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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Voorhies, L. J. (Louis Joseph). Blueprints, circa 1910-1975 (bulk 1923-1948), approximately 105 items. Location: MAP CAGE: CASE 1, DRAWERS 3-9; MAP CAGE FLAT; OS:V. Civil engineer for the city of Baton Rouge. Blueprints, drawings, and maps of civil engineering projects in Baton Rouge, Plaquemine, Port Allen, Slidell, and other places. The blueprints include architectural drawings and engineering plans of Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University. Items of special interest include plans (June 1941, undated) for the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola and maps showing the location of African-American and white households in Baton Rouge. Collection is unprocessed but open for use. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2960.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, African Americans, LSU

W.P.A. Louisiana Historical Records Survey Police Jury Minutes Transcriptions, 1811-1941 206 linear feet on 581 reels. Typed, printed, and handwritten transcriptions of Police Jury minutes and ordinances for 60 of 64 Louisiana parishes. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2984.

Waddill Family Papers, 1835-1994 (bulk 1861-1866). 0.5 linear ft. Location: E:18. George Daniel Waddill, a Baton Rouge druggist, was the son of Abel Waddill, Baton Rouge magistrate. George served as a hospital steward in the Civil War. Joanna Fox, later his wife, served as a nurse. Papers contain correspondence, including Civil War correspondence of George Waddill; genealogical information on the Waddill and Bessonett families; and an autograph book of Elizabeth McMichael. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4578.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War, Baton Rouge, Medicine

Waddill, George D. (George Daniel). Papers, 1841-1892 (bulk 1861-1865). 21 items. Location: Misc:W. Confederate soldier in the Civil War and Baton Rouge druggist. Waddill served in the 3rd Louisiana Infantry Regiment. In 1863 he was appointed as a hospital steward. Civil War papers include military furlough and travel passes; Confederate bonds; military orders assigning Waddill to hospitals in Mississippi; an 1865 document granting parole to G. D. Waddill; and Waddill's 1865 Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Collection includes a letter from L. B. LeCand written from Corinth, Mississippi, to Joanna Fox of Natchez giving an account of the Battle of Shiloh. Available on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 3. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 891, 893.

Wall, Evans. Papers, 1924-1990 (bulk 1927-1963). 12 linear ft. Location: 91:30-35. Louisiana author, resident of Baton Rouge, and native of Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Papers include correspondence, legal documents, printed items, typescripts, and manuscript drafts of Wall's literary works. Other papers include personal correspondence and photographic prints, negatives, and tintypes. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4411.

Wall, Richard. Account books, 1844-1857. 6 vols. Location: J:6. Merchant of West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Ledgers, journal, cash book, and record book of Richard Wall. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 484.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

Waller, William. Survey collection, circa 1798-1955 (bulk circa 1847-1890, 1910-1920). 9 linear ft., 1 microfilm reel. Location: 7:47-49, 56, Z:27, Vault:72, MSS.MF:W, 104:-105:. William and his brother Henry were parish surveyors for East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Plats, legal documents, notes, and correspondence related to surveys of the City of Baton Rouge, East and West Baton Rouge Parishes, and Greensburg, St. Helena, and Southeast Land Districts. Plats of other parishes in south Louisiana are also included. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3592, 3910, 4326.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Walsh, Henry Hicky. Papers, 1841-1892, 1941. 9 items. Location: OS:W. Prominent New Orleans lawyer and grandson of Philip Hicky of Hope Estate Plantation, Baton Rouge. Papers consists of correspondence relating to family matters; certificate for land purchased by Armoigene Crochet and Senfroid Chedotale of Assumption Parish, Louisiana (Oct. 6, 1841); academic paper on classical literature (1854); commission from Governor Thomas O. Moore to Walsh for an appointment as 2nd lieutenant of the Pargoud Volunteers, Louisiana Militia (1861); newspaper picture of Hope Plantation; Walsh's diploma from University of Louisiana (1861); and obituary of Henry Hicky Walsh (1892). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1622.

