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Music Ephemera: Ephemera

A guide to music ephemera in the Louisiana Collection.

Ephemera Examples

Concert program, New Orleans Summer “Pop” Concert, July 25, 1946. Signed by Sidney Foster (pianist).


Directory of the Louisiana Federation of Music Clubs, 1976-1977


Concert program, New Orleans Choral-Symphony Society, February 14, 1906.


“Why We Should Restore the New Orleans French Opera House”, issued in 1938 by the Tourist Division, Department of Commerce and Industry, State of Louisiana.

What is ephemera and why should you use it?

Our library preserves an outstanding collection of Louisiana theatre and dance ephemera extending from around 1810 to the present.

Ephemera are small printed items such as pamphlets, brochures, flyers, posters, invitations, and tickets. Such small publications are called "ephemera" because they are often meant to be read and then discarded, and thus have a short, or "ephemeral," lifespan. An ephemera collection is commonly called "vertical files" because the items are often stored in upright filing cabinets.

Our library’s theatre ephemera collection preserves not only information about performances but also:

  • theatre organizations
  • film festivals
  • dance organizations, societies, and clubs
  • dance fairs and festivals
  • dance schools
  • burlesque, strip tease, and other entertainment at bars and nightclubs
  • acting schools
  • theatre awards
  • dinner theatres
  • cabarets
  • Cajun dance
  • children and youth theatre
  • drama clubs
  • casting calls
  • drag shows
  • vaudeville
  • opera

and much more.

What can you use theatre and dance ephemera for?

These kinds of important, often overlooked, and sometimes quite rare documents can preserve an almost infinite range of scholarly information, such as:

  • Clues to the cultural context, history, politics, and economics of theater  and dance in New Orleans.
  • Photos and biographical sketches of actors, producers, playwrights, dancers and choreographers.
  • Images of New Orleans theatres that no longer exist.
  • When, where, and which plays were produced in New Orleans.
  • Which noted actors, directors, dancers, and choreographers worked in the city, when they were here, and the projects they worked on.
  • Dance and theatre ephemera can help researchers profile how the public’s taste in theatre changed over time.
  • It can help researchers better understand how and when artistic styles and influences filtered into New Orleans.

LaRC Ephemera Collection

Tulane's Louisiana Research Collection is located on the second floor of Jones Hall, across the street from Howard-Tilton Library.

Phone: 504-865-5685

Additional University Resources

Tulane University also has a number of repositories housing archival music materials. In our various archives you will find first edition scores and books about music, original photographs, rare recordings, and primary documents written by and about musical people and places.