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Behan family papers

Identifier: LaRC-78

Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence, portraits, newspaper clippings, and other records of the Behan family, who lived and operated a sugar plantation in New Orleans during and after the Civil War. Included in the collection are many letters written during the Civil War by William J. Behan of the Washington Artillery and Charles Isaac Behan of the Orleans Company Cadets to their father John Holland Behan; they include descriptions of some significant Civil War battles, including Manassas and Sharpsburg. Also included are a series of letters written by Mary Custis Lee, daughter of Robert E. Lee, and Mrs. Jefferson Davis to Katherine Walker Behan, as well as several bound records of the Confederated Memorial Associations and histories of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, as compiled by Mary Custis Lee or Katherine Walker Behan.


  • 1857-1950


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. No known restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Physical rights are retained by the Louisiana Research Collection. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

The Behan family lived in New Orleans and owned a sugar plantation. The family consisted of father John Holland Behan and three sons, William J. Behan, Charles Isaac Behan, and Frank Behan. Charles Frank Behan died at the age of 18 fighting with the Orleans Company Cadets at the battle of Sharpsburg, Virginia. William J. Behan fought with the Washington Artillery during the Civil War and later went on to become a Major-General in 1874 after leading the "White League," and later the major of New Orleans in 1882. In 1866 he married Katherine Walker Behan, who later went on to head the Ladies Confederate Memorial Association, the Confederated Southern Memorial Association and the Jefferson Davis Monument Association, as well as Branch 8 of the American Red Cross during World War I and the Louisiana Historical Society. Their daughter, Katherine, married Andre Dreux and moved to Paris, France.


1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection consists of 2 boxes, one box including 10 volumes and 1 item. It is 1 linear foot.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William B. Dreux. Date acquired: 01/04/1961.

Accruals and Additions

History of the Confederated Memorial Associations of the South added to the collection on July 2, 1962.

Processing Information

Collection initially processed in 1962.

Archon Finding Aid Title
Jennifer Dinwiddie
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Tulane University Special Collections Repository

Jones Hall Room 202
6801 Freret Street
New Orleans 70118 US