of the "Lee" and the "Natchez," two of the most famous of the great river passenger boats, and the view of Camp Street in 1840. Nogieri painted also some fairly good portraits.
Eventually the association moved to the third story of the building on Camp Street, between Julia and St. Joseph, afterwards occupied by the Woman's Club. Here began the series of annual auctions of the work of the local artists, conducted by Ed Curtis, which for some years were recognized institutions of the city. Curtis subsequently removed to California, and became noted there for similar enterprises.
Towards the close of the '90s another artists' organization, the Arts and Exhibitions Club, was formed principally through the exertions of William and Ellsworth Woodard. In 1905, at a meeting in Wikstrom's studio, on motion of B. M. Harrod, who was then member of the Artists' Association, it was decided to merge the two organizations. In this way the Art Association came into existence, a society which still exists, although only insofar as its funds it from time to time to contribute to the Delgado by purchasing works of art.
It was the existence of this organization which led in 1910 to the determination of a public-spirited citizen, Isaac Delgado, to furnish the money to erect a museum of art in New Orleans. On February 26 he wrote a letter to the Board of Commissioners of the City Park, stating that it had long been his desire to build a structure which would accommodate the exhibition of the Art Association and would now carry this plan into execution if a site would be found for the building in the park. Some credit for Mr. Delgado's decision is due to P. A. Lelong, who was a member of the Park Board and an intimate friend of the millionaire. Mr. Lelong suggested the propriety of locating the proposed structure in this beautiful resort. Mr. Delgado was prepared to spend $150,000, and stipulated only that the gallery which he proposed to found should be under the control of a group of three or four members from the Park Board and of an equal number from the Art Association, and that a room should be set aside for the preservation of his own collections of objects of interest. In April, 1910, in another letter, the founder explained that it was his wish that all vacancies in the controlling board p661should be filled from the organizations of which the retiring member was originally accredited, or in the event that such organizations should cease to exist, that the remaining members of the board should select the new member. The Delgado Museum of Art as thus constituted was completed and opened on December 16, 1911. It has been successful from its inception, and exercises an important and beneficial influence upon the development of an art feeling in the community. Since its foundation the gallery has been enriched by the Hyams bequest, a valuable collection of works by the leading modern French artists, formed by Mrs. Chapman Hyams and left to the museum in her will; the Morgan Whitney collection of jades and other precious stones; the valuable Howard collection of Etruscan glass and Greek vases; the J. T. Ager donation of paintings and bronzes; the Eugene Lacoste bequest of bronzes and ceramics; the Harrod collection, presented in memory of the late B. M. Harrod by his widow, and many gifts of single pictures. The Artists' Association has contributed several important canvases. Its annual exhibitions in the Delgado are important events in the life of New Orleans.
Bridging the interval from 1885 to the present day is the work of the Woodward brothers. William Woodward came to New Orleans from New England in 1883 as a member of the faculty of Tulane University. He opened free night classes under the auspices of the university in the manual training building, which formerly stood on the corner of Lafayette and Dryades streets. The instruction here was intended primarily for teachers, but others took advantage of the opportunity and there was an enrollment all told of between 600 and 700. Classes were held on four nights in the week for men and on two nights for women. The latter were courses in decorative art. Out of them subsequently arose the Art League for Women, which had a short but useful existence. This society rented rooms at 249 Baronne Street, near Howard Avenue. Here it erected pottery kilns in which some remarkably fine pieces of decorative ware were produced. Its success led to the transfer of the work to Tulane University, upon the collapse of the Woman's League. At its inception the pottery department secured the assistance of Joseph Meyer, a workman of great skill, who subsequently identified himself with the work at the university. At one time it also had the services of George Ohr, the eccentric but talented potter, whose work at Biloxi some years later attracted attention. Out of this enterprise has developed by a natural evolution the celebrated art pottery at Newcomb College, the woman's department of Tulane University.
William Woodward was an industrious painter, whose admirable talent has not been as widely recognized as it deserves. His long service at Tulane University has been of immense value in building up an art sentiment in New Orleans. He spent much time painting street scenes in New Orleans, at a time when the historic landmarks of the Vieux Carre were being in large degree demolished, and many of them survive today only in this remarkable series of paintings.
