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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Simpson, Lewis P. Papers, 1923-2004 (bulk 1980-2000). 24 linear ft. Location: 95:83-106. Professor of English at Louisiana State University, 1948-1980. Collection documents the professional life of Simpson and includes correspondence, essays, drafts, conference materials, articles, memos, photographs, reviews, speeches and lectures, reports, meeting minutes, bibliographies, awards, clippings, poems, film projects, television scripts, contracts, and curriculum vitas. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4412.

Referenced in Guides: Education, Baton Rouge, LSU, Literature

Sims, Robert Nicholls. Address, 1903. 1 item (typed transcription). Location: MISC:S. Louisiana educator and public official, and New Orleans banker. Address given at the ground-breaking services for Alumni Hall on the old campus of LSU. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2347.

Sims, Robert Nicholls. Diary, 1885-1886. 1 vol. Location: M:20. Father of Nita Sims Breazeale, and father-in-law to H. Payne Breazeale, prominent Baton Rouge, Louisiana, residents. Diary kept while Robert Sims attended LSU describe academic life when Sims was a student at LSU. Entries concern his studies, student life, and social life. Diary entries For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2442.

Referenced in Guides: Education, Baton Rouge, LSU

Skimmers Club. Records, 1921-2005. 2 linear feet. Location: 92:20-21. Social group and unofficial book club formed by wives of LSU faculty in 1927. Includes scrapbooks (1946-2000) containing clippings, photos, banquet invitations and napkins, guest lists, bylaws, bulletins, correspondence, Thank You cards, memorials, and obituaries. Collection also includes historical data, rules, bylaws, officer and member lists, treasurer's reports and meeting minutes and agendas, and book lists. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4625.

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

Skipwith, Fulwar, 1765-1839. Records and account book, 1794-1815 (bulk 1794-1799). 3 items, including 1 vol., 1 mf reel. Location: Vault, Mss.Mf:S. Consul to France during the French Revolution and later a planter in Baton Rouge. Account book contains official and personal accounts while Skipwith was consul in Paris, France. Entries report names of American ships, descriptions of cargo, and accounts of individuals including James Monroe and Thomas Pinckney. Two loose items are a record of the import and sale of American cotton in the 1790s and a deposition dealing with the sale of cotton in 1815. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2000.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Transportation, Business, Baton Rouge

Skipwith, Fulwar, 1765-1839. Correspondence, 1797-1826. 37 items, 1 mf reel. Location: Vault:22, Mss.Mf:S. Consul to France during the French Revolution and later a planter in Baton Rouge. Most of the correspondence is addressed to Skipwith at Montesano Plantation near Baton Rouge, and relates to political and civic matters, and financial affairs. Collection also includes an account book (1795-1797). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2024.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Baton Rouge

Skipwith, Fulwar, 1765-1839. Document, 1807. 1 item. Location: Misc:S.. Consul to France during the French Revolution and later a planter in Baton Rouge. Official letter from the director of the General Liquidation of the Public Debt of France. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1257.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Business, Baton Rouge, French

Skolfield, Grace Lane. Papers, 1909, 1949. 9 items. Location: Misc.:S. Blank lumber forms and legal documents from members of the Skolfield Family of Baton Rouge. Included is a United States Office of Price Administration Rental Dwelling Form (1942). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2510-83.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Slowey, Robert M. Photographs, circa 1961-1979. 1,912 color slides [35mm]. Location: V:48. 1941 graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. Images depict various plantations (buildings, grounds, and remains), historic markers, churches, banks, schools, museums, courthouses, hospitals, cemeteries, ruins, landscapes, and other architectural sites in Louisiana and Mississippi. Mss. 4598.

Smith, J. L. Letter, 1844. 1 item. Location: Misc.:S. Resident of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Letter from Smith to a brother in North Carolina, telling of the sinking of the steamer Belle of Nashville by the steamer Louisiana above Baton Rouge. Part of the George DeForest Collection. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1525.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Smith, Mrs. Bel W. Letter, 1865. 1 item. Location: Misc.:S. Resident of Baton Rouge. Letter to Mrs. Daigre regarding the rental of her home. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 396.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Business, Baton Rouge

Smith, Winifred Thomas. Papers, 1901-1958. .5 linear ft. Location: D:80, LSU alumna and Baton Rouge resident. Daughter-in-law of James Monroe Smith, Sr., past president of LSU. Photographs, correspondence, printed items, illustrations, and other materials related to the football career and later life of Arthur J. 'Tommy' Thomas, Winifred's father. Items related to Winifred's academic and social life at LSU are included. Some items in the collection belonged to James Monroe Smith, Sr. Vault. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3517.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Snee, J. E. (Joseph Emmett), 1895-1966, Photograph collection. 1914-1944. 41 items (35 are photographic copies, 6 are photocopies). Resident of Baton Rouge, employee of the Standard Oil Company, and director of the Stancola Refinery Band. Photographs made or collected by Snee of LSU students, Governor Ruffin G. Pleasant's inauguration, World War I military service, Baton Rouge landmarks, and Standard Oil Company. Collection also includes two band programs and other ephemera. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4069.

