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Guide to the New Orleans Collection
1770-1904 (bulk 1804-1836)
  MS 1944

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Melissa Haley

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 02, 2011
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The New Orleans Collection documents the expansion, maintenance, and administration of the city during the antebellum period, especially 1804-1836. The bulk of the collection is in French; items are also in English, and, occasionally, Spanish. Included in the New Orleans Collection are numerous contracts and surveyor reports that detail the construction and repair needs of bridges, streets, levees, canals, sidewalks, and buildings in the Vieux Carre, Faubourgs Marigny and St. Mary, and Bayou St. John. Financial documents for city accounts, such as bills, receipts, and promissory notes, further itemize construction work completed and materials used.

Also included in this collection are petitions, reports, and financial documents of the Spanish Cabildo; letters and petitions to the mayor and the City Council; City Council resolutions; payroll records for city workers; levee dues records, cargo manifests, and bills of lading; license bonds; tax receipts and reports; property and land records; depositions given before the mayor; Garde de Ville and commissary reports; fire company rosters; medical reports; and correspondence. Many of these items are contemporary copies.

This collection supports research in the history of New Orleans, particularly in the physical expansion and maintenance of the antebellum city, and in the regulation of public life and work. As the majority of material is municipal, few items are personal in nature. However, citizens' private concerns and activities are expressed in letters and petitions to the mayor and City Council, in depositions given before the mayor, and in reports of the Garde de Ville. Items relating to the yellow fever outbreak of 1817, hospital administration, and the Board of Health can be found among the letters and petitions to the mayor and City Council, and in a small series of medical reports.

Few items in the New Orleans Collection deal directly with slavery or free persons of color, with social or religious organizations, or with military activities.


The New Orleans Collection is organized into nineteen series:

  1. Series I. Cabildo Records, 1770-1819, undated
  2. Series II. Mayoral Records, 1804-1854
  3. Series III. City Council Records, 1805-1858, undated
  4. Series IV. Public Works Records, 1804-1861 (bulk 1820s)
  5. Series V. Shipping Records, 1802-1875, undated
  6. Series VI. License Bonds, 1816-1861 (bulk 1836)
  7. Series VII. Financial Records, 1803-1883 (bulk 1820s)
  8. Series VIII. Property Records, 1807-1888
  9. Series IX. Legal Records, 1807-1868
  10. Series X. Police Department Reports, 1808-1825
  11. Series XI. Fire Department Rosters, 1861-1862 (bulk Oct. 1862)
  12. Series XII. Medical Reports, 1813, 1817, 1830
  13. Series XIII. Correspondence, 1805-1879, 1904
  14. Series XIV. Freemason Documents, 1868
  15. Series XV. Education Records: Invoices for School Books, 1841, 1848
  16. Series XVI. Poetry, undated
  17. Series XVII. Military Certificate, 1859
  18. Series XVIII. Railroad Images, undated
  19. Series XIX. Fragments, undated