Ellsworth Woodward, for many years director of the School of Art at Newcomb College, came to New Orleans in 1885 from Massachusetts. He is a pupil of Carl Marr, Richards and Fehr. Aside from his remarkable success as a teacher and administrator, he has won distinction as a painter, particularly in water color. Throughout his residence in New p662Orleans he has been connected with the Newcomb College. He became director of the school of art there in 1890. Under his direction this institution has come to rank with the greatest American art schools. Its pottery is by competent judges considered one of the most remarkable in the world.
To the present time belong A. J. Drysdale and R. B. Mayfield, the former a prolific painter of impressionistic landscape; the latter a careful and conscientious artist who has produced some excellent portraits and landscapes, and in a series of charming etchings has preserved some of the vanishing aspects of old New Orleans. Mention should also be made of Mrs. Gertrude Robert Smith, whose services in promoting the advancement of taste in New Orleans through her connection with New College as a teacher of design and painting have been notable; of Miss Mary G. Sherer, who has contributed largely to the success of the Newcomb pottery as a teacher of ceramics and decoration; and of John Pemberton, whose early promise was destroyed by ill health, but who as teacher at Tulane University and as a sympathetic exponent of negro character made a mark. P. M. Westfeldt was a water colorist of genuine talent. Miss Jennie Wilde, who died in 1913, was a granddaughter of the poet, Richard Henry Wilde, remembered for the discovery of the portrait of Dante as well as for some charming lyrics. Miss Wilde expended an important talent in designing carnival pageants, chiefly for the Mystic Krewe of Comus. Achille Peretti, who came to New Orleans from Italy in 1885, has left some excellent figure paintings.
It is not possible in the brief scope of the present chapter to enumerate all the artists at work in the city in recent years; still less to record the names of those who have made New Orleans their temporary place of abode. A few of the latter, however, may be mentioned. George Innes, the great American landscape painter, worked here at intervals in the late '80s and early '90s. Several of his pictures are owned in New Orleans. William Keith, the landscape painter, whose poetic rendition of the scenery of the Pacific coast has placed him in the front rank of American artists, spent several years here in the '80s. Here he met the lady who became his wife; here they were married. Many of his best pictures are owned in New Orleans, including the remarkable group now hanging in the loan section of the Delgado which belongs to Dr. I. M. Cline. The Spanish artist, Luis Graner, who came to the United States in 1910, lived in New Orleans from 1914 to 1917. He was a man of great ability. Upward of 200 of his pictures remain in New Orleans. He is represented in Delgado by a fine collection of figure pieces and landscapes. It should also be recorded that the private collections of the city have since 1915 been enriched by such visiting artists as Maurice Fronkes and Robert Grafton.
In the field of sculpture little has been achieved in New Orleans. The interest in civil war history and the desire to preserve worthily the memory of the heroes of that great conflict has led to the erection of a number of monuments, among which Doyle's statue of Gen. R. E. Lee and Valentine's statues of Albert Sidney Johnston, J. J. Audubon and Jefferson Davis are the most important.
As part of the cultural movement in New Orleans, mention should be made of the Public Library and of the Howard Library, the two principal institutions of their kind in the city; of the Confederate museum p663at Memorial Hall, and the notable museum of the history of Louisiana now domiciled at the Cabildo. An interest in literature developed in New Orleans early. It is not generally known that the New Orleans Public Library has a history extending back to the year 1842. Up to that time there does not appear to have been any public library, in the sense that term is ordinarily used, although a collection of books, known as the "Commercial Library," was available to the public on the payment of a fee. This library was a private business. In the year mentioned, however, B. F. French purchased the collection and threw it open to the public. In 1846 the books were lodged in two rooms in the Merchants' Exchange on Royal Street, near Canal. There was in that year a recognition of the deficiency of the city in library facilities, and various attempts were made to supply the lack, notably in the establishment of the State Library, although that was intended primarily for the use of the State Legislature, and only remotely for the general public. The Young Men's Free Library Association also came into a brief existence at this time. Its well-selected collection of about 3,000 volumes was located at the corner of Customhouse Street and Exchange Place.
