Tulane University Library's Special Collections includes the Southeastern Architectural Archive (SEAA), one of the larger collections of architectural records in the southern United States. SEAA was founded in 1979 of collections from Prints and Drawings of the Manuscripts Department (now the Louisiana Research Collection "LaRC") 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.
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. You may also search for SEAA and other Special Collections material through ArchivesSpace. Most of our holdings will be found by subject, usually, by street address for New Orleans buildings, 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. 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 in our reading room. The American Institute of Architects has biographical information in their Historical Directory of American Architects, which includes Louisiana architects/firms, 64 Parishes Encyclopedia is another good source. All finding aids and inventories were written by Kevin Williams.
We welcome reference questions in person, mail, and phone, but it is best to send us a detailed email inquiry. Please contact us to set up an appointment to use our collections at firstname.lastname@example.org. Researchers may access our holdings in the Tulane University Special Collections reading room on the 2nd floor of Jones Hall, 6801 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA 70118.