BULTMAN FUNERAL HOME ARCHIVES

 

 

(Mss 344)

 

 

Inventory

 

 

Earl K. Long Library

University of New Orleans

 

July 2008

 

 

Contents

 

 

Contents

 

Summary

 

Historical Note

 

Container List

 

Index Terms

 

Procedures for Requesting Special Collections Materials

 

 

 

Summary

 

 

Size:                           20 linear feet

 

Geographic

locations:                 New Orleans, Louisiana

 

Inclusive

dates:                        1892-1991

 

Summary:                 The collection consists primarily of bound ledgers and account books of various types, created in the normal course of business of a prominent New Orleans funeral home.  Flooding that occurred in association with Hurricane Katrina (2005) destroyed other archival records, and many gaps exist.  No other records are known to survive.  Also present are a small quantity of records of the funeral home operated by the Joseph Laughlin Co., and of the Gulf States Life Insurance Co., the latter pertaining to burial policies.

 

Related

collections:              A. P. Boyer Collection (Mss 175); Jacob Schoen & Son Collection (Mss 307); Tharp-Sontheimer Collection (Mss 317); Michael Arseneau Collection (Mss 345)

 

Source:                     Gift, September 2007

 

Access:                     No restrictions on use in our reading room

 

Copyright:                Physical rights are retained by the Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans

 

Citation:                    Bultman Funeral Home Archives, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans

 

 

 

Historical Note

 

 

            The New Orleans funeral home known officially as Bultman Mortuary Service and familiarly as House of Bultman or Bultman’s was founded in 1883 by Anthony Frederick Bultmann, in partnership with a man named Vogt.  A native of New Orleans, A. F. Bultmann (January 8, 1853-September 16, 1934) was the son of German immigrants.  In 1902 his son, A. F. Bultmann, Jr. (1885-July 26, 1964), joined the firm as an embalmer, and three years later Bultmann took his son into partnership.  In about 1913, members of the family dropped the final “n” from their surname.

 

            After operating from locations on Camp Street, where the remains of Confederate President Jefferson Davis were prepared for burial, and on Magazine Street (809 and 2711-2917 Magazine), the firm moved in about 1920 to 3338 St. Charles Avenue, where the junior Bultman had resided for several years.  Neighbors objected to the establishment of a mortuary in a residential area, but Bultman obtained a zoning variance and the furor settled down.  As their business expanded, the Bultmans bought two adjacent houses, one of them reputedly the former home of actress/singer Kitty Carlisle.  During the 1930s, one building was used entirely services; offices and sales facilities occupied the others.  In the 1940s the three structures were combined into the large facility that hosted services for such notables as World War II pilot Brig. Gen. Claire Chennault, actress Jayne Mansfield, oil tycoon Patrick Taylor, and artist Stan Rice, husband of author Anne Rice, as well as for generations of prominent and unrenowned New Orleanians alike.

 

            Members of the Bultman family continued to operate the funeral home until Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005) severely damaged the building and its contents.  The business never fully recovered, and in August 2006 it closed.  Plans were announced the following month to sell the iconic building.  Since December 2008 it has been the home of Borders Bookstore, which preserved the façade as part of a nine-million-dollar renovation.

 

Sources:  New Orleans City Directories; “Sorrow and Kind Hearts,” New Orleans Daily Picayune, July 31, 1883; Greg Thomas, “Historic Funeral Home to Be Reborn as a Bookstore,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 3, 2007; Angus Lind, “Developer Lewis Stirling Turns Storied New Orleans Funeral Home into a Borders Bookstore,” New Orleans Times-Picayune, November 24, 2008; Susan Lauxman Kirk and Helen Michel Smith, The Architecture of St. Charles Avenue (Gretna, La.: Pelican Publishing Co., 1977, p. 118).

 

 


Container List

 

 

Series I.         Day Books

 

            Day books contain information about each funeral.  The oldest surviving day books (October 28, 1913 – January 12, 1927) consist of bound ledgers with multiple entries, varying in level of detail, per page.  Among these chronological entries, the most detailed provide, in addition to the name of the deceased, such information as the color of the hearse, the number of carriages or limousines and the locations where they were to call for mourners or a member of the clergy, whether the decedent was to be embalmed, location and time of funeral, the name of the cemetery where interment would take place, the name of the officiating clergyman, and provision of candles, wreaths, and veiling.  Some entries refer to other business activities, such as limousine rental for weddings and receipt of payments on account.  Beginning in June 1925, many entries are accompanied by a copy of the death notice, clipped from a newspaper.  On January 14, 1927, the format of these volumes changes to large ledger sheets which are arranged in reverse chronological order, and detailed entries become the norm.

