Tulane University Archives Historical Collection


Tulane University was established in 1834 as a small private medical college. In 1847, it became a public multifaceted state institution, the University of Louisiana. In 1884, it once again became a private institution through the donation of Paul Tulane, a wealthy merchant intent upon giving back to the city which had given him so much. This collection represents the variety of materials held within the University Archives, its official repository. Divided into sub-collections for easier searching, each section that will be populated – Artifacts and Memorabilia, Audiovisuals, Course Catalogs, Historical Documents and Records, Photographs and Photo Albums, Publications, and Student Registers, Graduates, and Alumni Lists – offers a glimpse into the history of Tulane University. Please click on an icon below to access a particular sub-collection.
The University Archives has a modest collection of films and a vast collection of videotapes, all of which are rapidly reaching the end of their original lifespan. As funds permit, we are digitizing the items in most immediate need of preservation and are presenting the transferred/digitized/restored prints in this repository. The films cover a wide range of topics – historic student events such as Tulane’s Centennial celebration, Newcomb College students in cap and gown, athletic events, political protests and speeches, and promotional publicity films -- and were created by students, staff members, and professional filmmakers. At this time, the earliest film digitized is a 1931 movie comprised of several pieces of film joined into a short reel that shows Newcomb students and faculty members at Dixon Hall, a line of female students in procession, heading for chapel on the first day of class, accompanied by their child mascot. The most historic, perhaps, is the footage of President Gerald R. Ford’s speech in the gymnasium on April 23, 1975, in which he announced to the Tulane audience and to the world that the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was over.
Student Ledgers, Graduates, and Alumni Lists
Genealogists and researchers will be fascinated to scroll through the handwritten pages of these student registers for the Medical, Law, Collegiate, and University/Graduate Departments, Tulane High School, and Tulane College. Each volume reveals the list of student matriculates for each year as they registered; various types of information are recorded on each page. In most cases, the registering student signed the page in his own handwriting (the exception are the ledgers of alphabetically-arranged names; these were compiled at a later date by a registrar or clerical staff). These ledgers include the names of all male students who registered for coursework at the university (and at Tulane High School) from 1840-1900 or later, whether they graduated or not. For researchers who do not wish to traipse through time, or for those who have trouble deciphering nineteenth-century epigraphy, we have also digitized published lists of early graduates of many of the schools/colleges of the university. These lists were published as part of the university’s catalog/bulletin publication series, and they generally contain the names of all graduates for each school or college from the date of first degree awarded up to the date of publication (circa the early 1920s). These published lists exist for graduates of the schools of medicine, engineering, law, arts and sciences, and recipients of advanced degrees (Masters and Ph.D.s). Finally, The Ledger of Medical Graduates and Professors of the Medical College of Louisiana/University of Louisiana/Tulane University of Louisiana, 1834-1901 also includes a list of the early professors of the medical college/school, their titles and tenures, and the courses that they taught.