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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Titcomb, Charles C. Papers and picture collection, 1820-1919. 1.9 linear ft. (5 items, 72 photographs, 27 glass plate negatives). Location: 65:, E:73, OS:T. Photographs and glass plate negatives depicting 19th century Louisiana scenes, including the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou Lafourche, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge. There are also images of St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Charleston. Manuscript items consist of a clipping about Peggy Wood, a poem, a list of glass plate negatives, and a letter by General Robert E. Lee. Glass plate negatives are restricted. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1795, 2532.

Town and Gown Players. Programs, 1935-1937. 5 items. Location: Misc:T. Community theater group in Baton Rouge. Programs from productions at the LSU University Theatre. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4616.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, LSU

Town, Clarissa E. Leavitt, b. ca. 1806. Diary, 1853, 1954, undated 4 items, 1 ms. vol. [typescript copy]. Location: A:4, Map case:D-5, S-24. Native of Buffalo, New York, living in the home of her daughter and son-in-law, the Reverend A. H. Lamon, in Devall, West Baton Rouge Parish, La. Entries pertain to trips to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the religious and social life of the slaves, and holiday celebrations. Collection includes a photocopy of a section of the Persac map (1858). Also available on microfiche 2729 (Southern Historical Manuscripts, Plantation Records 1799-1900), Greenwood Publishing Co., Microform Division, Westport, Conn. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1376.

Tunnard, Fred D. Speech, 1860. 1 item. Location: Misc.:T. Manufacturer of farming equipment in Baton Rouge. Typewritten copy of a speech made by Tunnard on the Fourth of July. For further information, see online catalog.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

Tunnard, Fred D. Diary, 1868-1870. 1 vol. Location: H:20. Manufacturer of farming equipment in Baton Rouge. Diary gives personal notes, expenditures, and lists of names of planters visited while traveling through Louisiana to sell equipment. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 596.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

Tureaud, A.P. Collection, 1963-1964. 45 items. MISC:T. A.P. Tureaud, Sr. was the principal attorney for the Louisiana NAACP, handling nearly all desegregation and civil rights cases in Louisiana from the 1940s through the 1960s. In 1964, he represented six African-American students in a lawsuit against the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors. These students became the first to integrate LSU's undergraduate program. This collection consists of photocopies of a selection of documents from the A.P. Tureaud Papers at the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University. Documents include legal correspondence and court records related to this 1964 case. Mss. 5222.

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

Tureaud, Benjamin. Family Papers, 1803-1932 (bulk 1849-1880). 3,332 items, 88 vols. Location: E:114-116, J:1-3, OS:T. Plantation and store owner of Bagatelle, Brule, and Houmas plantations in Ascension and St. James parishes, Louisiana. Papers include plantation records, business records, and correspondence of Benjamin Tureaud and his family. Some records document merchandise sold to African American laborers. Partly in French. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 1, Reels 3-13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 427.

Turnbull, Dudley and family. Papers, 1834-1964. 299 items, 12 manuscript volumes. Location: W:40, OS:T. African American plasterer of Baton Rouge. Papers include personal and religious correspondence; business records; school workbooks; and photographs of Turnbull family members, religious events, and McKinley High School (Baton Rouge) faculty. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2907.

Turnbull-Allain Family Papers, 1784-1941 (bulk 1820-1890). 15 linear ft. Location: C:98-112, OS:T, 99:T. The Turnbull and Allain families were cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana, West Baton Rouge, and Iberville parishes, Louisiana. Papers include correspondence, legal and financial documents, and plantation records. Included are a large number of Braille writings of Helene Allain, some written while she studied and taught at the Louisiana Institute for the Blind in Baton Rouge. Plantation papers include lists of slaves and laborers. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 19-34. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4261.

Turnbull-Bowman-Lyons Family Papers, 1797-1955 (bulk 1820-1910). 3.5 linear ft. Location: C:113-115, OS:T. Sugar and cotton planters with properties in West Feliciana Parish, Iberville Parish, Pointe Coupee Parish, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Correspondence, plantation management papers, financial papers, legal documents, personal papers, and printed and graphic materials documenting the lives of members of the Turnbull, Pirrie, Lyons, Bowman, Barrow, Stirling, and Fort families. Correspondence discusses plantation, slave, financial, and social matters, and includes antebellum letters. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 34-38. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4026.