In 1843 Abijah Fisk, a man of intellectual tastes and considerable wealth, died, leaving a will in which his house, on the corner of Bourbon and Customhouse streets, was left to the city to be used for library purposes. His intention was that the library should be open free to strangers. This purpose was made effective in 1847, when a brother, Alvarez Fisk, purchased and gave to the city the French collection, which seems to have grown to about 6,000 volumes. But the recent enthusiasm for this sort of thing had vanished; the city council made no adequate provision for the development of the gift, and if the collection grew in extent, it was due wholly to the zeal of its custodian, Mr. French. As late as 1854 it had not been put into effective operation. Subsequently the library was under the management of the Mechanics' Institute, then of the University of Louisiana, and then under the Tulane University of Louisiana. By the first named organization the collection was housed in the building on Dryades Street, where it remained till 1896. During this period its librarians were Professor Holmes, E. W. Perry, W. L. Finney, C. B. Stafford, C. G. Gill and Miss M. Bell.
The New Orleans City Library came into existence in 1844, through the instrumentality of Samuel J. Peters. Mr. Peters introduced an ordinance into the council of the Second Municipality, providing for the creation of the Public School and Lyceum Society Library. This was promptly organized and soon numbered 3,000 volumes, and by 1848 had increased to 7,500. This collection was never housed in a building of its own. In 1849 it was given quarters in the newly founded and then unfinished City Hall, the same whose classic façade looks out over Lafayette Square today. After the consolidation of the three municipalities in 1852 the collection was called the City Library.2 The first librarian was T. McConnell. He was succeeded by R. C. Kerr, J. V. Calhoun, C. A. Ducros, C. Davisson, Miss M. Cooper and Mrs. M. C. Culbertson. The plan of the Public School and Lyceum Library was, that money should be secured from private citizens for its support. The subscription was 25 cents per month, or $3 per annum; life memberships were awarded upon the payment of $3 per month for a p664space of three consecutive years. The ordinance creating the library provided that when $5,000 should have been pledged in this way, rooms for the library should be found, and when $15,000 had been raised a site should be purchased and a building erected. Scientific apparatus was also to be provided to illustrate lectures which were to constitute the "lyceum" feature of the work. A line of distinguished citizens filled the position of president of the Lyceum Society, which was responsible for the management of the enterprise; and it was while serving in that capacity that Needler R. Jennings negotiated with William Makepeace Thackeray, the celebrated novelist, for the series of lectures which he delivered in New Orleans in 1855.
It was in April, 1896, through the enlightened efforts of John Fitzpatrick, then mayor of the city, that the idea of consolidating the Fisk Free Library and the Lyceum Library was given legal shape. Mayor Fitzpatrick recommended the consolidation in a special message to the city council and the appropriate ordinances were promptly introduced and passed. In this way the city found itself in possession of a collection of 30,000 volumes, which were now given a lodging in St. Patrick's Hall, on Lafayette Square, a historic building which had just been vacated by the Criminal District Court.
The members of the first board appointed to manage the consolidated library were F. T. Howard, Albert Baldwin, Jr., P. A. Lelong, F. G. Ernst, E. B. Kruttschnidtt, G. W. Flynn and S. H. March. Mr. Howard was elected president, Mr. Kruttschnidtt, vice president; Mr. Flynn, secretary, and Mr. Lelong, treasurer. Mr. Howards was succeeded in 1904 as president by Prof. J. H. Dillard. On the death of Mr. Kruttschnidtt, ex-Mayor Fitzpatrick was made vice president. Mr. Flynn was succeeded as secretary by Mr. Ernst, at whose death in 1905 the office was combined with that of treasurer and both were held by Mr. Lelong. Other vacancies have been filled from time to time, the last president being Mr. Fitzpatrick, who held that post at the time of his death in 1919. He was succeeded by J. H. DeGrange.
