Dillard University Library

Archives & Special Collections

Library Archives and Special Collections

June 9, 2020

The Will W. Alexander Library of Dillard University highlights Dean Irby, an alum and former member of the Afro-American Students For Progress. Through this organization, Mr. Irby and his fellows sought to expose African Americans to the various aspects of the diaspora to better understand its diversity. Mr. Irby was instrumental in planning various events for the organization, protest, and community engagement. He was also a devout member of the university’s Drama Guild.

For more information, please contact the library at: dulibrary@dillard.edu

or our Archivist, Mr. John Kennedy, at: jkennedy@dillard.edu


HBCU Libraries


The HBCU Library Alliance works to transform and strengthen its membership by developing leaders, preserving collections and planning for the future.


Transforming for Tomorrow while Preserving the Past.

About Us

The HBCU Library Alliance is a consortium that supports the collaboration of information professionals dedicated to providing an array of resources designed to strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their constituents.

Using the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Using Archives for Research Videos


Archival Research Tips

Connecting Archival Research and the Classroom


How Do I Find Archival Material? Basic searching in ArchivesSpace

Archival Research Websites

The Value of Archive Content in Academic Research


Tools to Change Our World_Chapter 7 Section 7 Collecting and Using Archival Data

Collecting and Using Archival Data

How to Use Secondary Data and Archival Material

Use secondary data & archival material

Smithsonian NMAAHC Visit to the Dillard University Library and Archives

with DU Prof. Zella Palmer,

DU Archivist John Kennedy and

DU Historian Malik Bartholomew_02212020

DU FYS 101 Class in Library ILI Classroom: History of Dillard University

with Malik Bartholomew, John Kennedy and Beverly Harris_101519

John Kennedy, DU Archivist and Malik Bartholomew, DU Historian,

Conducting Archives Session with UNO’s Black Health Care History Class_100219

DU Library and Archives Host SOAR Week #DU2023_081519 


DU Counseling Services Presentation by Ms. Sherile S. Watts LPC, Division of DU Student Success, to Cynthia Charles FYS 101 Class in the DU Library_090319  

Chronicle: Dillard University Celebrating 150 Years and Beyond

Featuring John Kennedy, DU Archivist, and Malik Bartholomew, DU Historian



Dillard University Celebrates 150 Years

Hosted by WDSU News Anchor, Christina Watkins, the hour-long special explores the rich history of Dillard University. Known as “The Jewel of Gentilly,” Dillard is one of the country’s oldest HBCUs and a staple of New Orleans for 150 years.

Through exclusive interviews with administrators, educators and alumni, WDSU News’ special presentation, Chronicle: Dillard Celebrating 150 Years and Beyond, takes an in-depth look at the university’s very beginnings, its greatest triumph to return after Katrina, and how its alumni are impacting our region, state, country and beyond.

“Dillard University is a cornerstone of New Orleans and an inspiration for education,” said WDSU President and General Manager Joel Vilmenay. “Built to provide African Americans with opportunities to grow, Dillard’s mission remains as relevant today as when it began and WDSU is proud to join in their celebration of 150 years of excellence.”

DU Library Archivist, John Kennedy, on Fair Dillard’s

YouTube Channel Sharing #DU150 Facts

Click Here to Learn More About Our Brief History of Dillard University

Social Media





Dillard University Publications

Dillard Today University Newsroom

Photo: The Henson Artifacts are the snowshoes, parka and sealskin boots

worn by Matthew Henson on his voyage to the North Pole in 1909. 

Matthew Alexander Henson (August 8, 1866 – March 9, 1955) was the first African-American Arctic explorer, an associate of Robert Peary on seven voyages over a period of nearly 23 years. They made six voyages and spent a total of 18 years in expeditions. Henson served as a navigator and craftsman, traded with Inuit and learned their language, and was known as Peary’s “first man” for these arduous travels.


