Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Howard-Tilton Memorial Library Construction

In December 1968, Library Journal featured an article about Tulane University's new Howard-Tilton Memorial Library (construction progress photographs shown above). Designed by the New Orleans firm Nolan, Norman and Nolan with consulting assistance of Harvard University Librarian Keyes D. Metcalf (1889-1983), the building was the largest new library to be reported that year. Tulane received nearly $2 million in federal grants to support the $6.2 million project.(1)

LJ reported:

"BIG AS IT IS, Tulane's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is only about one-half of its ultimate size. Part of its construction cost represents an investment in future expansion: foundations capable of bearing another four floors atop the first floor, plus an elevator shaft which is to be unused until the building grows.

Built on a 25-foot module, the building presents a massive and simply designed exterior, with both the ground and fourth floors completely walled in glass, and the rest of the building with concrete aggregate.

The new library is across the street from the old one, and already holds some 700,000 volumes, or 75 percent of the university's total collections. It took a wooden ramp and 11,271 book truck trips to make the move across the street."

Today, visitors to the library will have noticed that its entrance has been moved to the Freret Street facade in preparation for the construction of two additional floors. Keep abreast of the progress here.

(1) "Local Affairs." The Times-Picayune (11 June 1965): p. 1; "U.S. Fund Totaling $2,039,833 Approved for Three N.O. Universities." The Times-Picayune (22  June 1965): p. 20. Building cost was $5.5 million; equipment cost was $655,000.

Images above:  B. Samuels, photographer. Pile Driving. 2 September 1966; Form Setting. 1 February 1967; Concrete Pour. 8 May 1967. Nolan, Norman and Nolan Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mama Lou's 1961

In 1961, freelance artist  Florence Mars (1923-2006) spent time at Mama Lou's Camp, which was located on Lake Pontchartrain in Little Woods. The structure was significantly damaged by fire months after Mars shot this photograph.

During the late 1940s Mars worked in Atlanta, but her grandfather's death in 1950 prompted her to spend more time in New Orleans. She became associated with the Allison Art Colony in Way, Mississippi and her 1955 painting Trumpet Player was exhibited in the colony's inaugural show at the Delgado Museum, now the New Orleans Museum of Art. Mars took many  photographs of New Orleans musicians, buildings and parades.  Christiern Albertson hired Mars -- along with Ralston Crawford --  to take photographs for Riverside Records' "Living Legends" series.

Florence Mars donated a number of photographs to Tulane University Libraries, but the bulk of her image archive was given to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 1982. Some of her jazz photographs may be consulted at Tulane University's Hogan Jazz Archive.

In the spring of 1947, the venue was advertised for sale as "Mamma Lou's."(1)

(1) Advertisement. The Times-Picayune 30 May 1947.

Photograph:  Florence Mars. Mama Lou's, Little Woods, New Orleans, LA. 1961. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.  This image is issued by the Southeastern Architectural Archive. Use of the image requires written permission from the staff of the SEAA. It may not be sold or redistributed, copied or distributed as a photograph, electronic file, or any other media. The user is responsible for all issues of copyright.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Progressive New Orleans 1940

Metro Goldwyn Mayer's "A Brief New Orleans History Lesson" (1940) includes mention of modern construction methods and also Tulane University.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Consulates in New Orleans 1964

In 1964, the city of New Orleans paid honor to the members of the New Orleans Consular Corps and their "Ladies." The International Relations Office of the City of New Orleans, then located in Rathbone DeBuys'  International Trade Mart (#1), was the liaison office for the consular corps and arranged an event program that included an art exhibit and a performance by the New Orleans Recreation Department Civic Orchestra.

There were 41 consulates in New Orleans at the time:

Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Great Britain
Philippine Republic
South Africa

By 1969, many of these consulates and others were located in Edward Durell Stone's International Trade Mart (#2), located at 2 Canal Street, shown below.

Matt Anderson, photographer. Mississippi River from Plaza Tower, New Orleans, LA. Circa 1970. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

For list of consulates, see: New Orleans International Relations Office. Second Annual Reception in honour of the New Orleans Corps and Their Ladies. New Orleans: 1964. Frank H. Boatner Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hydraulic Stone & Brick

The early twentieth century introduced many new building materials to the architecture profession. New Orleans architects Andry & Bendernagel and Francis J. MacDonnell adopted some of these new materials in the construction of religious buildings.

For the Ursulines Convent (top image), Andry & Bendernagel employed durable press-bricks developed by the Hydraulic-Press Brick Company of St. Louis, Missouri.  The company opened branch offices in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Davenport, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York, Omaha, Philadelphia, Toledo and Washington, D.C. It became especially renowned for its Hy-tex Brick, an affordable and durable face brick that was utilized on projects nationwide. Hy-tex was available in a wide variety of colors, textures and sizes and potential clients could select appropriate bricks in branch office "Exhibit Rooms" such as the one shown in the second image above.

For the St. Charles Avenue First Baptist Church (third image), Francis J. MacDonnell utilized the Ferguson System developed by the American Hydraulic Stone Company of Denver, Colorado. This was a two-piece system comprised of hollow concrete "stones" that could be fabricated on the building site with steel molds (bottom image). The company claimed that nine men working a ten-hour day could make the brick and assemble a one thousand square foot wall.

Images above:  First two:  Hydraulic Press-Brick Company. Genuine Economy in Home Building. St. Louis, MO, 1913.  Architectural Trade Catalogs, Southeastern Architectural Archive.

Second two: American Hydraulic Stone Company. Ferguson System Concrete Construction, Supplement to Catalog. Denver, CO. 1907. Martin Shepard Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

South Rampart Street Neutral Ground

During World War II, the neutral ground at the intersection of South Rampart Street and Howard Avenue was occupied by a restaurant called the Union Lunch Room. New Orleans architect Walter Cook Keenan (1881-1970) documented the bustling corner in a series of photographic negatives taken from opposite sides of the restaurant.

He often photographed signage, from hand-painted and neon signs to large billboards. Typically, he was documenting code violations in the French Quarter, although sometimes he ventured into other neighborhoods. Sometimes he photographed signs enforcing racial discrimination, as was the case with the Union Lunch Room's.

For researchers interested in the history of segregation, it will be important to note that photographers working with the Farm Security Administration also documented such signs, and the Library of Congress' Prints and Photographs Division has digitized them in response to frequent patron requests. They are accessible here.

Images above:  Walter Cook Keenan, photographer. 900 S. Rampart Street. Circa 1945. Walter Cook Keenan New Orleans Architecture Photographs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

NOLA Shantytown 1914

For those of you who haven't consulted the National Library of Medicine's Images from the History of Medicine (IHM), we encourage you to take a look. The database contains over 70,000 images from the National Library of Medicine's historical collections. Researchers can browse through the database or search by keyword.

What new features/enhancements would you like to see for the database?  The National Library of Medicine is asking the public to participate in a brief survey regarding the online collection.

The image above most likely was taken about 1914, when a bubonic plague scare in New Orleans triggered the passage of ordinances aimed at widespread rat extermination. These largely focused on rat-proofing buildings, and local architects subsequently received commissions through property management companies to assess structures for compliance. One such architect was Martin Shepard (1875-1962), whose records are housed in the Southeastern Architectural Archive.

Photograph credit:  Bird's Eye View of a Shantytown, New Orleans, Louisiana, c. 1914. Images from the History of Medicine, National Library of Medicine. As viewed 14 May 2013.