Union soldier Frank Civil War letter, 1863 April 13. 1 item (4 pages). Location: Misc:A. Union soldier's letter from Baton Rouge to his sister Ann relating details of his present situation and his impression of the local population, of Baton Rouge, and of nearby plantations. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3309.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, Baton Rouge

Union soldier Oscar Civil War letters, 1863. 2 items. Location: Misc:U Letters from a Union soldier to his brother, from Camp Banks in Baton Rouge, discussing family news, soldier friends, illness caused by drinking Mississippi River water, scarcity of supplies and money, property destruction, and not attacking Port Hudson. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3271.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Union Soldier William. Letters, 1862-1863. 2 letters. MISC:U. Two letters written by William, a Union soldier, to his mother and sister. Letter dated February 23, 1863 at Baton Rouge describes the unfamiliar weather, traveling on the Mississippi River, and the sight of hundreds of  "contraband slaves while marching in the streets of the city. A December 29, 1862 letter written in Philadelphia includes descriptions of life in camp, food and Christmas rations, the soldiers' treatment by civilians, and the layout of the city. Mss. 5234.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge, African Americans

Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge. Newsletters, 1971-1986. 0.5 linear ft. Location: 77:63. Newsletters, fliers, and announcements. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4594.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Baton Rouge

United Daughters of the Confederacy, Baton Rouge Chapter. Collection, 1899. 1 item. Location: OS:U. Charter of the Baton Rouge Joanna Waddill Chapter no. 294 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, signed at Nashville, Tenn., by the president and the secretary of the association. The charter gives the names of 22 charter members. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War, Baton Rouge

United States Army 77th Colored Infantry Regiment. Records, 1864-1865. 9 items. Location: OS:U. The 77th Infantry Regiment of the United States Colored Troops was organized on April 4, 1864, from the 5th Corps d'Afrique Infantry. Primarily muster rolls for Company H, providing name, rank, where joined and mustered (most enrolled in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, or Franklin, Louisiana), record of payment, and comments on status such as present, deserted, or dead and cause of death. The record of enlistment, pay received, and clothing issued for Privates James Jones and Anthony Whitaker of the 13th Infantry Corps d'Afrique are also present. A physical description of each soldier is included, as well as the location of his nativity. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4065.

United States. Ordnance Office. Letter, 1853. 1 item. Location: E74. Letter from Colonel Henry Knox Craig, Chief of Ordnance, Washington, to Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, with endorsement by the latter, regarding the appointment of Captain R. A. Wainwright to the command of the Baton Rouge Arsenal. Part of the United States Army Collection. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2078.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Vialet family. Papers, 1799-1875, 1959 (bulk 1815-1855). 78 items. Location: 19:10. Personal and business letters and financial and legal documents of the Vialet family of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Catherine Miranda de Casas and Pierre Ladouceur of Baton Rouge, B. Piveteau-Fleury of New Orleans, and the Bissonet, Primeau, and Ladouceur families of St. Louisi Missori. Mss. 5082.

Violette, Eugene M. Collection, 1785-1945. 4.3 linear feet. Z:3-4; OS:V; 99:V. Correspondence, printed material, writings, and LSU memorabilia comprise the Eugene M. Violette papers. Correspondence is of a professional nature reflecting Violette's association with the University, professional organizations, publishers, and colleagues. Printed items include newspapers and clippings related to Louisiana, football, World Wars I and II, and Huey Long's assassination. Imprints and publications pertain to a variety of topics including, early LSU history. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 615, 893.

Viosca, Percy, Jr. Photograph collection, circa 1920-1960. 904 black and white negatives; 782 gelatin silver prints; 259 resin coated paper prints. Location: 145:56-57. While employed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Percy Viosca documented the coastal Louisiana landscape between 1921 and 1932. He traveled the state for his work that included mosquito control; riparian and marshland studies; flood control; taxonomic work with native Louisiana irises, newts, and snakes; culture of crawfish; and environmental impact of oil refinery practices. The images in this collection document locations on or near the Louisiana coast and a few sites inland. All images refer to water quality, water control, or environmental conditions affecting water quality. Mss. 4948.