The mission of the Archives and Special Collections is to support the University in all endeavors of producing a quality educational experience. As the repository for primary documents and artifacts of enduring value to the University, we are to preserve and protect all materials under the archives care and supervision. We are to provide regulated and efficient access to materials for the University community and researchers. To that end, we:

  • Select, purchase, organize and maintain a quality archive and special collections
  • Anticipate information needs in an increasingly global society
  • Build and develop collections and provide access to information resources in support of teaching, research and services
  • Ensure the long-term preservation, availability, and access to these resources
  • Provide physical environments conducive for study, research, and inquiry
  • Encourage, develop, and sustain in its staff the requisite knowledge, skills, commitment and innovative spirit


  • ALL patrons requesting service MUST provide institutional or state ID. Failure to provide proper identification will result in denial of archival access.
  • The use of ink pens or markers is prohibited. A pencil can be provided.
  • No food or drinks allowed unless properly sealed. Eating, drinking, and gum chewing are prohibited.
  • Researchers may be required to wear gloves at the archivist’s discretion.
  • Photography is prohibited without permission from the archivist.


Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

***Closed weekends and holidays***

The Archives are available by appointment. It is recommended that visitors call or email for an appointment.



Mr. John Kennedy, Archivist

Phone: (504) 816-4960

Main Desk: (504) 816-4786

Email: jkennedy@dillard.edu

Email: archives@dillard.edu

Pygmy’s head 1963 (African mahogany) 

Carved in one piece from a mahogany tree felled in Kinshasa, Zaire (formerly called Leopoldville, Congo) in West Africa. The sculptor (nicknamed “the Frog,” because he moves around by sliding on his hindquarters due to his under-developed legs) along with the male members of his immediate family, hacked out this superb carving of a pygmy’s head, face, and neck using only their native axes, crude chisels, machetes, and hand-made knives.  All finishing was done without sandpaper, paid stain, varnish or shellac. Select stones serve as abrasives and the only polish used was a can of brown shoe polish. It was carved in 1963. Most of the carving and finishing work was done in a quarter of Kinshasa named Cite Sector.

Donated to the Dillard University Library by:  Preston and Rosa Edwards

December 2017

Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook, Dillard University President 1974-1997

Founders’ Day Exhibit in the Dillard University Library

October 22, 2017 

Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook led Dillard University for 23 years. Within those years, Dr. Cook exemplified a nurturing spirit that sought to help Dillard University’s students excel in academic excellence and appreciation for culture. More information about Dr. Cook can be found here

In honor of the Dillard University Golden Graduates of 1968, our Archivist, Mr. John Kennedy, created these awesome panels of pictures! Please visit the DU Alumni House to view the panels in person! 

The History Makers

By recording, preserving and sharing the life stories of thousands of African Americans, from President Barack Obama to the oldest living black cowboy, The HistoryMakers is a leader in helping to educate and enlighten millions worldwide through refashioning a more inclusive record of American history.

SLA Academic Division

Special Collections LibGuides: An Analysis of Uses and Accessibility

Jacquelyn Slater Reese, Cheryl McCain



Content management systems (CMS) such as SpringShare’s LibGuides have become a popular method of creating online pathfinders or subject guides. At the same time, special collections have explored new digital ways to reach their users. Ease of access and simple navigation are key to reaching all types of users. Special collections have explored different ways to use a traditional subject guide system to meet their unique needs. This article investigates the navigation pathway to special collections LibGuides at Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) member institutions and analyzes the different ways special collections are using this tool.


