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Thomas Sully Office Records

Identifier: SEAA-008

Scope and Contents

This collection of records from New Orleans architect Thomas Sully (1855-1939)'s office, as well as successor offices, includes drawings, photographs, correspondence, and specifications for residential, commercial, institutional, educational, and yacht projects in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Personal photographs of Sully’s leisure activities, dating from around 1890 to 1895, are also maintained. Many document hunting and fishing trips on his first self-designed yacht, ‘Helen’.


  • 1882-1923


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is the physical property of Tulane University Special Collections. Copyright belongs to the creators or their legal heirs and assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or owner’s heir for permission to publish where Tulane University Special Collections does not hold the copyright. For further information, please contact Research Services at

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Sully was born in Mississippi City, Mississippi, the son of George Washington Sully and Harriet Jane Green Sully. He was named after his great-uncle, Philadelphia portrait painter Thomas Sully. In the early 1870s he apprenticed in Austin, Texas, with architects Larmour and Wheelock. He then moved to New York, New York to work for architects Slade and Marshall. In 1877, he returned to New Orleans, establishing his own practice in 1881.

Sully was one of New Orleans most prolific architects, despite never having any formal academic architectural training. He was responsible for designs for many of New Orleans important commercial and institutional structures, including the third St. Charles Hotel, the Morris and Hennen buildings, the Jewish Widows and Orphans Home, and the Protestant Orphan Asylum. He is best remembered for his numerous residential designs for late-19th century New Orleans elite.

Sully also designed and built several river and seagoing yachts for clients and himself. Sully was an avid hunter and fisherman, and was commodore of the Southern Yacht Club in 1893 and 1894. He also spearheaded the formation of the New Orleans Motor Boat Club, and was named its first commodore in 1910. See the digital version of the SEAA exhibit Thomas Sully: At Home and at Leisure.

Office chronology: Thomas Sully (1882-1884; 1899-1923); Thomas Sully and Company (1885-1887); Sully and Toledano (1888-1892) (Albert Toledano, 1859-1923); Thomas Sully and Company (1893-1895); Sully, Burton, and Stone Company, Ltd. (1896-1898) (Hayward Burton, 1867-1953); (Samuel Stone, Jr., 1869-1953).


334.73 Linear Feet (70 folders, 1 box, 113 photographic prints, and 2 photograph boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into four series: Series 1: Project Drawings; Series 2: Project Specifications and Correspondence; Series 3: Project Photographs; Series 4: Personal Photographs.

Custodial History

The contents of Sully’s architectural office were stored in the attic of the family home, 7 Richmond Place, New Orleans. The home and its contents came into the possession of Sully’s daughter, Jeanne Sully West, after his death. At the urging of Bernard Lemann, Tulane architecture professor, drawings and specifications were donated to the original Manuscripts Division (Now Louisiana Research Collection, LaRC) of the library in the early 1960s. Drawings were transferred to SEAA in 1980. Photographs were given at a later date, originally kept with the vertical files in the Louisiana Research Collection (now also LaRC), and transferred to SEAA in 1980.

Existence and Location of Copies

Items in Series 1 can be accessed remotely by visiting the Architect's Eye digital collection at Tulane University Digital Library.

Digitization Note

This collection or portions of this collection have been digitized. Visit Tulane University Digital Library or contact TUSC Research Services at for more information.

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