Manuscript Resources on Baton Rouge History

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was first discovered and named by the French explorer Iberville in 1699, almost three centuries ago. In the eighteenth century, it was ruled successively by the French, British, and Spanish. Incorporated in 1817, Baton Rouge became the state capital in 1849, though it lost that status during the Civil War and would not regain it until 1882.

This guide to manuscript resources on Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, of which it is a part, includes a wide variety of materials on the history of the area, among them the papers of Baton Rouge families; the records of businesses and organizations; photographs; newspapers; maps; and oral histories. Although Louisiana State University has been a major part of Baton Rouge for many years, collections relating to LSU are included only if they also relate explicitly to Baton Rouge--for example, the papers of an LSU professor who was also active in community organizations and whose papers documented those organizations. Similarly, the papers of individuals in state government are not included unless they also relate explicitly to Baton Rouge.

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Robinson, Michael D., Collection, 1907-1944. 13 items. Location: Misc:R One letter and twelve picture postcards comprise this collection. Letter from Willaim Weeks Hall praises the job the military is doing during the war (presumably World War II) and the country's gratitude toward the soldiers. Postcards are of Baton Rouge, LSU, and New Orleans buildings and include, among others, images of the State Capitol and grounds, Huey Long pool at LSU, North Boulevard, the French House, general campus scenes (old and new campus), Charity Hospital, and the interior of the Roosevelt Hotel. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4845.

Rodrigue, George print, undated. 1 item. Location: OS:R. Print of a George Rodrique painting depicting Louisiana Lt. Governor Bobby Freeman (1980-1988) and his wife in front of the Old State Capital in Baton Rouge. Print is signed by Bobby Freeman. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4432.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge

Rolston, William A., Sr. Papers, 1911-1952. 846 items, 63 printed vols. Location: 79:45-48. Sugar technologist and superintendent of the Francisco Sugar Company, Francisco, Province of Camaguey, Cuba; and a native of Baton Rouge. Papers include correspondence, drawings, blueprints, reports, and files related to Rolston's work for the Francisco Sugar Company. Other papers relate to sugar growing and processing, building materials, engineering, and the lumber industry. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2038.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Business, Baton Rouge

Ronaldson and Puckett Company, Ltd. Papers, 1881-1914. approx. 3,400 items, 22 vols. Location: UU:6-8, O:15. Baton Rouge grocers, commission merchants, and dealers in general merchandise. Business papers and account books of Ronaldson and Puckett; and account books of their predecessor companies, David, Garig and Company; and David, Garig, and Thomas. Also included are records of the New Orleans patent medicine firm, the Minute Man Oil Medicine Company, Ltd. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1397.

Rosenbaum, Max. Family Letters and Photographs, 1898-1945, undated. 92 items. Location: S:136. World War I veteran and shopkeeper-resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Collection includes a series of letters written from Max Rosenbaum to his son, Bert Rosenbaum, who was in Europe serving in the United States Army during World War II. The collection is also comprised of photographs of Ruth (Elgutter) Rosenbaum's German-Jewish immigrant family. Mss. 4878.

Ross, David. Land grants and indenture, 1771-1795. 3 items. Location: OS:R. Two land grants and one indenture regarding the real property of David Ross, all located in either the Baton Rouge or Manchac districts of the Province of West Florida. Some items in Spanish. Mss. 4967.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, Baton Rouge

Ruggles, Daniel, 1810-1897. Confederate military report, 1862 August 9. 1 item (12 pages, bound). Location: E:42. Brigadier general in the Confederate army in the Civil War. Manuscript report of Ruggles to his commanding officer, Gen. John C. Breckinridge, describing the action of the troops under his command at the Civil War Battle of Baton Rouge (August 5, 1862). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1543.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

S. M. Hart and Company. Account books, 1854-1857. 2 vols. Location: P:20. Commission firm of Baton Rouge. Letterpress copy books of accounts with the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, and others. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 992.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

Samuelson, Hyman, 1919- . Papers, 1936-2007. 3 linear ft. Location: X:16-18. Correspondence, diaries, personal narratives, military records, photographs, and illustrations reflect the life of a young Jewish man while attending Louisiana State University and his military experiences while serving in New Guinea in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 96th Battalion. They relate his academic and social activities in college and difficulties encountered as part of an engineering regiment of African American troops. Samuelson discusses military bureaucracy, troop morale, discipline, engineering projects, and tropical diseases. Throughout the diaries, he tells of his personal growth and his interpersonal relationships, especially with Dora Reiner. He also refers to damaged caused by a severe storm in the Pacific, probably Typhoon Helen. Mss. 4934.

