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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Coleman, Viola, Collection, 1945-2008 (bulk: 1945-1947). 44 items. Location: Misc:C. Midland, Texas physician and Louisiana civil rights pioneer. Contains photocopies of correspondence, news clippings, and video transcript detailing Coleman's lawsuit for admission into LSU's medical school in 1946. For more information see online catalog. Mss. 4997.

College of Baton Rouge. Records, 1836-1853. 17 items, 4 vols. Location: Misc:C, F:6. College organized in Baton Rouge in 1837, the successor to the Baton Rouge Academy, which had been founded in 1820. Presidents of the college included Pierre Dubayle, William B. Lacey, and R. H. Ranney. Account books, a minute book of the Board of Trustees, ledgers, printed materials, and miscellaneous memoranda document the college's organization and operation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 78.

Referenced in Guides: Education, Baton Rouge

Colonial Dames of XVII Century: The Louisiana Society, Isaac Monet Chapter. Records, 1952-1992. 14 items, 15 volumes. Location: Misc:C, 7:25-27. Scrapbooks containing programs, publicity, photographs, and other items pertaining to the Isaac Monet Chapter, as well as some materials relating to the national organization. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3748.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge

Common Cause Louisiana Records, 1972-1991 (bulk: 1980-1990). 24.0 linear ft. Location: IMCCL. Consists of administrative and subject files for local and regional branches of a national citizen advocacy organization. Includes correspondence, newsletters, reports, printed materials, ephemera, and other records documenting group structure and activities. Records address political issues such as campaign finance reform, civil rights, nuclear disarmament, fair elections, wasteful government spending, and official corruption. For additional information, see online catalog. Mss. 4469.

Conservation of Cultural Resources. Louisiana committee minutes, 1942 January 17. 1 item. Location: Misc. Minutes presenting the importance of creating the Louisiana Committee to act with the national organization during World War II emergency. Persons in charge of cultural and official depositories of records in New Orleans and Baton Rouge are named. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1830.

Cooney, John F. Letter, 1862 June 4. 1 letter. Location: Misc. A letter written by John F. Cooney, a Confederate soldier stationed at Camp Moore, Tangipahoa Parish, La., to his family in West Baton Rouge Parish, La., mentions a Federal bombardment of Baton Rouge and asks about family news. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4314.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Cooper, Emil. Papers, 1954-1959. 12 items, 1 printed vol. Location: U:115. Musical director and conductor of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. Letters to members of the Youth Concert Committee of the Junior League of Baton Rouge and the Symphony Auxiliary, concerning the Youth Concerts and, in particular, the production of Peter and the Wolf. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1929.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Baton Rouge

Cooper, William A. (William Abb), 1890-1970. Scrapbooks, 1930-1950. 2 vols. Location: 40:. Louisiana Division of Motor Vehicles chief, Supervisor of Public Accounts, East Baton Rouge assessor, and State Collector of Revenue. Scrapbooks consist of news clippings detailing Cooper's career as state employee. Volume 2 includes loose clippings relating to Louisiana scandals (1939) and to Cooper's role as auditor. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4093.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge

Cotton, William Davis and Family. Papers, 1852-1989. 1 linear ft., 4 vol. Location: S:136, OS:C, H:14. Collection contains correspondence and papers belonging to the Cotton Family. This includes the Civil War correspondence of Dr. Drury P. Gibson and his sister Mary Gibson Cotton, correspondence between George Spencer Cotton and his fiancée Lizzie Davis (1888-1890), and correspondence, photographs, and printed items belonging to William Davis Cotton, attorney of Rayville, La, and former president of LSU Alumni Federation (1969-1989). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4780.

