Election 2016: Take a glimpse into elections past
High-gloss cardstock pamphlets bearing the images of political candidates flood the mailboxes of households across the United States. Many of these pieces are discarded shortly after delivery, but there is a place where political ephemera is wanted.
That place is the Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC) at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library located on the uptown campus of Tulane University. Here, ephemera of all types are housed and kept as record for future research.
“We acquire ephemera for any and everything in Louisiana such as pamphlets, flyers, campaign cards, church bulletins, and menus,” said Leon Miller, head of the LaRC.
“Campaign materials contain a vast wealth of information that you can’t find anywhere else such as details about the candidate’s family members and the candidate’s religious beliefs.”
Leon Miller, head of the LaRC
The expansive ephemera collection includes more than 200,000 pieces representing roughly 8,000 Louisiana groups, organizations, businesses and associations. The political subset of the collection dates back to the 1860s and tells the story of both local New Orleans elections and statewide Louisiana elections.
“Campaign materials contain a vast wealth of information that you can’t find anywhere else such as details about the candidate’s family members and the candidate’s religious beliefs,” said Miller. “The political collection is available to everyone digitally from 1860 to 1920, but we have ephemera as recent as this year.”
Miller said LaRC is always looking to add new ephemera to the collection. Anyone interested in submitting materials can bring them to LaRC at 6801 Freret St. or contact Leon Miller by email with questions.
Editor's note: This article is the second in a series of content relating to the 2016 election season. In case you missed it, read the first installment titled, "Does your vote really count?"