 

BOX 1

 

344-1              October 28, 1913 – October 24, 1915

344-2              June 1, 1922 – December 31, 1923

344-3              July 1, 1922 – December 31, 1923

 

BOX 2

 

344-4              January 1, 1924 – May 24, 1925

344-5              June 1, 1925 – January 12, 1927

 

BOX 3

 

344-6 –

344-7              January 14, 1927 – December 1927 (2 folders)

344-8 –

344-9              January 1928 – December 1928 (2 folders)

 

BOX 4

 

344-10 –

344-11            January 1929 – December 1929 (2 folders)

344-12 –

344-13            January 1930 – December 1930 (2 folders)

344-14            January 1931 – December 1931

 

BOX 5

 

344-15            January 1932 – December 1932

344-16            January 1933 – December 1933

344-17            January 1934 – December 1934

344-18            January 1935 – December 1935

244-19            January 1936 – December 1936

344-20            January 1937 – December 1937

344-21            January 1938 – December 1938

 

BOX 6

 

344-22            January 1939 – December 1939

344-23            January 1940 – December 1940

344-24            January 1941 – December 1941

344-25            January 1942 – December 1942

 

BOX 7

 

344-26            January 1943 – December 1943

344-27            January 1944 – December 1944

344-28            January 1945 – December 1945

344-29            January 1946 – December 1946

 

 

Series II.        Funeral Record Books

 

            Funeral Record Books provide the name of the person or organization respon­sible for funeral and burial arrangements and expenses (the debtor), an itemized list of those expenses, and payment information.  In the early years, the name of the decedent was not always included.

            Beginning on June 1, 1901, funeral information is noted on forms, two or three per page, printed specifically for this purpose.  The forms contain a blank for the name of the decedent or his/her relationship to the debtor (e.g., “Father,” “Child”).  By 1923, each form occupy both sides of a sheet and include space for death-certificate data.

            Volumes are in chronological order until 1927, then in reverse chronological order.

 

BOX 8

 

344-30            June 4, 1892 – August 12, 1896 (includes index)

344-31            August 4, 1896 – May 3, 1901 (includes index)

 

BOX 9

 

344-32            June 1, 1901 – August 28, 1905 (for index, see 344-)

344-33            February 14, 1910 – March 3, 1914 (for index, see 344-)

 

BOX 10

 

344-34            October 1, 1913 – February 15, 1914

344-35            February 15, 1914 – May 31, 1914 (for index, see 344-)

344-36            March 2, 1919 – December 31, 1922 (includes St. Vincent de Paul Society, April 5, 1919 - December 30, 1922, p. 571-585)

 

BOX 11

 

344-37            January 1923 – April 1923

344-38            May 1923 – August 1923

344-39            September 1923 – December 1923

344-40            January 1924 – April 1924

344-41            May 1924 – August 1924

344-42            September 1924 – December 1924

 

BOX 12

 

344-43            February 1, 1923 – September 23, 1926 (dates on label: June 1, 1924 – March 30, 1926)

 

BOX 13

 

344-44            January 1925 – June 1925

344-45            July 1925 – December 1925

344-46            January 1926 – June 1926

344-47            July 1926 – December 1926

 

BOX 14

 

344-48            December 1927 – July 1927

344-49            June 1927 – January 1927

344-50            December 1928 – July 1928

344-51            June 1928 – January 1928

 

BOX 15

 

                  Adults’ funerals

344-52            December 1929 – July 1929

344-53            June 1929 – January 1929

344-54            December 1930 – July 1930

344-55            June 1930 – January 1930

344-56            April 24, 1931 – January 1931

                  Cases involving nonpayment

344-57            April 24, 1931 – January 1929

 

BOX 16

 

                  “Cases Shipped in Institutions”

344-58            April 1931 – January 1927

                  Reinterments and Transfers

344-59            April 1931 – July 1930

                  Children’s Funerals

344-60            June 1930 – January 1927

 

BOX 17

 

                  Indexes to Funeral Record Books

                        Accompanying volumes present

344-61                  June 1, 1901 – August 28, 1905

344-62                  February 14, 1910 – March 3, 1914

344-63                  February 15, 1914 – May 31, 1914

344-64                  Adults’ Funerals, [1929-1931?]

344-65                  “Cases Shipped in Institutions,” April 1931 – January 1927

344-66                  Reinterments and Transfers, April 1931 – July 1930

344-67                  Children’s Funerals, June 1930 – January 1927

                        Accompanying volumes not present

344-68                  October 1, 1912 – March 31, 1913

344-69                  April 1, 1913 – September 14, 1913

344-70                  March 15, 1914 – February 28, 1919

344-71                  June 2, 1914 – December 30, 1915

                        Undated indexes

344-72                  “Funeral Ledger A”

344-73                  [Unidentified]

 

 

Series III.       Services Books

 

            Services Books contain one page for each account, within a chronological range.  Until 1942, arrangement is alphabetical by name of debtor; thereafter, arrangement appears to be chronological.  In the early years, recorded here are the exact expenses of the funeral and the dates and amounts of credits.  By 1942, information is limited to dates and totals.

