Archive for December, 2008

Antal Vállas and Family Papers

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Vallas Family Papers

An exhibition of facsimiles created from original manuscript items in the Antal Vállas and Family Papers is now on display in the Reading Room at Hill Memorial Library.

Antal Vállas was born on May 18, 1809 in Pest, Hungary, the present-day city of Budapest. Throughout his teaching and professional career in Hungary, Vállas published several works on mathematics and geography. After the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and the Habsburgs subsequently regaining power in 1850, Vállas was fired from his teaching post at the Royal University of Pest and decided to leave the country. After a brief stint in Nicaragua, he moved his family to New Orleans. In 1859, he became the first professor elected to the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning in order to teach mathematics and natural philosophy. When Superintendent William T. Sherman resigned in 1861, Vállas briefly took over the position. After leaving his teaching position in 1863, Vállas worked as an Episcopalian minister in New Orleans. He died on July 20, 1869. Vállas’ descendents remained in New Orleans.

The collection consists of correspondence, printed items, personal papers and photographs related to the personal and professional life of Vállas and his descendents. It contains items in English, Hungarian, German, Latin, French and Spanish. One of the major themes within the collection is the continued contact between the Vállas family and their relatives in Hungary.

Image from collection: Postcard from family member living in Banska Bystrica, Czechoslovakia.

Gazing skyward, to heaven

Monday, December 1st, 2008

images from upcoming exhibitions

“Audubon at Oakley: Louisiana Selections from Birds of America” and “The Pathway of Promise: 1500 Years of Religious Texts and Moral Guidebooks” open on December 1, 2008 and run through February 28, 2009. Each exhibition showcases treasures from our holdings, including John James Audubon’s original pencil sketch studies and a variety of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious texts from the Middle Ages to the present.

While the two exhibitions focus on very different subjects, both examine devotion to and exploration of the natural and spiritual world. Each, in its own way, invites us to gaze skyward, to heaven.

For more information, visit


Detail from Noah and the Flood, Biblia de San Luis, 13th century
Detail from Carolina Parrot, plate 26, Birds of America folio edition

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