Archived News | Return to News Center

February 26, 2010

ULM Library digitizes Great Flood of 1932; joins statewide network of archives

Nineteen hundred and thirty two was not a favorable year for many in Monroe. Not only were citizens of the cotton port town battling for survival in the midst America’s Great Depression, they navigated one of the worst winter floods in Monroe history.

Now, nearly 80 years later, officials at the University of Louisiana at Monroe Library Special Collections are in the process of scanning over 300 images taken by Durwood Griffin during the Great Ouachita River Flood of 1932. The photographs provide a firsthand glimpse into the enormous economic burden faced by Monroe-area residents at the time of the flood.
Silver emulsion cut film provides a photo documentary account of the devastation, including ground and aerial pictures of flooded homes and businesses, drenched farmland around Ouachita parish, Red Cross workers providing relief, men patrolling the levees and filling sandbags, and workers lining up for meals and for pay at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse.

Known as the “Griffin Flood Photo Digitization Project,” the collection is a viable presence on the statewide Louisiana Digital Library, or LDL, an online library of over 84,000 digital materials about Louisiana’s history, people and places.

“This is one of the most exciting aspects of this project because ULM has joined with other library and museum archives across the state displaying their collections,” said Assistant Professor of Library Science and Special Collections Coordinator Cyndy Robertson.

The Louisiana Library Network, commonly known as LOUIS, hosts and supports the digital infrastructure for the state’s collections, she said.

The Durwood Griffin family donated the extensive collection to ULM in 1986, a gift that enhanced the historic materials already available in Special Collections. Robertson has scanned over 200 pictures from the Griffin Flood Photo Collection so far, and made site visits to libraries and museums in the area.

“This project allows patrons to have access to the images while originals are safely preserved. Plans are underway to digitize other historic collections for possible inclusion in the LDL,” said Robertson.

The digitization project is made possible by a $25,200 Board of Regents grant written by Robertson and awarded in fall 2009 for the enhancement of student engagement and curriculum support through the availability of electronic resources. The grant provided equipment and software used to make digital copies of photographs, photographic negatives, microfilm and microfiche, said Robertson.

Visit the digital collection online at

For more information, contact Robertson at the ULM Library Special Collections at 318-342-1054.

PLEASE NOTE: Some links and e-mail addresses in these archived news stories may no longer work, and some content may include events which are no longer relevent, or reference individuals and/or organizations no longer associated with ULM.