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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Brooks, Overton. Papers, 1898-1970 (bulk 1936-1961). 23.5 linear ft. 36 vols. Location: 35:67-77, 31:81, 50:81 P:15, OS:B, vault:3, 21. Baton Rouge and Shreveport, Louisiana, WWI veteran, attorney and U.S. congressman from Louisiana. Correspondence pertains largely to Brooks' congressional career, particularly his membership in the House Armed Services committee and the House Science and Aeronautics committee. Collection also contains photographs and diaries. Included in the correspondence are political and personal letters from Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson and items related to Brooks's own war service. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2492, 2520.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge, 20th Century Wars

Brown, Reddin. Papers, 1835-1838. 5 items. Location: OS:B. Resident of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Papers pertain to the mortgage of land and slaves, and include a land conveyance, an appraiser's certificate, and other legal documents. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, African Americans

Brown, Sarah Goodwin. Collection, 1840-1944. 31 items. Location: U:181. Materials documenting the history of Baton Rouge and Clinton, Louisiana. Included are two letters referring to the enlistment of a Northern school teacher in the Confederate army. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1573, 1986.

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

Brown, Silas H. Letter, 1863 May 22. 1 item. Location: Misc:B. Civil War soldier. Letter written at an unnamed army camp in Baton Rouge to his family. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4573.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Brunot, James M., d. 1856. Family Papers, 1827-1877. 27 items. Location: E:52, OS:B. Lawyer of Baton Rouge. Letters from Brunot to family members in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, deal with the death and estate of his brother Felix; economic development in Baton Rouge; and Louisiana inheritance laws, among other topics. A printed letter (1873) in French from the General Union of the French Societies of Mutual Aid in the United States supports republican government in France. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1242.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, French

Buckner, George W. Letterbook, 1866-1890. 1 ms. vol. Location: M:19. Baton Rouge lawyer. Letterpress copybook. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2212.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Buhler, John Christian and family. Papers, 1805-1952 (bulk 1824-1931). 437 items, 1 manuscript volume. Location: C:49, OS:B. Planter of Winters Plantation in Buhler's Plains near Baton Rouge. Collection includes family correspondence, chiefly of John Christian Buhler, John Robert Buhler, Mary Edith Buhler, Hester S. Simmons, and Jane (Jennie) Gillespie Buhler. Letters concern politics, notable persons, and social and economic conditions. Financial documents include a copy of an act of sale (1852) of a parcel of land by John Buhler and his wife to the town of Baton Rouge, now the site of Magnolia Cemetery. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1192, 1210, 1238, 1311, 1333.

Buhler, John Robert, 1829-1886. Papers, 1843-1914. 6 ms. vols. Location: H:17. John Robert Buhler was the son of John Christian Buhler, a planter of Buhler's Plains near Baton Rouge. After his marriage to Mary Reynolds, they lived at Independence Plantation, home of his grandparents, the Smiths, near Natchez, Mississippi. Papers include three volumes of a diary containing entries (1847-1849) reflecting family and social life on Independence Plantation and providing information on events in and around Natchez, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge. Includes another diary containing manuscript poems (1881-1914) by Mary Edith Buhler, an autograph book, and a notebook containing poems by Buhler. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1311.

Burden, Dan. Papers, 1860-1898. 8 items. Location: Misc.:B. Resident of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Business and legal papers, including a probate court record relating to claims against the succession of Oscar Barber (1879) and copy of the lease of Myrtle Grove Plantation by Mary A. Pike to Dan Burden (1898). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 255.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge

Burden, Ione and family. Papers, 1823-1980 (bulk 1900-1975). 13 linear ft. Location: P:39-45, OS:B. Louisiana State University (LSU) administrator and Baton Rouge philanthropist. Along with her brothers, Pike and Steele Burden, Ione Burden donated family land to establish the Burden Research Plantation and the LSU Rural Life Museum. Papers include correspondence, legal documents, financial papers, photographs, and scrapbooks of Ione Burden and her brothers. Collection documents Baton Rouge community events, family history, and Burden family philanthropic activities. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3063.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Burns, Paul Y. Papers, 1953-2011, (bulk: 1970-2011). 4.3 linear ft. Location: Y:104-108, OS: B. Member of the faculty at LSU School of Forestry and an active member in several community service organizations. The papers of Paul Y. Burns reflect his commitment to social and economic equality for all individuals regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. The collection is comprised of files of several community service organizations of which he was an active member, and in some cases a member of the board.  Material consists of minutes, newsletters, reports, correspondence, newspaper clippings, flyers and photographs related to the work of these groups to improve race relations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mss. 5183. 



Bussie, Fran. Papers, 1972-2013 (bulk 1975-1997). 0.25 linear ft. Location: X:79, OS:B. Frances “Fran” Martinez Bussie was born on May 6, 1935, in New Orleans, Louisiana, lived most of her life in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was a lobbyist for women’s, disabled, and aging rights. The collection consists of correspondence, photographs, awards, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera documenting primarily her political life and achievements. Mss. 5235.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Women, Education, Baton Rouge

Bussie, Victor. Papers, 1953-2012 (bulk 1976-2011). 0.3 linear foot, 1 volume. Location: X:78, OS:B. Victor Bussie was born on January 27, 1919, in Montrose, Louisiana, and served as the president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO from 1956 to 1997. He and his wife, Fran, became dominant forces in the Louisiana labor movement during the twentieth century. The collection consists of correspondence, photographs, federal government memorabilia, and articles documenting his personal and political life. Mss. 5237.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge

Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin). General orders no. 98, 1862 Nov. 20. 1 item. Location: E:74. The order corrects a previous official report that stated that the 7th Regiment of the Vermont Volunteers lost its colors at the Battle of Baton Rouge. Clarifying that it was not its regimental colors but rather its camp colors that the regiment lost, the order states that the colors will be restored to the regiment. Part of the United States Army Collection. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2312.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Bynum Family. Papers, 1814-1969 (bulk: 1913-1969). 1 linear foot, 26 v. Location: E:103-105, OS:B. Residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Papers contain correspondence, writings, diaries, financial records, and printed material, relating to family matters, social activities, World Wars I and II, Louisiana State University student life, and local and state government. There is also a scrapbook of the Female Orphan Association of Baton Rouge (1848-1861). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3104, 3174.

C. R. Graham and Co. account books, 1846-1848. 2 vols. Location: G:6. Merchants of West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Ledger and daybook of C. R. Graham and Co. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 479.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

Cabell, William Nicholas. Letters, 1936-1948. 1 microfilm reel; 35 mm. Location: Mss.Mf:C. Supervisor of the composing room of the BATON ROUGE STATE TIMES. Personal letters written to family members describe Baton Rouge in detail. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4547.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Cadwallader, Richard C. Collection, 1941-1945. 5 looseleaf binders, 6 printed vols. Location: 7:57-58. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, attorney. Printed materials pertaining to military administration during World War II including procedure regulations, technical manuals, book files, and handbooks. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2770.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, 20th Century Wars

Cale, John G. (John Gustav), 1922-. Papers, 1966-1968. 98 items, 1 vol., on microfilm. Location: Mss. Mf.:C. Thematic index cards and bound typewritten seminar paper list titles of manuscript and printed music of Henri and Joseph Amedee Fourrier in the LSU Library and the Baton Rouge School for the Blind. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2304.

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

Cale, John G. (John Gustav), 1922-. Abstract, 1967. 1 item. Location: Misc.:C. Genealogical data on the Henri Fourrier family of Baton Rouge taken from a paper by Cale, which he gave at an American Musicological Society meeting in New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2304.

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