 

BOX 18

 

                        ca. 1911 – 1918

344-74                        A

344-75                        B

344-76                        C – F

344-77                        G – J

 

BOX 19

 

344-78                        K – L

344-79                        M – N

344-80                        O – R

344-81                        S – T

344-82                        U – Z

 

BOX 20

 

344-83 –

344-84            ca. 1918 – 1932

344-85 –

344-86            ca. 1931 – 1932

 

BOX 21

 

344-87            January 1942

344-88            February 1942

344-89            March 1942

 

BOX 22

 

344-90            April 1942

344-91            May 1942

344-92            June 1942

 

BOX 23

 

344-93            May 1948

344-94            June 1948

 

BOX 24

 

                        1948 – 1958

344-95                        1948 – 1950

344-96                        1951 – 1952

344-97                        1953 – 1954

344-98                        1955 – 1956

344-99                        1957-1958

 

BOX 25

 

                        1964 – 1966

344-100                     A – G

344-101                     H – M

344-102                     N – Z

 

BOX 26

 

                        1967 – 1969

344-103                     A – F

344-104                     G – M

344-105                     N – Z

 

BOX 27

 

344-106         1969 – 1974

 

BOX 28

 

                        1974 – 1976 (“Paid Up Services”)

344-107                     A – L

344-108                     M – Z

 

 

Series IV.      Accounting Records

 

BOX 29

 

            Subseries IV.1.  Account Books

344-109         February 1917 – January 1919

344-110         July 1939 – December 1944

344-111         January 1952 – January 1955

344-112         January 1958 – November 1963

344-113         December 1963 – December 1966

344-114         January 1967 – May 1968

344-115         Occupational Licenses, 1951-1967, and miscellaneous items removed from Account Books

 

BOX 30

 

            Subseries IV.2.  General Journal

344-116         June 1923 – August 1923

 

            Subseries IV.3.  Daily Journal

                        1985 – 1991

344-117                     1985

344-118                     1986

344-119                     1987

344-120                     1988

344-121                     1989

344-122                     1990

344-123                     1991

 

BOX 31

 

            Subseries IV.4.  Cash Books

344-124         January 1921 - December 1922

 

BOX 32

 

344-125         December 1929 - September 1939

344-126         August 1945 - December 1951

 

            Subseries IV.5.  Insurance Account Books

34-127            Route #5, Wm. Muhle, ca. 1925

34-128            January 17, 1940 - August 24, 1940

 

            Subseries IV.6.  Inventories

344-129         1934 – 1938

 

BOX 33

 

            Subseries IV.7.  Indexes

                        Indexes to unidentified accounting records

344-130                     #1, [n.d.]

344-131                     #2, [n.d.]

 

            Subseries IV.8.  Weekly Time Books

344-132         November 6, 1915 – August 25, 1917

344-133         September 1, 1917 – July 5, 1919

344-134         July 12, 1919 – November 11, 1922

344-135         August 25, 1928 – July 4, 1931

344-136         January 9, 1943 – September 25, 1948

 

 

Series V.  Records of Joseph Laughlin Funeral Home

 

            Little information is available concerning the Joseph Laughlin Co., which operated a funeral home at 4500 Magazine Street in New Orleans from approximately 1956 to 1991.  Bultman’s may have absorbed the business.

 

            Subseries V.1.  Case Records

 

            Subseries V.1, Case Records, contains forms providing information similar to that found in Bultman’s Day books—the name of the decedent, home address, time and place of death, name and relationship of person contacting the funeral home, name of attending physician or coroner, details of the service and final resting-place.  Many Case Records are accompanied by a copy of the Statement of Death and Burial Expenses form and, for those who had Funeral Purchase Agreements, a copy of the contract.  The file for 1979 contains few, if any, Case Records that are not accompanied by a contract.  Arrangement is alphabetical.

 

BOX 34

 

                        1977-1978

344-137                     A – C

344-138                     D – I

344-139                     J – N

344-140                     O – Z

 

                        1979

344-141                     A – I

344-142                     J – Z

 

 

            Subseries V.2.  Certificates of Death

 

            This series contains unofficial drafts of the information later transferred to official certificates of death, including decedent’s name; place, date, and time of death; sex; race; marital status; date and place of birth; occupation; names of spouse and parents, with birthplaces of parents and mother’s maiden name; and details of the burial.  On the reverse is information about “Furnishings,” detailing funeral arrangements such as limousines, flowers, and their costs.  Arrangement is chronological according to date of burial.  The form, as printed, was half of a folded sheet that also consisted of an announcement of the death, suitable for posting.  In most instances, the half of the sheet containing the announcement has been removed.

 

BOX 35

 

344-143         April 1966; September - December 1969; [March 6, 1970]; March 1971

344-144         January – December 1974

344-145         January – June, August – September, November – December 1975

344-146         January – December 1976

344-147         January – December 1977

344-148         January – December 1978

344-149         January – April, June – July, September – October 1979

 

 

Series VI.  Records of Gulf South Life Insurance Co.

 

            The Gulf South Life Insurance Co. still operates today.  Located at 4500 Magazine Street, the same address as the Joseph Laughlin Co., it handled burial policies and probably was affiliated with Laughlin.

 

344-150         August 1987

 

344-151         List of Insured, August 1987

 

 

 

Index Terms

 

 

Bultman Funeral Home

Bultman Mortuary Service

Bultman, A. Fred

Burial—Louisiana—New Orleans

Gulf States Life Insurance Co.

House of Bultman

Joseph Laughlin Funeral Home

Laughlin, Joseph