C-SPAN’s Local Content Vehicles stopped in at LSU Libraries Special Collections in early December to film segments for C-SPAN2 BookTV with Interim Assistant Dean of Libraries Elaine Smyth and Interim Head of Special Collections Tara Laver. The pieces aired December 31st and January 1st and are now available online.
Smyth highlighted the book Nouveau Voyage aux Isles de l’Amerique, a two volume description of the people, animals, and plants of the Caribbean written by Dominican friar Jean Baptiste Labat in the 1790s. What makes our copy noteworthy is its characterization as “The Bloody Book,” a moniker that comes from rust-colored stains on some of the pages that are purported to be the blood of French revolutionary Jean Paul Marat. The book is alleged to have been in Marat’s room when he was stabbed to death by Charlotte Corday, a member of an opposing faction. Hear the full story in the video.
Laver chose to feature the William C. C. Claiborne letter book. President Thomas Jefferson appointed Claiborne to receive Louisiana from France at the formal transfer of power in New Orleans, after the Louisiana Purchase. Claiborne subsequently served as governor of the territory (1803-1812) and state (1812-1816). The volume contains his outgoing correspondence to Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison, and officials in New Orleans and around Louisiana, from 1804 to 1805. His letters detail and illustrate the challenges he faced as he tried to establish American authority among a population with political and cultural loyalties divided among France, Spain, and the U.S.
C-SPAN filmed several other features on Louisiana history and culture during their stay in Baton Rouge. Check them out!