Manuscript Resources on African American History

This guide describes manuscript collections documenting African American history in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections at LSU. It includes the papers of African Americans and their families; oral histories done with African Americans; and other collections that document African American history in one way or another. In the early period, these collections include documentation of slavery, the slave trade, abolitionism, and apologies for slavery. In the modern period, they include collections that document issues like civil rights, integration, and race relations.

Indeed, the experience of African Americans before and during the Civil War is often documented through the papers of others--among them, planters who bought and sold them as slaves and Union soldiers who commented upon them in letters and diaries. LSU has such resources in abundance. Papers of early African Americans themselves are more difficult to find. But Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley had a relatively large population of free persons of color, some of whom did leave papers. They worked as artisans in cities like New Orleans or Natchez, or were planters and even slaveholders themselves. LSU's collections of the papers of free persons of color include the papers of William Johnson of Natchez, now famed as a diarist and commentator on Southern mores.

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Blanchard, Joseph. Document, 1825. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Resident of Iberville Parish, Louisiana. Sale (notarized copy) of land and slaves of Joseph Blanchard to Timoleon Boissac. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French

Blanchard, Newton C. (Newton Crain), 1849-1922, Scrapbooks, 1892-1906. 4 vols. (on microfilm). Location: Mss. Mf.:B. Lawyer from Shreveport, Louisiana; U.S. representative (1881-1894); U.S. senator (1894-1897); and governor of Louisiana (1904-1908). Scrapbooks, containing newspaper clippings with some correspondence and other items, pertain mainly to Blanchard's political career and contain information about Louisiana politics, race relations, yellow fever, and the 1906 fire in the State Capitol. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2833.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, African Americans, Medicine

Blanche, Alexander. Papers, 1851-1914 (bulk 1851-1856, 1881-1914). 79 items, 2 volumes. Location: W:48, VAULT:3 OS:B. Cotton planter of Marydale Plantation, Tensas Parish, Louisiana. Antebellum plantation diary contains notes about cotton farming; slave labor and health; weather; medical remedies; and other plantation affairs. Papers consist of correspondence, tax and payroll receipts, account sheets, and receipts for prisoners. Letters to Blanche from S. L. James include information on plantation supplies and prison laborers. Available on microfilm 5322: Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 2, Reel 11, and microfilm 6061: Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series I, Part 3, Reel 14. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3342.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, Medicine

Blind Tom letter, 1867. 1 item. Location: Misc.B. Letter from a guest at Trenton House [Trenton, New Jersey], commenting on the artistic ability and physical characteristics of the blind African-American musician 'Blind Tom,' after attending a concert given by the pianist. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1533.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, African Americans

Blount, W. M. Account book, 1817-1860. 1 vol. Location: H:14. Record of payment to Blount in settlement of William Pitt Higbee's estate and account. Also recorded are the accounts of Mrs. Amelia Gradinego, Daniel Zeringue, members of the Close family, and others of Petit Bois, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Entries include commodity prices, prices of slaves, taxes, cost of schooling, wages for a laborer, and other expenses incurred by local planters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 177.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Education, African Americans

Bond, Priscilla Munnikhuysen. Papers, 1858-1908 (bulk 1858-1866). 98 items, 3 volumes, 16 microfiche. Location: B:15, OS:B, MICROFICHE 2729. Resident of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Collection consists of correspondence, diaries, poems, and photographs. Diaries record Bond's daily activities and observations relating to plantation life, runaway slaves, social activities, hypnotism, and Civil War experiences and thoughts, including participation by African American soldiers. Available on microfilm 5750: America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 33. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2155.

Bookter, Alexander. Succession Papers, 1805 May 10. 1 item (9 leaves). Location: Misc:B. Slaveholder of St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. Slaves and other property were seized and sold at public sale after the death of Alexander Bookter by the Sheriff of St. Helena Parish for the payment of Bookter's debts. Affidavits of Ann Liles, William Liles, and John Mink regarding ownership of slaves and other property in the estate of Alexander Bookter. Signed by Spanish commandant of Louisiana, Carlos de Grand-Pre. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4514.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, African Americans, French

Boothby, Charles W. Papers, 1861-1898 (bulk 1861-1874). 1 linear ft. Location: T:19, OS:B. U.S. Army captain, customs official, superintendent of education for New Orleans, and politician. Correspondence, printed military orders, and quartermaster's records reflect Civil War and postbellum New Orleans. Civil War papers document personal experiences, military engagements, African American soldiers, and political activity. Postbellum papers reflect the local and national political environment during Reconstruction. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4847.

Bordelon, Leonce P., Diaries, 1876-1931, 2005. 15 v. Location: J:28. Avoyelles Parish, La., planter. Diaries of Leonce P. Bordelon reflect Louisiana plantation life in rural Avoyelles Parish during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Entries pertain primarily to plantation operations, the effects of climate on those operations, social activities, health and local elections. Some entries in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4952.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, French, Medicine

Bordelon, Leonce P., Diaries, 1876-1931, 2005, 2007. 16 v. Location: J:28. Avoyelles Parish, La., planter. Diaries of Leonce P. Bordelon reflect Louisiana plantation life in rural Avoyelles Parish during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Entries pertain primarily to plantation operations, the effects of climate on those operations, social activities, health and local elections. Some entries in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4952.

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