Walsh, Henry Hicky, 1833-1892. Family papers, 1808-1884 (bulk 1851-1884). 17 items. Location: Misc. Henry Hicky Walsh received a law degree from the University of Louisiana in 1856 and practiced law in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. These papers include a typescript of the will of Daniel Hicky (1808); letters received by Henry Walsh from family members (1851-57); a typescript of an obituary of Philip Hicky (1859); a funeral notice for his third son, Phillip Hicky Walsh (1867); and other personal letters and legal papers by Henry H. Walsh (1869-84). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4372.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans 1866-, Baton Rouge

Ward, John Langdon. Lantern Slides Collection, ca. 1800. 107 glass lantern slides. Location: 65:09. John Langdon Ward served with the 19th Corps through the siege of Port Hudson and was commissioned Major of the 3rd Infantry Corps d'Afrique (the third regiment of African-American troops in the United States, changed to 75th United States Colored Infantry July 24, 1863). Collection consists of 107 glass lantern slides (3.25" x 4.00") documenting the aftermath of the Siege of Port Hudson, La., May 23-July 9, 1863. John Langdon Ward may have created these slides around 1880. For further information, see online catalog or LOUISiana Digital Library. Mss. 4875.

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

Ward, Joseph. Record book, 1894. 1 vol. Location: J:6. Music instructor of Baton Rouge. Record book containing music and lyrics. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 439.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Baton Rouge

Watson, Henry Clay. Manuscript, 1962 Oct. 3. 1 item. Location: Misc.:W. Report on the Baton Rouge Arsenal prepared from source materials in the National Archives and Library of Congress by Henry Clay Watson. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1973.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, Medicine

WBRZ collection, 1969-1970. 337 items, 3 reels. Location: X:54. Television station in Baton Rouge. Collection includes script, film, and slides from a television broadcast about Solitude Plantation, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana; a collection of pictures of historical subjects; and a videotape of an interview originally made by the LSU CCTV system. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2459, 2528.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge, LSU

Weeks, David. Family Papers, 1782-1957 (bulk 1830-1870). 10,106 items, 15 vols. Location: 70, J:6, X:76, Mss. Mf.:W . The Weeks and related Conrad, Moore, and Gibson families were planters of New Iberia, Louisiana, and other areas in south Louisiana. Papers document the sugar plantation economy; cotton planting; slaves and free African American laborers; railroad building; state and national politics; education; and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Includes early papers of Charles N. Conrad, U.S. senator; political correspondence of John Moore, U.S. congressman; and a microfilmed inventory of The Shadows in New Iberia. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution to the Civil War, Series I, Part 6, Reels 1-20. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 528, 605.

West Florida Rebellion Papers, 1810, 1816, 1845. 15 items, 1 mf reel. Location: C:18, Mss.Mf:S., Vault MRDF 6, Vault:1. Documents pertaining to the West Florida Rebellion contain reports of the convention in Baton Rouge; reports to representatives of the people of West Florida; and orders and reports by Colonel Philomen Thomas to the inhabitants of West Florida. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 721.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge

Western Voice circular, 1968. 2 items. Location: E:Imprints. Weekly tabloid which claimed to uphold fundamentalism, pre-millenarianism, and the second coming of Christ. Circular entitled 'Ten Million White People to be Driven From Their Homes to Make Room for Black Communist Soviet,' printed in the Western Voice. Includes a clipping from the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate (1968). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3052.

Wheeler, Otis B. Religious architecture in Louisiana, photographic negatives. 1987-1993. 1 volume. Location: 19:13. Photographer of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 99 negative file sleeves containing color negatives (120 and 35mm) depicting religious architecture in Louisiana. Contact proof sheets of negatives are included. Images for the book Religious Architecture in Louisiana were selected from these negatives. An index listing structures alphabetically by city or town is included, with information about style, date of construction, architect (when known), National Register listings, and date of photograph. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4678.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Baton Rouge

White, David. Papers, 1796, 1809. 2 items. Location: Misc.:W. Resident of the District of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Grant of land to David White (1796) signed by Baron de Carondelet; and a conveyance of land form David White to Parson Carter (1809). In Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, Baton Rouge

White, Julian T. Papers, 1927-2010 (bulk 1965-2010). 6 linear ft., 18 rolled plan sets. Location: 120:, OS:W. Architect and first African American faculty member of LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Many of his projects involved Louisiana Baptist churches and Louisiana schools. Papers consist of architectural project materials (including project files and architectural designs and plans of various formats and sizes), teaching materials, and personal papers (including personal correspondence, portfolio materials, sermons, speeches, and printed materials). Mss. 5083.

White, Maunsell, ca. 1780-. Letterbook, 1845-1850. 1 ms. vol. Location: Mf.:W., Misc.:W. Sugar planter of Deer Range Plantation, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Letterbook containing family and business letters dealing with sugar planting, processing, and slavery; politics; support for a university in Louisiana; and the planning and construction of the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge. Original letterbook is located at the University of North Carolina Library. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2888.