Sommer, Ray. Concert programs, 1929-1960. 268 items. Location: W:2. LSU assistant registrar (1926-1971). Programs collected by Sommer of various types of musical performances, given chiefly in Baton Rouge, including operatic, orchestral, and individual and choral performances. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2600-73.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Baton Rouge, LSU

Southern Mutual Insurance Company. Register, 1859-1862. 1 ms. Vol. Location: M:20. Insurance company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Register contains subscribers to capital stock of the company. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 992.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

St. James Episcopal Church (Baton Rouge, La.). Papers, 1843-1895. 12 items, 5 vols. Location: A:17. Protestant Episcopal Church of Baton Rouge. Papers, pamphlets, and volumes pertaining to the St. James Episcopal Church. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Baton Rouge

St. Vincent's Academy panoramic photograph, circa 1920s. 1 item. Location: OS:S. Catholic boys' academy in Baton Rouge. The academy was founded in 1894 and became Catholic High School for Boys in 1929. Panoramic photograph depicting Brothers of the Sacred Heart and students in front of St. Vincent's Academy. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4586.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Education, Baton Rouge

Standard Oil Company of Louisiana. Baton Rouge office photograph, August 13, 1930. 1 panoramic photograph. Location: OS:S. Panoramic photograph is a group shot, most likely of employees, outside of the Baton Rouge office. Mss. 5145.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

Steele, Oliver Brice. Andrew Lytle photograph collection, 1816-1904. 36 items. Location: D:96. Confederate veteran, Baton Rouge banker, and Louisiana state auditor who collected these photographs by Andrew David Lytle, a Baton Rouge photographer. Collection contains various photographic media. Included are cabinet cards and prints of etchings of Louisiana governors (ca. 1816-1904), cabinet cards of LSU officials and cadets, and 8x10 enlargements of photographs of steamboats. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4028.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Transportation, Civil War, Baton Rouge, LSU

Stevens, John B. Diary, 1863 April 21-August 21. 1 vol. ; 17 x 8 cm. Location: Misc.:S. Farmer from Petersham, Massachusetts, enlisted in the United States Army, Massachusetts 53rd Infantry, Sept. 15, 1862. He served as a private until he was mustered out Sept. 3, 1863. Civil War diary gives an account of Stevens' stay in a Baton Rouge hospital. Suffering from dysentery, he described his condition and treatment; he also mentioned the deaths of fellow soldiers. One entry (June 17, 1863) tells of preparations made for more wounded arriving from Vicksburg, Mississippi. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4711.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge, Medicine

Stewart, Ashton L. Papers, 1790-1967. 0.6 linear ft. Location: 91:29. Lawyer for the law suit of the Recreation and Park Commission for East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, versus Al. H. German. Papers include correspondence, manuscript documents, Baton Rouge maps, and legal documents. There are also five color photographs of Magnolia Mound Plantation house and grounds. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2445.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge

Stones, Margaret. Native flora of Louisiana collection, 1974-2014, undated. 2.3 linear ft. Location: 42:, 43:57. Internationally known British botanical artist. Items pertain to Margaret Stones' work on the Native Flora of Louisiana watercolors and their subsequent exhibition and reproduction for Louisiana State University. Items include correspondence, memoranda, planning documents, printed materials, and photographs. Collection is unprocessed, and some materials are restricted. Mss. 4781. 

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Stopher, Henry Wallace. Papers, 1882-1944 (bulk 1914-1940). 1.5 linear ft., 1 volume. Location: UU:134-135, OS:S. Head of the Department of Music and later Director of the School of Music, Louisiana State University (1915-1940). Collection includes Stopher's correspondence and related papers and his records during the period he was associated with LSU. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2224.

Stovall, James L. Papers, 1989-1992. 6.6 linear ft., 2 sound cassettes. Location: 10:67-70. Methodist minister of Baton Rouge. Papers include personal files related to the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism and documents related to David Duke. Includes correspondence, information sheets, advertisements, press releases, reports, speeches by Duke, and clippings. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4467.