Cousinard, Edward. Papers, 1829-1909 (bulk 1863-1875). 848 items, 7 ms. vols. Location: B:140-142, OS:C, O:59. Public official of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Cousinard served as Baton Rouge mayor, parish sheriff, and superintendent of the Louisiana Institute for the Blind. Papers include memorandum books (1862-1869) and a receipt book (1865-1866); a list of members of the Vigilante Committee (1862-1865); and receipts and business letters pertaining to Cousinard's duties as sheriff. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 87.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Civil War, Baton Rouge

Crosby, Dixie Hammond. Family Papers, 1890-1992 (bulk: 1937-1965). 159 items, 3 v. Location: 34:, OS:C. Family papers of Mack Gerald Crosby, Dixie Lillie Myrtle Hammond Crosby, and their daughter Dixie Lee "Dee" Crosby Brown. Mack Crosby and Dixie Hammond were both from Baton Rouge, La. and attended Louisiana State University in the 1930?s. Mack Crosby served in the United States Air Force for over thirty years. This collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and, newspaper clippings relating to family affairs, work, and military service. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4805.

Currency collection,1756-1919 (bulk 1861-1864). 275 items. Location: Vault:4. Colonial currency issued by New Jersey; Continental currency issued by South Carolina; Civil War currency issued by the Confederate States of America, individual states, parishes, counties, cities, banks, and other private businesses or persons. Included is script issued by the City of Baton Rouge; and currency issued by the governments of Japan (Philippine occupation), Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, Italy, and Poland. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893, 965, 1177,1187, 1294, 1508, 3033, 3034, 3114, 3472, 3531, 4883.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Business, Baton Rouge

Curtis, John Calvin. Letter, circa 1862. 1 item. Location: Misc:C. John Calvin Curtis, a native of Bridgeport, Conn., joined Company I of the Connecticut 9th Infantry Regiment in 1861. Letter from Curtis in New Orleans, La describes his experience recuperating at St. James Hospital there, malnourishment among Union army soldiers, guerilla attacks on his regiment in sugar cane fields, the Battle of Baton Rouge (1862), and Union Army maneuvers. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4865.

Daigre, H. L. Report, 1862 August 12. 1 item. Location: Misc. Confederate captain and a member of the Creole Chargers in the 1st Louisiana Cavalry during the Civil War. Daigre's report to Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles of the Union naval losses on and after the first Battle of Baton Rouge and the names of the ships from Farragut's fleet participating in the burning of Donaldsonville. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1495.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

DAILY COMET (Baton Rouge, La.). New Year's greeting, 1855. 1 item. Location: OS:B. Baton Rouge newspaper. New Year's greeting from the newspaper carrier to its patrons. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Dakin, James H. Diary, 1847-1850. 1 v., 1 typescript, 1 mf reel. Location: V:47, Mss.Mf:D. Architect of New Orleans working in partnership with his brother and the architect James Gallier. Dakin designed the state capitol in Baton Rouge and various buildings in New Orleans. Diary concerns the planning and construction of the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Letters by Dakin, copied in the diary, describe details of the building and its construction. Note: original diary is restricted, permission of curator is required. Mss. 509.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Baton Rouge

Dakin, James H. Louisiana State Capitol drawing, circa 1847. 1 item [photostatic copy]. Location: OS:L. Architect's drawing of Old State Capitol Building, Baton Rouge. Original is in the National Archives. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3140.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Dalrymple, William Haddock, 1856-1925. Papers, 1905. 17 items, 1 vol. Location: U:47. Professor of veterinary science at LSU and a practicing veterinarian in Baton Rouge. Papers contain manuscript definitions of medical terms and notes on diseases, anatomy, organs, arthrology, mycology, bone structures, and other related topics. Included is a published work by Dalrymple, Livestock Sanitation (1923). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 604.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, Medicine

Dart, Elisabeth K. (Elizabeth Kilbourne). Collection, 1774-2005. 5.5 linear feet. Location: 121:8-11. Resident and local historian in St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Wrote about West Feliciana subjects including the Railroad, biographies of notable figures, and tours for Grace Cemetery. Collection contains manuscript and research materials used for exhibits, lectures, tours, and writing on West Feliciana Parish. Manuscripts include deeds, correspondence, accounting records, legal papers, court cases, and receipts. Other records include published materials, copies of original materials, scrapbooks, photographs, notes, and exhibit text. Mss. 5023.

Daughters of the American Revolution. Baton Rouge Chapter. Records, 1931-1985. 10 vols. Location: 53:. Scrapbook volumes contain publicity and business records, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, programs, and other printed items. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4086.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge