In 2001, THNOC acquired the largest private collection of Tennessee Williams materials anywhere in the world from collector Fred Todd. In addition to the many typescripts and manuscripts of works such as A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie, there are dozens of playbills, as well as signed first editions of Williams’ plays and other works, unpublished letters, a myriad books about Williams, translations of his work, film scripts, and photos of Williams with friends and associates. The more rare items include notes on the filming of The Rose Tattoo, an operatic version of Summer and Smoke, a play-script for a western, a prose-poem to lover Frank Merlo, and numerous promotional materials and memorabilia from Baby Doll, including the film script with notes from director Elia Kazan and some of Williams’ own financial records. Additionally, the Historic New Orleans Collection publishes the Tennessee Williams Annual Review, the only regularly published journal devoted exclusively to the works of Tennessee Williams. It is available in print and electronically.:
William Russell Jazz Collection:
The William Russell Jazz Collection is an extensive collection of jazz memorabilia including musical instruments, records, piano rolls, sheet music, photographs, books and periodicals. It traces the development of jazz in New Orleans and follows the movement of musicians to New York City, Chicago, California and beyond. It encompasses notes from Mr. Russell’s research, audiotapes, programs, posters, correspondence, films, business cards, notes, clippings, and scrapbooks. Large portions of the collection focus on the lives of Manuel Fess Manetta, Bunk Johnson, and Jelly Roll Morton. The collection also features materials on brass bands, ragtime, gospel music, and William Russell’s own compositions.
William C. Cook War of 1812 in the South Collection:
The William C. Cook collection focuses on the War of 1812 in the South, particularly the Creek War, the war in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Battle of New Orleans. Major General Andrew Jackson, military commander during these events, is well represented, and the collection also includes various important U.S. Army and militia documents, as well as materials concerning the participation of the southern Indian tribes and manuscripts from the British perspective. Also present are related materials concerning the War of 1812 in the South from a later date, the largest single grouping of which contains campaign materials from the 1828 presidential election. These principally focus on the 1815 execution of the six militia men that were most dramatically executed in the infamous Coffin broadsides.
Clarence John Laughlin Collection:
THNOC also maintains the substantial Clarence John Laughlin collection, which contains film negatives, transparencies, photographs and prints spanning the decades from the 1930s to the 1980s, taken both by and of Laughlin. The collection documents Laughlin's life and work throughout both New Orleans and the world.
Germans in New Orleans:
The Williams Research Center contains an abundance of materials relating to New Orleans' German settlers, organizations, music, businesses, and rural German enclaves. The collection includes an assortment of prints, photographs, postcards, letterheads, maps, sheet music and other objects. The J. Hanno Deiler Papers contain hand-written and typescript drafts of the historian’s major books, articles, and speeches, as well as a number of genealogies of Louisiana-German families.
Sugar Bowl archives:
Prior to 2007 the Sugar Bowl maintained its archives at the Louisiana Superdome. However, the Superdome was damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and though the archives were undamaged, the Bowl decided the archives needed a more suitable home, and thus donated the materials to the Collection.