The oldest organization of its kind in the state, the Louisiana Historical Society has been dedicated to promoting Louisiana’s history for nearly two hundred years.
The Louisiana Historical Society (LHS) was first chartered in 1836 and officially recognized by the State of Louisiana in 1848.¹ From that time until the Louisiana State Museum was established in 1906, LHS served as the caretakers of the state’s colonial records.² During its period of stewardship, the society amassed thousands of historic documents, prints, paintings, and other objects that became the core of the museum’s collections when it opened in the Cabildo on Jackson Square in 1911.³ LHS has been headquartered in New Orleans since 1877.4
In 1895, LHS began publishing the works of its members in an annual series entitled Publications of the Louisiana Historical Society.5 In 1917, this series grew into the Louisiana Historical Quarterly, a quarterly journal that has become an exceptional resource for researchers of colonial and nineteenth-century New Orleans and its environs. In addition to scholarly articles by such notable local historians as Grace Elizabeth King and Alcée Fortier, the journal's archives also include translations of colonial documents such as court cases and marriage contracts by translator Heloise Hulse Cruzat and others, abstracts and indexes of various collections at the Louisiana State Museum and related archives throughout the country, annotated letters of illustrious figures, histories of early New Orleans families, and transcriptions of estate inventories and colonial land grants.6 The last issue of the Louisiana Historical Quarterly was published in 1972. A complete set of digitized issues is available to society members on LHS’s website.
Today, LHS remains active in the promotion of Louisiana history through events such as monthly lectures and symposia, guided overnight tours to historic sites, and annual commemorations of the Battle of New Orleans and the Louisiana Purchase.7 Its website also offers a helpful list of resources for historical research in New Orleans.8
1. Howard Hunter, “About the Louisiana Historical Society.”
4. John Dymond, ed., “Introduction,” Louisiana Historical Quarterly 1 no. 1 (January 1917): 7
5. Louisiana Historical Society, Publications of the Louisiana Historical Society 1-10 (1895–1917).
6. Boyd Cruise, Index to the Louisiana Historical Quarterly (New Orleans: Plantation Book Shop, 1956).
7. Louisiana Historical Society, “Membership.”
8. Louisiana Historical Society, “Resources for Research in New Orleans.”
Suggestions for Additional Reading and Research
Louisiana Historical Society Records, 1877–1997. Louisiana Research Collection, Tulane University.
Owen, Kenneth E. Cumulative Index to the Louisiana Historical Quarterly: Volumes XXXIV to LV. New Orleans: Louisiana Historical Society, 1974.
Ruff, Verda Jenkins. The Cabildo Records of New Orleans, 1769–1785: An Index to Abstracts in the Louisiana Historical Quarterly. 2nd ed. Ville Platte, LA: Provincial Press, 1997.