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Cammie G. Henry Research Center: Welcome!

Third Floor, Watson Memorial Library
8 am - 5 pm Monday-Thursday

The Cammie G. Henry Research Center is open to researchers anytime during the hours listed above. We do recommend that researchers contact our staff to set an appointment and ask for any additional accommodation or assistance before traveling to the Center.

For research questions, tours, or to make an appointment, call the Center at 318-357-4585. 

Donna J. Baker 
University Archivist and Records Officer

Sara Rebstock 
Archives Assistant

Cammie G. Henry

A picture of Cammie G. Henry

“Some day – some one will hunt history in these very old materials C.G.H” note by Cammie G. Henry in a Melrose Scrapbook

Collection Overview

The Research Center is named after Carmelite "Cammie" Garrett Henry (1871-1948) of Melrose, Louisiana who collected Louisiana documents and books of rare fictional and non-fictional works. Here you'll find Louisiana books, rare books, archival materials, NSU Archives, microfilm, maps, newspapers, and oral history tapes.

Melrose Plantation, the Henry Family home, provided a perfect setting for entertaining guests from diversified intellectual disciplines including literature, art, and the social sciences.

After the sale of Cammie G. Henry's home, her manuscript collection was donated to Northwestern State University and named the Melrose Collection. This collection, our largest, serves as the core of the Research Center's holdings. It focuses on the rich cultural, historical, and literary heritage of Louisiana and Natchitoches spanning from French Colonial times through the 1940's.

Other collections sharing similar strengths include those of James Aswell, the Cloutier Family, Robert DeBlieux, Caroline Dormon, Joe Dellmon, the Egan Family, and the Federal Writers' Project.  Our resources offer a wealth of opportunities for scholars. Focusing on Louisiana History, documents range in date from the founding of Natchitoches in the early 1700's to the present.

The Melrose Imaging Project digitizes images from these collections for easier access and preservation.  Electronically imaging the Melrose Collection allows computer access to documents related to the region's history and also preserves the originals.

Subject Guide

Mission Statement

Statement of Purpose

The Cammie G. Henry Research Center (CGHRC) is an integrated research collection within the Special Collection division of the Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSULA) Libraries.  The primary mission of the NSULA Libraries is to serve the teaching, research, and public service needs of NSULA and the scholarly community.  The role of the CGHRC in accomplishing this mission is to collect, preserve, and make available for research manuscripts and published materials relating primarily to the history and culture of the original boundaries of Natchitoches that was founded 1714 by the French. The area encompasses the French and Spanish Colonial Territorial eras, the Louisiana Purchase by the United States in 1803, Natchitoches County (created in 1805), and Natchitoches Parish (created 1807). The period boundaries are described in the Historical Records Survey Division of Professional and Service Projects Work Projects, County-Parish Boundaries in Louisiana, New Orleans, the Department of Archives, Louisiana State University, 1939, pp. 127-128.  Beyond the period boundaries, the CGHRC continues to collect materials relating to the parishes of Sabine, Winn, Grant, and Red River.  It also collects published materials that compliment and support the study of the manuscripts collections and Louisiana.



Materials that are collected and made available will further the research of NSULA faculty, staff, students, Louisianans, and visiting scholars in the history and culture of Louisiana, NSULA, the materials collected by Cammie G. Henry, and materials relating to Natchitoches Parish and surrounding areas.  In order to support all levels of research, the CGHRC shall seek to provide comprehensive resources on the history and culture of Louisiana and the achievements of her people as well as materials that build on current strengths in documenting the Natchitoches Parish area including Louisiana, southern Arkansas, eastern Texas, and western Mississippi.

Guidelines for Proper Handling of Archival Materials

Clean Hands.  Always use clean hands to handle any document and wash frequently during long exposure to archival materials.  Perspiration is naturally oily and salty and will damage paper and photographic materials.  Hand creams should never be used prior to handling archival material.  Staff will issue cotton gloves to be worn when handling photographs and other sensitive material.

Working with archival materials.  Do not handle a damaged document.  If any damage occurs during handling, notify a staff member.  Always use two hands to handle large objects.  Consult a staff member if you need help moving an object.  Think about where you will place the item before you pick it up to move it.  Do not lean on material, even if covered.  Take care not to touch or drag anything, such as jewelry, across the surface of a document.  Be sure to roll up loose shirtsleeves, as these can easily abrade surfaces or catch on the edges of material.

Use Adequate Work Space.  Always have a clear space in which to work with materials.

Avoid Stacking Folders and Boxes.  Do not stack objects directly on top of each other.  Do not stack objects of a wide variety of sizes, weights, or thicknesses.

Taking Notes.  Always use pencils, not pens, to make notes.  Preferably, researchers will use loose pieces of paper to record notes, but non-spiral notebooks are allowed.  Never write on paper with archival material underneath.  The impression can pass through and damage the material.

Leave Items in Protective Housing.  Unless previously approved by a staff member, do not remove collection material from plastic sleeves or any other protective housing.

Do Not Disturb the Order of the Archive.  Maintain the order or sequence of all materials within their box or protective enclosure.  Never remove a document from its folder.

Handling Books.  Always grasp books by the front and back covers, never the spine.  Do not pull a book from the shelf by tilting it out by the top of the spine.

Do Not Remove Materials.  Research Center materials do not circulate and may not be removed from the Research Center.

The Cammie G. Henry Research Center thanks you for your help in preserving our books and documents.  If you have any questions about preservation or proper handling of materials, please consult a staff member.

Rules of the Cammie G. Henry Research Center

The Cammie G. Henry Research Center holds original materials.  Most are the only copies of those items in existence.  The slightest damage to a document could mean the loss to posterity of a valuable piece of historical information.  The following regulations aim to protect the records of the Research Center while maintaining accessibility for our patrons.

·         No smoking, tobacco use, food, or drink is permitted in the Research Center

·         Use pencils only, not pens.  We invite patrons to use computers, and non-spiral notebooks to take notes

·         Place all book bags, briefcases, and purses in the cabinet provided

·         Turn cellphones and other devices off or put them on silent

·         Animals and other pets are not permitted

·         Photos of items are allowed by permission of the Archivist

·         Avoid resting arms or notebooks on archival documents and books while taking notes

·         Avoid placing any items on top of archival documents

·         Do not re-shelve items; leave them on a table or cart

·         Research and research requests should end 15 minutes before closing

·         Material in the Research Center does not circulate

·         Responsibility for infringement of legal authorship rights is assumed by the user of the materials

·         Photocopy requests will be filled by a staff member, at the discretion of the Archivist

·         Publication of archival material must give credit to the Collection and to the Research Center.  The proper form of citation is: “Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Watson Memorial Library, Cammie G. Henry Research Center, Collection Name, Folder Number".

·         The Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library appreciates copies of publications resulting from the use of its materials