Publishers' Bindings from the Louisiana State University Libraries’ Special Collections

Old Creole Days

(Charles Scribner's Sons, 1897)

In 2007, the Louisiana State University Libraries signed on to help the PBO project staff test the feasibility of having institutions beyond the University of Alabama and University of Wisconsin-Madison contribute to PBO. In May, 2008, 106 titles drawn from the Libraries’ Special Collections were successfully added to the PBO database.

The Louisiana State University Libraries organized its Special Collections division in 1985 to administer the rare books, manuscripts, and other specialized research collections already held by the Libraries. The division's principal mission is to preserve these collections and add to them while making them available for use. Housed in historic Hill Memorial Library, Special Collections offers resources for original research in many fields, ranging from the humanities and social sciences to the natural sciences, agriculture, aquaculture, the fine arts, and design.

Foremost among the Libraries’ collections, the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) documents the history and culture of this region. 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, and microfilm of Louisiana newspapers, as well as a growing collection of oral histories from the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History.

The American Sugar Industry: pbl00101

More than 5000 manuscript groups encompassing over 10 million items are preserved in LLMVC. Recognized as a premier repository for materials relating to the antebellum plantation, Civil War, and Reconstruction South, LLMVC includes the papers of individuals and families, records of plantations, merchants and financial institutions, and the records of political, social, and labor organizations. Subject guides to the manuscripts collections are available, as are some complete findings aids.

In addition to its rich manuscript collections, LLMVC includes more than 200,000 historic photographs, some
of which are available in the Louisiana Digital Library. Complementing these unique materials are more than 120,000 volumes of books, periodicals, maps, newspapers, and other published material.

In addition to LLMVC, Special Collections includes a general Rare Book Collection, the E.A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection, the Codrescu Collection of Outsider Literature, the William Morton Bowlus Collection of Comic Books, the Laughlin Collection (science fiction, the occult, and photography) and a host of smaller collections on topics such as book arts, chess, poker, crayfish, and Abraham Lincoln.

The selection of bindings from the LSU Libraries' Special Collections was drawn primarily from LLMVC. It features books published in Louisiana and by Louisiana authors, as well as those that reflect Louisiana topics, such as sugar and life in New Orleans. Some works were chosen from two plantation libraries, which came to LSU from Rosedown Plantation, a cotton plantation north of Baton Rouge, and Acadia Plantation, a sugar plantation south of Baton Rouge. These reflect the taste and interests of the men, women, and children living in Louisiana from the ante-bellum period to the 1930s.

American Ornithology
(Cassell Petter & Galpin, 1878)

Titles range from Tales and Novels by Maria Edgeworth (1835) and Up in Maine: Stories of Yankee Life Told in Verse by Holman Day (1900), to Anne Hollingsworth Wharton’s Heirlooms in Miniatureswith a Chapter on Miniature Painting (1898) and Elisha Kent Kane’s The U.S. Grinnell Expedition in Search of Sir John Franklin (1854).

The nation’s ongoing struggle in the 1880s to come to terms with the Civil War is reflected in books such as The Boys of ’61: or, Four Years of Fighting (1883) and Drum-beat of a Nation (1888) by Charles Carleton Coffin, and Joseph A. Joel’s Rifle Shots and Bugle Notes (1884), “dedicated to the ex-soldiers and sailors of the late civil war and to the People of the United States – One flag! One people!” Almost half the books (45 of 100 titles) are by or about women. Two titles, Wilson’s American Ornithology (1878) and Edward Samuels’ Our Northern and Eastern Birds (1883) represent the rich trove on natural history bindings found in the E. A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection, an area for future additions.

For more information about the LSU Libraries’ Special Collections, visit our website at

Access the PBO database for bindings for all Louisiana State University Libraries,
Special Collections, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

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