The board then began the work of organization in December, 1896. William Beer was appointed chief clerk and acted as librarian until May, 1906, when he resigned. H. M. Gill, the present incumbent, was appointed librarian in June, 1906, and entered upon his office on the 15th of the month. The library was regularly organized and the reading room opened to the public in January, 1897, but not until 1900 was the library in a position to circulate in any considerable numbers works not fiction. The sum of $17,000 was appropriated to defray the initial expenses of organization, equipment, the purchase of fiction and of children's books. Up to 1906 this sum was approximately sufficient to meet all the expenses of the institution. In October, 1902, a donation of $50,000 by the heirs of Simon Hernsheim became available, $10,000 for the purchase of books, the remainder to constitute a fund of which the interest only could be used for this purpose. In 1907, under an agreement between the city and Andrew Carnegie, the revenues of the library were increased to $25,000 per annum.
In 1905 the United States Government purchased St. Patrick's Hall with the intention of removing the building and erecting in its place the present postoffice. In November, 1906, the library was accordingly compelled to remove temporarily to the old Twiggs mansion at 1115 Prytania Street. The collection had by this date increased to 70,000 volumes. It p665was a formidable task to remove this great mass of books to the new quarters. Here the library remained till October 31, 1908, when its present home was occupied.
The gift of $250,000 from Andrew Carnegie to the library in 1905, subsequently increased to $375,000, supplemented by the appropriations by the city council, led to the construction of the present commodious building on St. Charles Street, overlooking Lee Circle. This structure, designed by Diboll, Owen & Goldstein, architects, was occupied in 1908. The collection now numbers 170,582 volumes. The number of volumes loaned in 1920 was half a million. In addition to the main library at Lee Circle, there are five branch libraries — one at Royal and Frenchman streets, one in the Fifth District (Algiers), one at the corner of Napoleon Avenue and Magazine Street, one at Canal and Gayoso streets and one, a branch for negroes, at Philip and Dryades streets. These buildings cost approximately $25,000 each and stand on sites estimated to be worth an average of $5,000 each. The book capacity of each of these branch libraries is between 10,000 and 11,000 volumes.
The Howard Library is the principal reference library in New Orleans. It occupies a Romanesque building of brown stone, designed by the celebrated architect, H. H. Richardson. Richardson was a native of Louisiana and this is the only example of his work in the state. The library was founded in 1888 by Miss Annie T. Howard (Mrs. Parrott) as a memorial to her father, Charles T. Howard. The building was erected at a cost of $118,000. In presenting this beautiful structure to the Board of Trustees Miss Howard added 8,000 volumes and a sum of money, which has increased with the passage of time to an endowment of $200,000. The dedicatory ceremonies included also an address by Judge E. C. Billings and the reading of a poem written for the occasion by Mary Ashley Townsend, one of New Orleans' most distinguished poets. The success of the library was immediate. In 1892 it was found desirable to drop all fiction, and thereafter the library was devoted to works of reference and to the history of Louisiana. At the present time it contains 58,000 volumes and 12,000 pamphlets, many of the greatest rarity and value. The oldest book in the collection is a Biblia Aurea, printed by John Zeyner, of Reutlingen, in 1475; the most valuable, a copy of the elephant folio edition of Audubon's "Birds." Volumes from the presses of Aldus, the Elzivirs and Baskerville are also among its treasures. Many first editions and autographed editions have been added to the collection in recent years. The library also boasts complete files of all the New Orleans newspapers since 1873. Here also will be found some interesting works of art, including the Houdin bust of Washington, and some fine paintings by Rosa Bonheur, E. L. Weeks, etc. The first president of the Board of Trustees which has successfully managed the business affairs of the library since its foundation was Albert Baldwin. On Mr. Baldwin's death A. Brittin was elected to the position. The first secretary-treasurer of the board was Frank T. Howard. Since Mr. Howard's death his son, Alvin T. Howard, has filled that office. The first librarian was F. A. Nelson, later reference librarian at Columbia University, in New York City. He was succeeded in 1891 by William Beer, the present incumbent.