special collections; LibGuides; outreach; online guides; accessibility

DU Library Archives List of Special Collections

  • Will W. Alexander Papers – William Winton Alexander was a pivotal figure in race relations and poverty support. He was a key component to the founding of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation in 1919. Alexander also headed the Farm Security Administration from 1937 to 1940 and then became vice-president of the Rosenwald Fund from 1940 to 1948. Throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s, he worked with the Edgar Stern Family Fund and in international relations. He also served as acting President of Dillard University from 1935-36. This collection is made up of three series containing Mr. Alexander’s works: writings, speeches, addresses, lectures, reports, and administrative records. Its extent is 2.5 linear ft.
  • Clara Blanchet Collection – This collection contains three series. These series are important due to Straight University’s significance amongst African Americans, and what they would eventually accomplish due to a new education. Series are primarily comprised of materials centered on Straight University: Straight University photographs, programs, booklets, catalogs, student information, and meeting minutes. Extent is .5 linear foot.
  • Cook Family Collection – Cook’s experiences includes teaching positions at Atlanta University, Duke University, and UCLA. Between 1953 and 1955, Cook served as Social Sciences Specialist to the U.S. Army. In 1975, Dr. Cook became President of Dillard University. At Dillard, Cook was responsible for increasing enrollment, instituting a Japanese Studies program and a Center for Black Jewish Relations. His writings include articles on Martin Luther King Jr. and the black revolution and political movements in the South. Cook’s affiliations included the Southern Political Science Association, editorial board of the Journal of Negro History and Pi Sigma Alpha. This collection is composed of nine series which subjects include: photographs, programs, newspaper clippings, monograph and serial publications and writings. Extent is 1 linear foot.
  • David J. Malarcher Collection – A student of New Orleans University, Malarcher would begin his famed baseball career. Malarcher baseball career is varied over a few years with multiple teams, which included: Indianapolis ABCs, Detroit Stars and the Chicago American Giants. Within nine years leading the American Giants, Malarcher saw six playoff appearances, and two Negro League World Series championships. This collection gives a better insight into Mr. Malarcher’s poetic talents not just his baseball career. It is comprised of five series that include: poems, player contracts, correspondence, photographs, and articles. Extent is .5 linear foot.
  • Dent Family Collection – The Dent Family collection contains extensive material on Albert W. Dent, Jessie Covington Dent, and their son, Tom Dent. For six years Mr. Dent worked as superintendent of Flint-Goodridge Hospital, as well as, business manager for Dillard University. From 1941 – 1969, Albert Dent was Dillard University’s President. Tom Dent is a noteworthy Freedom Writer, where his writing began while working for the Houston Informer and the New York Age. He became a public information worker for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1961. Heavy involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and the significance of its struggle was reflected greatly within Tom’s writings. The Dent Family Collection contains three series, each dedicated to the respected Dents. The details of the collection consist of: school publications, writings and addresses, programs, correspondence, collected articles, collected publications, dedications, newspaper clippings, and flyers. The extent is 1 linear foot.
  • Lucile L. Hutton Collection – Hutton is a product of Straight College’s Normal Department. She taught in the New Orleans Public Schools immediately after her graduation. Ms. Hutton was a very versatile individual, earning a Music degree from Oberlin and a Master’s in Music from Northwestern University. Her collection is composed of three series made up of: programs, constitutions and by-laws, publications and correspondence. The highlight of the collection include an 1895 copy of Alice Ruth Moore’s Violets and Other Tales with handwritten notes on the author by Ms. Hutton and a history of the United Church of Christ. Extent is .5 linear foot.
  • George E. Haynes Collection – George E. Haynes was a devoted sociologist, race relations expert, and Urban League founder. The collection consists of seven series mostly:  writings produced in the 1930s and 1940s, awards, biographical information, correspondence, and a collection of writings by W. Montague Cobb’s (the First African American to receive a Ph.D. in Anthropology). Extent is 1 linear foot.
  • Gilbert D. Fletcher Collection – Mr. Fletcher is a Dillard University graduate, whom over time organized art activities for preschool children as a teacher and was an art editor for R. R. Bowker Company in New York. Mr. Fletcher’s paintings have appeared in published poems. The collection contains works ranging from the 1970s to the 1980s. The collection is composed of seven series featuring: announcements, invitations and programs, awards, as well as correspondence. The extent of the collection is 1 linear foot.
