I love libraries, but sometimes it’s hard to visit between the demands at work and home. Plus, not every book is available at every library. Still, libraries should exist forever.
Now that’s that clear, here’s a sampling of what Family Search’s digital library has.
Death notices from Assumption Parish. These were the granddaddy of obituaries. In the days when newspapers weren’t printed daily (wait … in the days before newspapers were printed daily), these would be handed out to alert folks about funerals:
The grave photographed above belongs to Louisa Catherine Adams, the daughter of John Quincy Adams and Louisa Catherine Adams Sr. Little Louisa is buried in Russia, where she died while her father was working abroad.
I’m reading a book about a journey that Louisa Sr. took from St. Petersburg to Paris shortly after the fall of Napoleon. It’s a fascinating read of tsars, wolves, thick forests, icy rivers and fields littered with unburied soldiers. Included in the book is a recounting of little Louisa’s death.
According to history, little Louisa died of teething when seven of her teeth came in at once. She was just a year old. Obviously, they didn’t have Baby Orajel back then, but I squirmed uncomfortably at a description of the lancing of the baby’s gums before she died. And, I wondered: Can babies actually die from teething? I’ve seen this cause of death before in my own family tree.
Admittedly, teething is no picnic for mom or baby. It involves a lot of drool and tears. But, again, can it be fatal?
Hippocrates himself – physicians take his oath to this day – linked teething to convulsions, fever and loose bowels. Queen Anne’s personal physician believed infants had a 10% chance of dying from teething. Anne, it should be noted, was pregnant 17 times and outlived all of her children.
My point is parents used to be terrified that their infants would die from teething.
Nowadays, doctors scratch their heads at the fear over cutting a tooth. Some have suggested historic babies actually died from SIDS. That wouldn’t have been the case for little Louisa, who suffered for days before dying. There was nothing sudden about her death.
The likeliest explanation is that the teething caused a high fever that just couldn’t be controlled in those days or that the death was coincidental to the teething. Be thankful for antibiotics.
Did you know that Louisiana offers an online, digital library with “more than 144,000 digital items from Louisiana archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories, making unique historical treasure accessible to students, researchers, and the general public in Louisiana and across the globe?”
The library draws on a number of other archives: the Louisiana State Museum, state universities, Vermilionville Living History Museum (a must if you’re ever in Acadiana), etc.
Some of it is interesting. Some of it is not, at least to me. But some of it gets more interesting than you’d at first think.
I took a dive into the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting to be enthused. But I found a yellow fever collection that intrigued me. Everything you’d want to know about yellow fever is in there.
Buried in the collection is a report on New Orleans yellow fever deaths in 1878.
Nicholls has a collection on veterans of Southeast Louisiana.
The university interviewed local veterans and collected photographs and stories from them. The interviews were videotaped. You can look through the gallery of photos online.
LSU-Shreveport has collected photos of the Strand Theater in downtown Shreveport. This is a grand theater that hosts movies and plays. My parents took me to see “Singin In the Rain” there when I was a kid. It was a special screening (I’m not that old!), and I was so struck by the palace-style movie theater that it was hard to watch the movie itself! Howard Hughes once holed up in a hotel just around the corner from the Strand when he was staying in Shreveport for a bit.
The Louisiana State Museum collection doesn’t disappoint. It has amassed a treasure trove of materials, including photographs and oral histories.
Just of the museum’s collection is a series of house photos. You’ll find residences that no longer stand.