The oldest and, in some respects, the most interesting museum in New Orleans is the Confederate Memorial Hall, on Camp Street, near Howard Avenue, immediately adjoining the Howard Library. Here is preserved p666a collection of relics of the Civil war of great value. Although erected and furnished relatively a short time ago, the movement which culminated in the establishment of this unique museum had its origin far back in the troubled days of the Reconstruction era. Early in the year 1869 the duty of organizing Confederate veteran associations was realized by the Confederates of New Orleans. The outcome was the organization of the Louisiana Historical Society, whose president was the Rev. B. M. Palmer, and whose secretary was Dr. Joseph T. Jones. The society had only a brief existence in this city, however, the exigencies of reconstruction in New Orleans making it more expedient for the society to have its headquarters in Richmond, Va. The several Confederate veteran associations contemporaneous with the historical society were imperfectly suppressed by the military orders of General Sheridan, and in 1874, after the 14th of September fight, were revived. During the next fifteen years efforts for the concentration of Civil war relics were spasmodic, but in 1889 the veteran associations went at the matter in earnest. On March 28, 1889, there was a meeting at which the Louisiana Historical Association was organized by the following representatives of the several veteran associations: J. B. Wilkinson, R. S. Venables, George H. Frost, Army of the Tennessee; John T. Purvis, Peter Blake, Thomas Higgins, E. D. Willet, T. C. Campbell, Army of Northern Virginia; W. M. Owen, E. L. Kursheedt, Joseph H. DeGrange, Washington Artillery; J. H. Behan, W. R. Lyman, S. S. Prentiss, D. A. Given, Association Confederate States Cavalry; F. T. Howard, Robert Maxwell, Howard Library Association.
At this meeting General Owen of the Washington Artillery presided and Doctor Wilkinson of the Army of the Tennessee acted as secretary. The meeting was the result of the appointment of conference committees of the various associations for the purpose of recommending a for the reception of relics and records of the Civil war. By invitation these committees had called on the Howard Library Association. Frank T. Howard, president of the association, had offered every facility and advantage for the object the veterans had in view. The committees had concluded that the library would make an advantageous repository for the relics of all periods of Louisiana history. He had promised that in case the library building was too small he would build a fireproof annex. The first officers of the Louisiana Historical Association were: Frank T. Howard, president, W. R. Lyman, first vice president; W. M. Owen, second vice president; D. A. Given, secretary and treasurer; Charles A. Nelson (librarian of the Howard Memorial Library), custodian.
The charter of the association was drafted by Mr. Howard and General Owen, and the association was chartered April 11, 1889. The charter states that the "objects and purposes for which this corporation is formed isº to collect and preserve such books, pamphlets, papers, documents, flags, maps, plans, charts, paintings, engravings, lithographs and other pictorial representations, manuscripts and other things pertaining to the history of Louisiana, both before and after its cession to the United States, and especially the collection and preservation of all papers, documents and relics, etc., relating to the war between the States from 1861 to 1865. This corporation shall have the right to compile and publish and to have compiled and published books, charts and other p667papers and documents relating to the purposes for which it is organized, and to apply for and hold copyright and patents necessary to their protection."
An important provision contained in the charter of the Louisiana Historical Association is the following: "The collections made, and the donations received by the corporation, shall never be broken up by sale, or by division among its members, nor shall any article be removed from New Orleans, nor any article be exchanged or disposed of, except by the unanimous vote of the Board of Governors and by the consent of the donors."
In the by-laws it is further stated: "It is the intent that this association shall be perpetual, but in the event of its dissolution, all collections of every kind, and all assets, after the payment of its obligations, shall go to and be vested in the Howard Memorial Library Association, excepting the right of reversion of manual gifts to the donors or their forced heirs, and the contributions from Confederate veteran associations."
The Confederate Memorial Hall was formally dedicated in 1891 and turned over to the Louisiana Historical Association by the donor, but Mr. Howard's interest in it was by no means severed on the occasion of the dedication. In 1897 he supplied the funds with which the Jefferson Davis Annex was built. The annex is on the downtown, or north, side of the hall, and contains a great proportion of the effects of Mr. Davis and practically all his records and correspondence, material of so great importance that the United States Government kept a man in New Orleans two years copying such matter as the historical association would permit him to copy. The annex is furnished with steel cases, and both the main hall and the annex isº fireproof. In all, Mr. Howard spent about $40,000 in erecting this secure and tasteful building. The architect of Memorial Hall was Thomas O. Sully.