  • James Hardy Dillard Collection – Mr. Dent is the philanthropist whom Dillard University is named after. While working with the New Orleans Public Library, Child Welfare Association, and the Louisiana State Board of Education, Mr. Dillard was able to drastically improve race relations and education opportunities for African Americans. He was the first president and director of the Negro Rural School Fund. The collection is comprised of Mr. Dillard’s own materials and materials written about him. This is a five series collection composed of: articles, addresses, and a report of the Phelps-Strokes Fund (A non-profit fund catering to African and African American causes), photographs, newspaper clippings and biographical information. The extent is 1 linear foot.
  • Stern Family Collection –  A philanthropist and business man, who was made planning chairman of a drive to raise funds to merge two African American schools , Straight College and New Orleans University, which gave birth to Dillard University. He became the first president of its board. The Stern Collection is composed of six series: materials regarding Stern and his wife, letters, correspondence, articles, programs, memos, photographs, sound recordings, a catalog of the Longview Foundation’s Arts Program, newspaper clippings, a copy of, “A Survey for the Educational Facilities” and resources of Orleans Parish, a picture album of President Johnson and his family. The extent is 1 linear foot.
  • George Longe Collection – George Longe was an educator and one who devoted himself to community service in New Orleans. He served as a principal for many New Orleans schools and was involved greatly in New Orleans’ groups focused on racial and community improvement. The collection is arranged into three series featuring: public school materials, organizations, associations, photos, booklets, and requisitions. The extent is 1.5 linear feet.
  • Sylvia Fannie Murray Collection – This collection provides a window into an active young woman’s life. She participated in school events, community social clubs and Carnival. The collection is composed of four series containing: programs, calendars, invitations, photographs, newsletters, news clippings, cards, poems, and a painting. The extent is .5 linear foot.
  • McPherson Freedom Collection – The collection mainly consists of abolitionist literature spanning from 1769 to 1864. Highlights of the collection include pamphlets published by the Loyal Publication Society, minutes of the proceedings of abolition societies and an original letter to Thomas W. Higginson, co-organizer of the 1857 Disunion Convention. The extent of the collection is .5 linear foot.
  • Julius Rosenwald Fund Collection – This focuses on a fund established by philanthropist Julius Rosenwald in 1917. This fund provided an incredible financial contribution toward improvements in African American health, education, and welfare. It was concentrated in the South where it developed education initiatives for African Americans, schools, libraries, and improvements in race relations. The collection is made of four series containing: publications, reports, agendas, correspondence, articles, poems, and a memorandum. The extent is 1.5 linear feet.
  • The Straight College Collection – Straight College was founded as Straight University in 1868, a predecessor to Dillard University, where it served as a symbol of African American advancement in the South, and throughout the post-Civil War era. It offered studies in elementary level education to college level, music, law, and Normal classes. The Straight College Collection is comprised of seven series featuring: university publications, programs, scrapbooks, photographs and diplomas. The extent of the collection is 7 linear feet.
  • New Orleans University Collection – New Orleans University began operation in 1873. Like Straight College, New Orleans University serves as a symbol of African American advancement and higher education during a time African Americans were seeking to become literate. New Orleans University merged with Straight College, and formed Dillard University.  The New Orleans University Collection consists of five series featuring: university publications, programs, photographs, and diplomas. The extent of the collection is 2.5 linear feet.
  • Gilbert Academy Collection – Gilbert Academy received its name from William L. Gilbert, a farmer and businessman who contributed to the education and welfare of African Americans in the South. Gilbert Academy began with the Colored Orphan’s Home located on plantation lands of Bayou Teche, which was established by the Freedman’s Bureau. The orphanage housed orphan children of African American Union Soldiers. Gilbert Academy is the culmination of this orphanage and a preparatory school called La Teche Seminary. From 1935 to 1949, the Academy served as a diverse co-ed private high school for African Americans in New Orleans. The Academy was reinstated in 2000, as Dillard University past President Michael Lomax sought to create a summer enrichment programs for high school students seeking a college education. The extent of the collection is 1.5 linear feet.