From Grand Village to Bluff City: 300 Years of Natchez History
June 13 – September 3, 2016
in Upper and Lower Main Galleries
LSU Libraries Special Collections presents the exhibition “From Grand Village to Bluff City: 300 Years of Natchez History, on display at Hill memorial Library from June 13 – September 3, 2016. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
The Mississippi River’s fertile flood plain coupled with its role as a major economic artery connecting north and south firmly established the links between Natchez, Miss., and Louisiana early in their development as outposts of the colonial empires of multiple European powers. That connection continued into their respective American territorial periods, and by the antebellum era planters in the area had fully exploited this geographic partnership, taking up residence in Natchez city proper while keeping a firm eye on their profitable plantations across the river. Joined more than divided by the river, Natchez and Louisiana continue to have social, cultural, and economic ties.
It is these connections that informed LSU history professor Edwin Adams Davis as he began in 1935 systematically to collect the papers of the families that settled and prospered in the region. He gave no thought to distinguishing among those who were divided by the almost artificial political boundaries of the states; his interest was in documenting and preserving the rich history and culture of the Lower Mississippi Valley. Over the years, the department he founded at LSU, now known as LSU Libraries Special Collections, has developed into one of the premier repositories for such materials in the nation.
The Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) within LSU Libraries Special Collections documents the history and culture of this region, of which the diverse and complex city of Natchez is part. The largest accumulation of materials on Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley in existence, LLMVC includes a comprehensive collection of books, periodicals, maps, prints, pamphlets, Louisiana state documents, microfilm of Louisiana newspapers, historical manuscripts and photographs. The LLMVC is recognized for its collections relating to the antebellum plantation, Civil War, and Reconstruction South and includes the papers of individuals and families, records of plantations, merchants and financial institutions, and the files of political, social, and labor organizations. The collections date to the French and Spanish colonial periods in the region to the present day as we continue to collect materials related to the region’s social, economic, political, cultural, literary, environmental and military history.
A variety of topics are explored in the exhibition, reflecting the diverse materials, stories and people of Natchez that are part of our holdings. Subjects showcased include archaeological reports and early French accounts regarding the Natchez Indians; political and economic upheaval in the eras of colonial, territorial and statehood history; slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction; 19th century Natchez in photographs; 20th century economic development and the civil rights era; literary notables of Natchez; and tourism.
The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the library at (225) 578-6544.
Images: Top -“Dance generale” of the Natchez Indians, from Le Page du Pratz, Histoire de la Louisiane. Center – “Plan of Fort Rosalia” from Pittman, The Present State of European Settlements on the Mississippi. Bottom – “Train Ferry,” from the Thomas H. and Joan W. Gandy Photograph Collection.
Bird’s Eye View of LSU
June 27 – December 17, 2016
in Lecture Hall
The campus of Louisiana State University has undergone many changes since its establishment on the current site in 1926. “Bird’s Eye View of LSU” features selected aerial photographs from the holdings of University Archives within LSU Libraries Special Collections. These images provide an evolving portrait of the campus, documenting its rural origins and subsequent growth.
John Earle Uhler Papers
in Reading Room
John Earle Uhler was a writer, scholar, and English professor at LSU from 1928-1961. Prior to joining the faculty at LSU, where he served as first president of the LSU Faculty Club, Uhler worked as a reporter, copy editor, and actor. A charter member of the Renaissance Society of America, his research interests included Shakespeare, 18th century English drama, English Renaissance literature, and linguistics. The collection consists of correspondence, literary and academic manuscripts, printed material, teaching materials, and photographs.
In 1931, Uhler published Cane Juice, a novel depicting southern Louisiana and student life at LSU. A public controversy ensued in which Uhler was accused of slander by Father F. L. Gassler, culminating in his suspension and eventual removal from the faculty by the executive committee of the LSU Board of Supervisors. After a six-month legal battle involving the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Association of University Professors, Uhler was reinstated in April of 1932.