Melissa Smith has joined LSU Libraries faculty as Assistant Curator of Manuscripts for Special Collections. Smith has worked as a Processing Archivist beginning with her first internship at Historic New Orleans Collection in the mid-1990s and professionally for the past fifteen years, starting with her position at the Louisiana Research Center at Tulane University’s Special Collections. Since her time at Tulane, Smith has also worked for Amistad Research Center and the Louisiana State Museum.
Smith’s position includes acquiring donations of papers, records, and collections for Special Collections. She hopes to enhance some of the collections already in Special Collections, mainly from the 19th century, and to bring in more contemporary 20th and 21st century collections, centering on civil rights and social justice, along with environmental organizations.
Smith’s decision to come work for LSU was influenced by the reputation of the manuscripts department at LSU Libraries. She explains, “The manuscripts department at LSU Libraries is considered one of the finest collections in the south, and I’m thrilled that I have the opportunity to work with it.”
A New Orleans native, Smith grew up in St. Tammany Parish where she also now makes her home with her 13-year old son, three cats, and a dog. She received her Bachelor of the Arts in history from Loyola University of New Orleans with a focus in Louisiana history and women’s history. She received her Master of the Arts in history from the University of New Orleans with a focus on New Orleans history and African American history, specializing in African American education in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century.
Smith is a huge Saints fan and in the past wrote for the football blogging site, www.chicksinthehuddle.com that was cross-published in the Huffington Post and Fox Sports. She also sits as a regular guest for the Saints News Network. Smith is the author of Historic Photos of New Orleans (Turner Publishing, 2007), Remembering New Orleans (Turner Publishing, 2010), and recently contributed chapters to a series on Mardi Gras Indians published by the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame.