The Southeastern Architectural Archive, a unit within Tulane University Library's Special Collections Division, was founded in 1979 of collections from Prints and Drawings of the Manuscripts Department (now the Louisiana Research Collection) at Tulane University. Growing from a small number of groups of records from a few New Orleans architects and firms, SEAA now preserves over 135 collections from the New Orleans metropolitan region, Louisiana, and other parts of the gulf south. Over the last three decades, SEAA has become one of the largest architectural archives in the southern United States, housing nearly 1 million drawings, 25 thousand photographs, and many other records.
Earlier materials illuminate the distinctive architectural heritage for which New Orleans is famous, such as the Sylvester Labrot Collection, containing the most comprehensive group of project drawings of James Gallier, Sr. and his son, James Gallier, Jr., Charles Bingley Dakin and his brother, James H. Dakin, Richard Esterbrook, John Turpin, Minard Lafever, and other 19th century architects who practiced in New Orleans. SEAA also has other 19th and early 20th century architects represented in its holdings, including Robert Mills, James Freret, Thomas Sully, Benjamin Harrod, Paul Andry, and others.
The bulk of SEAA’s material covers the 20th century, most records being from the 1950s through the 1980s. Regional architects representing this period include Edward Sporl, Sam Stone, Jr., and Martin Shepard for the earlier part of the century. For the mid to later 20th century, architects and firms such as Weiss, Dreyfous, and Seiferth, Freret and Wolf, Koch and Wilson, Curtis and Davis, Albert Ledner, and many others comprise SEAA’s record of the region’s built environment.
For later 19th to early 20th century New Orleans photographers, SEAA has in its collections, works by John Teunnison, Francois Mugnier, C. Milo Williams, William Odiorne, and others. For the mid to later 20th century, photographers including Richard Koch, Clarence John Laughlin, Howard "Cole" Coleman, Frank Lotz Miller, and many others are represented.
SEAA also has important records from funerary designer/builder, Albert Weiblen Marble and Granite Company.
Digital finding aids may be accessed simultaneously using the search box above. Researchers may also consult individual finding aids using the alphabetical index or the collection number index. Most of our holdings will be found by subject, usually, by street address, but may also be found by popular building name, city, parish, state, client, or architect. When searching the finding aids or the above search box, try entering addresses either by street name first--i.e. Bourbon Street, 200 or the street number first--i.e. 200 Bourbon Street. You might also want to try abbreviating Street, Avenue, Boulevard, etc. Try searching with quotation marks for more controlled results. We do not use diacritical accent marks for non-English words in our finding aids, i.e. search by Vieux Carre not Vieux Carré, Francois Mugnier not François Mugnier. Our finding aids include basic biographical information about architects/firms, some with links to fuller biographies in Knowla, Encyclopedia for Louisiana. For more detailed biographical material, consult our Architect Biographical Files, which contain biographies, brochures, project information, etc. We also have print-outs of newspaper obituaries in ring binders. The American Institute of Architects has biographical information in their Historical Directory of American Architects, which includes Louisiana architects/firms. All finding aids and inventories were written by Kevin Williams. Please email him with questions concerning the inventories at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because of the fragile nature of our holdings, we cannot permit browsing of collections.
Researchers are requested to make an appointment prior to visiting SEAA, as our materials are oversized and fragile, and we have limited staffing. Appointments may be made by calling Kevin Williams, Archivist at (504) 247-1836, but it is best to send a detailed email to email@example.com.