New Orleans Public Library
Date range: 1920-1925
Size of collection: 2 cartons
Terms of Access: Available to registered researchers by appointment
Andrew J. McShane was born in New Orleans in 1865. His father died early, and at a young age, McShane went to work for hide dealers Fitzpatrick and Hall, later succeeded by H.F. Hall and Co. By age 14, he was a travelling salesman for the firm; at 19, he became a partner and at 21, he bought the company.
McShane served as a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners from 1896-1904 and in 1912, ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Commission Council as the reform candidate of the Good Government League. In July 1920 McShane was nominated as candidate for Mayor by the Orleans Democratic Association, a loosely knit organization of reform minded citizens and dissatisfied members of the Regular Democratic Organization, dedicated to unseating three-term mayor Martin Behrman. In a hard-fought race, McShane defeated Behrman by a margin of less than 1500 votes.
McShane's administration organized an efficient garbage collection system, initiated the system of one-way streets still in use today, re-equipped and reorganized the public works department, set the city's finances in order, and improved the condition of city streets. The spirit of reform, however, was short-lived, and Behrman was able to regain the mayoralty in 1925. McShane retired from public life following his defeat.
The McShane papers are primarily correspondence, with a small amount of additional miscellaneous materials, proclamations, speeches, and a report from the Orleans Parish Demonstration Agent. The papers seem to have been kept together as a unit over the years and were not dispersed into the "Official Vertical File" and other places to the extent that other pre-1936 mayoral papers were. Unfortunately, there is no documentation on previous attempts to arrange and describe these papers. It is not known, for example, who wrote various subject designations on the face of the letters; nor is it known why some papers of other agencies of city government were retained with McShane's own papers. Because of these uncertainties, and in order to conform to arrangement of other mayoral papers of the pre-1936 era, all previous filing notes were ignored in favor of a system of arrangement by the names of the correspondents.
Thus, file folders were created for all government agencies represented, for important individuals or organizations, and for correspondents represented by four or more letters, regardless of their significance. All other letters were placed into miscellaneous folders according to the first letter of the last name of individuals or of the corporate name of businesses or organizations. Letters from individuals on letterhead were filed according to the names of individuals if the letters were judged to be more personal than corporate in nature.
Some of the major subjects represented in the McShane papers are: early plans for an auditorium in the city; an American Legion convention; opposition to local activities in connection with the National Beauty Pagaent in Atlantic City, NJ; the extension of Dauphine Street through the Jackson Barracks property; the Elks' Home fire; Fort Macomb; the presentation of the city flag to the municipality of Orleans, France; and early plans for a Lake Pontchartrain causeway.
Audubon Auditorium Campaign
Bader, Edward L. (Mayor, Atlantic City, New Jersey)
Board of Supervisors of Elections, Orleans Parish
Bouanchaud, Lieutenant Governor Hewitt
City Planning and Zoning Commission
Douglas, Judith Hyams
Dupre, Congressman H. Garland
First City Court
Ford, J. McW. (Mayor, Shreveport, La.)
Harding, President Warren G.
Hartwell, Harry T. (Mayor, Mobile, Ala.)
Herrick, Myron T. (U.S. Ambassador to France)
Hughes, Charles Evans (U.S. Secretary of State)
Hull, Cordell (Chairman, Democratic National Committee)
Intracoastal Canal Association of Louisiana and Texas
Isaac Delgado Museum of Art
Laville, A. (Mayor, Orleans, France)
Long, Huey P.
Louisiana Commission for the Blind
Louisiana Public Service Commission
Louisiana State University
McDonogh School Fund, Board of Commissioners
Mahony, Daniel W. (Mayor, Lawrence, Mass.)
New Orleans Association of Commerce
New Orleans Cotton Exchange
O'Connor, Congressman James
Orleans Levee District, Board of Commissioners
Orleans Parish Board of Health
Parker, Governor John M.
Pershing, General John J.
Pontchartrain Causeway Association, Inc.
Port of New Orleans, Board of Commissioners
Public Finance, Department of
Public Safety, Department of
Rex (Carnival) organization
Shaw, Archbishop J.W.
Third Ward Civic League
United States Navy
United States War Department
"X, Y, Z" Miscellaneous
Report: Orleans Parish Demonstration Agent, 1921
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coded: 1/15/1999 coded by: Irene Wainwright