How Women Shaped the History of New Orleans

Hermann-Grima Gallier House

JLN Customary Signature (1).jpg

Your friend, Jo. L Newcomb: Letters of a Woman Who Built Her Own Unusual Life and Also a College for Women in New Orleans

More than anything, Josephine Louise Newcomb wanted to memorialize the life of her daughter, Sophie. She did so in founding of Newcomb College as a coordinate college of Tulane in 1886.  By this time, Jo. L was sixty years old, and had lived most of her life in a series of hotels and in the homes of friends and family. She would continue to live this way until her death in 1901. 

What did she learn from the places she stayed, the people she visited, the people with whom she corresponded?  Reading through more than one hundred letters, most never before studied, Beth Willinger and Susan Tucker have come to see her as part of a wide circle of people interested in education, yet insulated by her own fears and distrust.  For our Gallier Gathering, Willinger and Tucker will discuss Jo. L Newcomb’s letters. Their discussion adds to their work as editors of Newcomb College, 1886-2006.

Susan Tucker is an archival consultant specializing in the manuscripts and private records of families. Between 1985 and 2015, she oversaw the Newcomb Archives and the Vorhoff Library at Tulane University. There she was best known for work on the papers of Newcomb Pottery, scrapbooks, and oral history projects. Among her publications are Telling Memories Among Southern Women, The Scrapbook in AmericanCulture (with Katherine Ott and Patrician Buckler) and City of Remembering

Beth Willinger is a sociologist, feminist scholar, and retired executive director of the Newcomb Center for Research on Women at Tulane University. Her research has focused largely on Louisiana women’s political, economic and educational status. She has published and lectured widely on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the women of New Orleans, gender inequality in the state, and the social history of 19th and 20th century women, with a particular interest in housing for single women.


A lecture by Mary Gehman, author of the first popular book on the history of women in New Orleans.

New Orleans writer, historian and researcher. Mary Gehman was the founder of the publishing company Margaret Media, Inc.  The company was named in honor of 19th century philanthropist Margaret Haughery for whom the first statue of a woman in the U.S. was erected in New Orleans in 1884.

Gehman used it to publish the latter editions of a women’s monthly newspaper Distaff which she helped to found and edit intermittently from 1972 to 1981. In 1988 she published her book Women and New Orleans: A History through Margaret Media, followed by The Free People of Color of New Orleans: An Introduction in 1994 and Touring Louisiana’s Great River Road in 2003.

In 2017, Mary formed Dville Press. Dville Press LLC is located in Donaldsonville, Louisiana to promote local authors and artists.

About the Exhibit

Wednesday, June 13
5:30 - 7:00
Admissions: $10
Gallier Hall, 1132 Royal Street

Click here for more information.


Previous    /    Next