It is impossible to enumerate the many objects of historical interest which the collection now embraces, but mention may be made of the flag of the Tiger Rifles, carried at the battle of First , and used as a pillow for Major Wheat, with whose blood it is stained; Jefferson Davis' cradle and saddle; Gen. Braxton Bragg's saddle; the famous piano played by Confederate soldiers in the trenches at Jackson, Mississippi, in July, 1863, during the attack on that place; Gen. J. B. Hood's camp kettle; the sword worn by Albert Sidney Johnston when he was killed at Shiloh; the uniform and arms of Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard; a locket containing a lock of Gen. R. E. Lee's hair; the sword of Lieutenant Dreux, the first Louisiana officer killed in the Civil war; Jefferson Davis' presidential flag; fragments of the United States flag torn down by W. B. Munford at the Mint in 1862, for which deed Munford was hanged by Butler; and a remarkable collection of Confederate battle flags and guidons, sixty-one in number.
Besides the interest that naturally attaches to a repository of its kind the hall is further impressive because all the Confederate associations of New Orleans make the building their headquarters and keep all the records there. The hall is the great temple of Confederate worship of New Orleans. The organizations that use it are the camps of the United Confederate Veterans, the chapters of the Daughters of the Confederacy, the Ladies' Confederate Memorial Association, the camps of p668the United Sons of Veterans and the Jefferson Davis Monument Chapter.3
The Louisiana State Museum, located at Jackson Square, New Orleans, and occupying the Cabildo, the Presbytère, the old Law Library building and the old State Arsenal, is a permanent public exhibition of historical matters and of biological and commercial specimens native to Louisiana. It is an authorized state depository and was created by Act No. 169 of the General Assembly of 1906, under the administration of Newton Crane Blanchard, governor of Louisiana. The fact that the state had a wonderful collection illustrating its archaeology, history, education, commerce, flora and fauna, minerals and agriculture, which the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Commission gathered together and exhibited at the World's Fair at St. Louis in 1904, and which at the close of this exposition it had to dispose of, was the determining circumstance which brought about the creation of this museum.
Early in the summer of 1904 the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Commission, through Dr. William C. Stubbs, executive commissioner, addressed a letter to Governor Blanchard advising in strong terms that the exhibits then at St. Louis, with had cost so much time, labor and money to collect, should be kept together after the exposition and displayed intact as a state exhibit. This letter was transmitted to the Legislature then in session which passed the following act:
"House Concurrent Resolution:
"Whereas, Act No. 81 of 1902, creating a Board of Commissioners to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and providing for an exhibit of Louisiana's resources at the St. Louis Fair, further provides that said exhibit may be preserved after the close of the fair as an educational feature and means of advertising Louisiana's great resources and development, and
"Whereas, the State Commission for Louisiana in a communication addressed to the governor and by him transmitted to both houses of the General Assembly, has advised the preservation of said exhibit as being in the best interests of the state, be it
"Resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring, That the governor is given authority to arrange to have said exhibit returned to the State of Louisiana after the close of the St. Louis Fair and to make such disposition of it as indicated in said Act 81 of 1902 as may to him and the Board of Commissioners of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition seem to the best interests of the state; and be it further
"Resolved, That the cost of the return of said exhibit to the State of Louisiana shall not exceed $2,500."
At a meeting of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Commission on September 16, 1904, at which were present Governor Newton C. Blanchard, Dr. W. C. Stubbs, state commissioner; Col. Charles Schuler, Henri L. Gueydan and Robert Glenk, at the Louisiana building at St. Louis, it was resolved to preserve the exhibits for the establishment of a state museum.