Saucier, Gertrude B. (Gertrude Bott), 1881-1978. Family Papers, 1821-1960. 351 items, 1 ms. Vol., 2 printed vols. Location: UU:82; OS:S. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 17. Resident of Baton Rouge, the daughter of John Phillip and Mary Buchel Bott. Both sets of Saucier's grandparents were of German origin. She was an honorary president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Papers consist primarily of business, personal, and legal papers of the Buchel and Bott families, with a few items from the Saucier family. Collection includes thirty-one muster rolls of Louisiana Confederate regiments. Photographs in the collection include studio portraits, views of Baton Rouge houses, and a banquet of the United Daughters of the Confederacy meeting in 1947. Some items in German, French, and Latin. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3293.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War, Baton Rouge, French, German

Scheler, Armin, Papers. 1925-2007, undated (bulk 1949-1985). 3.75 linear ft. Location: 18:1-2, OS:S. Sculptor and professor at Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, La.). Papers include correspondence, drawings, photographs, printed items, slides, and writings related to Scheler's activities as a sculptor and professor while living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 4989.

Referenced in Guides: Education, Baton Rouge, LSU

Schloss Gin. Record book, 1916-1929. 1 ms. vol. Location: Misc.:S. Cotton gin located in Baton Rouge. Record book lists customers and costs of ginning services. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2975.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, Baton Rouge

Schwartz, Kurt S. Papers, 1932-1967, undated (bulk 1932-1935). 18 items. Location: C:96 OS:S. Schwartz was a member of the Louisiana State University Cadet Band during the 1930's. Papers consist of student paraphernalia including an LSU Library card, Athletic Association student tickets, commencement program, concert programs for the LSU Cadet Band, a University Directory, a freshman beanie, and a LSU license plate. Also included are a letter from Huey P. Long stating that Long had no influence in securing scholarships and a copy of the musical score for EVERY MAN A KING for solo clarinet. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3740.

Seely, P. N. Letter, 1863, March 31. 1 item. Location: Misc:S. Union soldier stationed north of Baton Rouge during the Civil War. Letter from Seely to Miss C. C. Holmes in Albany, New York, mentions his poor health, dislike for the girls in the area, and news of friends in the service. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3659.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Shaver, Claude L. Papers, 1924-1973. 6 linear ft. Location: 77:103-109, OS:S. Professor, Louisiana State University (LSU) Department of Speech. Papers include professional correspondence, materials relating to the Southwest Theater Conference, and items pertaining to theater groups in Louisiana; teaching speech and drama at LSU; and other aspects Shaver's career. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2769.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Education, Baton Rouge, LSU

Sheet music collection, 1826-1912. 53 items, 2 vols. Location: 65:. Sheet music, popular and sacred, some illustrated, printed, composed, or sold in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. Mss. 2600-73.

Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church (Baton Rouge, La.). Christian debutante presentation program, 1977. 1 volume. Location: EPHEMERA COLLECTION SUBGROUP VI. Program for Shiloh Baptist Church's Christian debutante presentation on August 14, 1977, including photographs of debutantes, sponsors, and church officials, as well as advertisements from local businesses. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3198.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, Baton Rouge

Shropshire, Charles A. Papers, 1943-2018 (bulk 1996-2002). 1.5 linear ft. Location: UU:335-336, OS:S. First African American district attorney of Louisiana in the 20th Judicial District (East Feliciana Parish and West Feliciana Parish). Papers include correspondence, newspaper clippings, other printed items and ephemera, genealogical items, certificates, awards, plaques, a scrapbook, a guest book, daily planners, photographs, negatives (35mm film strips), six VHS tapes, one floppy disk (3.5-inch), and other materials documenting Charles A. Shropshire's personal life and professional career as an attorney, an assistant district attorney, and a district attorney. Topics covered include Shropshire's 1996 campaign and election as district attorney for the 20th Judicial District of Louisiana; his 2002 re-election campaign; and his involvement in African American churches and professional organizations in Greater Baton Rouge, East Feliciana Parish, and West Feliciana Parish. Collection unprocessed but open for use. Mss. 5393.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge, African Americans, LSU

Simon, Joseph. Family Papers, 1882-1944. 772. Location: C:80-81, O:3. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, jeweler and a member of the Jewish community. Papers include personal and professional letters, newspaper clippings, and various printed volumes. Materials related to Judaism include letters concerning the Baton Rouge Jewish congregation, an issue of "The Jewish Outlook' (1937). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2379.

Simon, Joseph and family. Papers, 1882-1948. 1.5 linear feet, 28 volumes. Location: 98:S, C:80-81, O:59-60, OS:S. Papers of Joseph Simon consist of tax, real estate, and financial documents, and store merchandise inventories related to J. Simon & Son, Simon’s jewelry business, and properties that he owned in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Other papers include correspondence related to Simon’s participation in Congregation B’nai Israel and its efforts to recruit newly arriving Jewish families in the city. Mss. 2379.