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The purpose of this study was to discover the extent and nature of the lyceum movement in the city of New Orleans during the period from 1840-1860 Specifically an attempt was made to answer such questions as:

  1. What organizations fostered the lyceum?
  2. What were the aims of these organizations?
  3. Who were the lecturers?
  4. What types of subjects had the greatest appeal?
  5. To what extent was the lyceum popular with the people?

The thesis could logically fall into three divisions. The first part, composed of Chapter II, deals with the cultural background of New Orleans from 1840-1860. The second part, which included Chapters III through VII, is a description in chronological order of the lyceum movement in New Orleans from 1840-1860, Arbitrarily four seasons are included in each chapter. The final part, Chapter VIII, gives the characteristics of the lyceum movement in New Orleans during this period.

The principal sources are The Daily Picayune, The Daily Delta, and The Daily Crescent, leading newspapers of New Orleans. This period, 1840-1860, was chosen because investigation indicated that since New Orleans made her greatest cultural advancements in that period, it would be the most logical one for the greatest advancement of the lyceum.