Previous to this time efforts were put forth to establish an historical museum to be domiciled in the Cabildo when that ancient structure should be vacated by the Supreme Court and police station.
p669 In 1898 Col. James S. Zacharie, councilman and distinguished citizen, recommended to the Louisiana Historical Society that in connection with the celebration in honor of the cession of Louisiana a program to include the prospective creation of a colonial museum in the Cabildo be drawn up. A committee, of which he was chairman, was appointed to organize such a celebration. In November, 1899, Captain Zacharie suggested that an experimental exhibit be held to test public opinion on the "museum idea," and this exhibit demonstrated the popularity of the proposition and resulted in the passing of a resolution by the Louisiana Historical Society and an Act No. 90 by the Legislature in 1900 giving official recognition to the project. No appropriation was made and nothing tangible resulted therefrom excepting the appointment of a Board of Curators, of which Captain Zacharie was made president and William Woodward temporary secretary.
When the St. Louis Fair was drawing to a close and it became necessary to provide a domicile for the state exhibits about to be returned to the state, the Board of Curators appointed by the governor under Act 90 of 1900 made a claim to these exhibits for New Orleans. At the same time the Louisiana State University claimed the exhibits for Baton Rouge, the state capital.
After a thorough lengthy discussion of the merit of the claims of each aspirant, participated in by Col T. D. Boyd, Henry L. Fuqua, I. M. Smith and J. B. Aswell, representing the State University, and Col. J. S. Zacharie, T. P. Thompson and Paul Capdevielle for the City of New Orleans, the final outcome was that inasmuch as the exhibits were under the sole charge of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Commission, with the necessary funds to pay for their return to install and maintain them pending the action of the next Legislature, there was nothing else to do but to accede to the wishes of these commissioners and have the exhibits brought to New Orleans. This was done, and the commission authorized Doctor Stubbs and General Levert to secure a suitable building for their installation for a period not to go beyond August 1, 1906. The lower floor of the Carondelet Street side of the Washington Artillery Hall was rented and the exhibits were shipped directly there at the close of the fair at St. Louis by Assistant State Commissioner Robert Glenk, under whose direction the exhibits were installed both there and at New Orleans upon their arrival. The opening exercises of the "Louisiana State Exhibit and Museum" took place on May 3, 1905, and the program consisted of speeches by Governor Blanchard, Mayor Behrman, Col. James S. Zacharie, Col. M. J. Sanders and Col. George Soulé. Dr. W. C. Stubbs presided. The museum continued to operate under the guidance of Doctor Stubbs, state commissioner, and Robert Glenk, curator, until the Legislature of 1906 passed Act 169, which created the State Museum and provided for its management and maintenance. The Act No. 90 of 1900 was at the same time repealed. Act 169 was approved July 11, 1906, by Governor Blanchard, who later on appointed the following members as the Board of Curators of the new museum: Prof. Alcée Fortier, W. O. Hart, Esq., Gen. W. D. Gardiner, Thomas P. Thompson, Prof. Reginald S. Cocks, Frank M. Miller, Gen. John B. Levert, J. W. Frankenbush,º Henri L. Gueydan. The board organized on December 10, 1906, when T. P. Thompson was elected president; Prof. Alcée Fortier, vice president, and at the same time created the office of general manager and treasurer, which Doctor Stubbs was elected to fill, and the office of p670curator and secretary, to which Robert Glenk was elected. This office was the only one carrying a compensation. Immediately upon its permanent establishment with the annual appropriation of $5,000, the museum thrived prodigiously, a department of history was started, which with the acquisition of the Gaspar Cusachs, T. P. Thompson, Louisiana Historical Society, Gottschalk, George Williamson and other lesser collections, assumed respectable proportions and great value and outgrew the allotted space in the Washington Artillery Hall.
On June 30, 1908, the city council of New Orleans passed an ordinance placing the historic Cabildo and Presbytère under the supervision of the Board of Curators and domiciling at the same time the Louisiana Historical Society in the Supreme Court room of the Cabildo.
With the occupation of these large and venerable buildings of January 1, 1911, the State Museum entered upon an era of expansion and development to which all Louisianians can look with pride — and which at the present time has placed the institution at the forefront of similar institutions not only of the South but of the nation. On January 21, 1914, the State of Louisiana turned over to the Board of Curators the old State Arsenal Building adjoining the Cabildo to be used as a Battle Abbey for relics of the bar wars in which Louisiana has participated. This building contains notable exhibits commemorating the Battle of New Orleans, Mexican war, Civil war, Spanish-American war and the World war. Noteworthy is the very extensive exhibit of trophies donated by the Republic of France from the battle fields of the Somme and Argonne.
The Cabildo at the present time contains a priceless collection of documents, records, antiquarian exhibits, instruments, models, clocks, costumes, textiles, laces, ceramics and glassware, paper money, oil paintings, miniatures and art objects, photographs, prints, etc.
The library has over 17,000 books and 5,000 pamphlets on the shelves, largely made up of newspaper files, historical and genealogical and scientific works for reference use by students and investigators. It also contains the Louisiana History Society library and the library of the Louisiana Engineering and the Naturalists' Society. The natural history department is domiciled in the Presbytère and old Law Library building. The exhibits are composed of specimens of the flora and fauna of the state, large habitat groups showing the life histories of many of the birds and animals, electrically lighted and with painted backgrounds. The mineral, forestry and agricultural resources and technical and commercial exhibits, models and groups are displayed.
This building also contains the workshops, laboratories, taxidermy and art rooms, assembly room, child welfare station and the office of the Division of Immigration.
Numerous scientific and literary societies make use of the museum facilities, as do also the public schools and colleges. The attendance is about 150,000 per year. The annual appropriation for maintenance received from the state is $12,500.
In 1920 the officers of the museum were: President, T. P. Thompson; vice president, W. C. Stubbs; treasurer, J. B. Levert; secretary, Robert Glenk; honorary curators — Louisiana archaeology, George Williamson; coins and medals, Edward Foster; mollusks, L. S. Frierson; birds and mammals, M. L. Alexander. The members of the Board of Administrators since its organization in 1906 have been: Governor N. C. Blanchard, 1906‑1908; Governor J. Y. Sanders, 1908‑1912; Governor p671L. E. Hall, 1912‑1916; Governor R. G. Pleasant, 1916‑1920; Governor J. M. Parker, 1920‑—; Mayor Martin Behrman, 1906‑1920; Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Shuler, 1906‑1911; Commissioner of Agriculture E. O. Bruner, 1911‑1916; Commissioner of Agriculture H. D. Wilson, 1916‑1920; Director State Experiment Station W. R. Dodson, 1906‑1919; Director State Experiment Station W. H. Dalrymple, 1920-—; J. A. Breaux, 1914‑1920; S. Locke Breaux, 1911‑1913; Sam Blum, 1911‑1917; R. S. Cocks, 1906‑1911; Gaspar Cusachs, 1914‑1918; C. H. Ellis, 1911‑1912; Alcée Fortier, 1906‑1911, 1913‑1914; J. M. Frankenbusch,º 1906‑1911; W. D. Gardiner, 1906‑1908; Robert Glenk, 1911‑1920; H. L. Gueydan, 1906‑1911; W. O. Hart, 1906‑1911; Charles Janvier, 1911‑1912; J. B. Levert, 1906‑1920; E. A. McIlhenny, 1918‑1920; F. M. Miller, 1906‑1908; H. Gibbes Morgan, Jr., 1911‑1920; H. W. Robinson, 1918‑1920; W. C. Stubbs, 1913‑1920; W. B. Thompson, 1911‑1912; Norman Walker, 1914‑1920.
1 I am indebted to Dr. I. M. Cline for the opportunity to examine the catalogue of this collection, and also that of the Robb sale. Much of the data embodied in this chapter has been furnished by Dr. Cline, whose knowledge of local art is unsurpassed, and whose collection is rich in examples of nearly all the painters who have worked in New Orleans.
2 Ordinance 4439, approved March 18, 1859.
3 See an article in the Times-Democrat, May 20, 1903, and one by J. A. Chalaron, in the Confederate Veteran, December, 1898.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
J. S. Kendall's History
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 8 Dec 10