Stumberg, Jo, 1902-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1978. Transcript (109 pages); 2 sound cassettes (1 hour, 50 minutes). Location: L:4700.0061. Baton Rouge educator. Interview discusses campus life, Strumberg's first Master's thesis on women's occupations in Baton Rouge, and her career as elementary school teacher and LSU teacher. She mentions being fired by Huey Long, the expansion of LSU, and the status of women in 1920-1930s. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0061.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Education, Baton Rouge, LSU, Long Family

Survey Collection, 1786-1928. 2 linear ft, 1 mf reel. Location: E:106-107, OS:S, Mss. Mf:S. Collection consists of land surveys, chiefly by Spanish surveyors, in central, south, and southeastern Louisiana, including East Baton Rouge Parish and Orleans Parish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 552, 743, 933, 936, 955, 961. Container list.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, New Orleans to 1861, Baton Rouge

Suydam, G. H. Photograph collection, 1845-1864 (bulk 1863-1864). 26 items. Location: E:73, MISC:S, 98:Suydam. Captain in the 162nd New York Volunteers in the Civil War. Photographs depicting occupied Baton Rouge, Farragut's fleet, and a Union military headquarters and hospital, probably taken by Baton Rouge photographers McPherson and Oliver. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1394.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge, Medicine

Suydam, George H. Correspondence, 1861-1899, undated (bulk: 1863-1865). 1.2 linear ft. Location: E:72. Collection is comprised of correspondence received by George H. Suydam before, while, and after he served as a lieutenant and captain in the United States Army during the Civil War. Letters were received from family members and friends. Topics include information about daily life, family life, the war, and other current events. Collection also contains some printed materials. Mss. 5307.

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

Swaye, Frank J. Collection, circa 1839-1999, (bulk 1955-1969). 0.75 linear ft. Location: V:99, 104:-105. Materials related to Swaye's studies as a student in geography at Louisiana State University. Materials cover field research of the Mississippi River Delta and South Pass mudlumps (1966-1970). Field notes and photographs by Fred B. Kniffen cover trips to False River and Pierre Part, Louisiana (circa 1955). Collection materials comprise research-related photographs, slides, field notes, maps, printed materials, and news clippings. Mss. 5212.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, New Orleans 1866-, Baton Rouge, Acadiana, LSU

Sykes, George. Letter, 1868 August 29. 1 item. Location: Misc.:S. Career United States Army officer. Letter written from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, addressed to General Charles P. Kingsbury concerning the murder of Dr. Brannan by Lieutenant McFee at the Baton Rouge Barracks. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3196.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Tate, General Foster Joseph. Photograph album, circa 1920-1929. 0.20 linear ft. Location: 65:2. Foster Joseph Tate was a field artillery officer who commanded a division in Italy during World War II and was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service. The photograph album (unbound) contains 103 black and white gelatin silver prints mounted on paper showing scenes from several locations in Louisiana during the 1920s. Mss. 4963.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans 1866-, Baton Rouge, Acadiana

Taylor, Cecil G., 1909- interviewee, Oral history interview. 12 sound cassettes (14 hours), Transcript (590 p.). LSU French professor, assistant to the president, dean of arts and sciences, and chancellor. In a series of 8 interviews, Taylor describes his career as a French professor and administrator at LSU. He describes his family background, his education at the University of North Carolina, and his French language studies and Cajun French. He also describes Baton Rouge beginning in the 1930s, Huey Long and Louisiana politics, and the desegregation of education in Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0071.

Taylor, John M. (John McCarthney), d. 1867. Papers, 1861-1866. 4 items. Location: Misc.:T. Editor of the Baton Rouge Advocate and captain of the Baton Rouge Rangers, mustered into the Confederate army as Company B, 1st Louisiana Cavalry, during the Civil War. Papers consist of a bond issued by the Police Jury of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, for the purpose of arming and equipping Taylor's company; and a U.S. Internal Revenue license issued for the occupation of manufacturer. Other items include a tax receipt issued to A. Monton, Jr., by the Board of Education for Freedmen for 1864 taxes in East Baton Rouge Parish; and a Confederate States tax receipt. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Tennant, William W. Picture collection, circa 1905-1909. 15 items. Location: U:238, OS:T. Photographs of LSU cadets; post card of LSU football team; and colored post cards of LSU Bird's eye view, Garig Hall, Louisiana State Capitol (old), and Governor's Mansion. Also includes a panoramic photographs of the cadets outside of the Pentagon Barracks of the old campus. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2063.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, LSU

Tessier Buildings invitation and porgram, 1978. 2 items. Location: Misc.:T. Judge Charles Tessier was owner and resident of the Tessier Buildings. Program and invitation for the dedication of plaques noting their designation as historic buildings by the National Register of Historic Places. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3393.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Tessier, Charles. Papers, 1810-1848. 26 items. Location: A:63. Parish judge in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Papers of Charles Tessier include a set of letters in French written by Tessier and J. Soulie, a representative of the firm Tanneret & Gourgon, concerning a court case involving a property dispute with a Mr. Dubreuil; letters from John Nicholson concerning Tessier's stewardship of the Baton Rouge branch of the Carrollton Bank of New Orleans; a cadastral map showing property owned by Tessier; and a letter of friendly salutations from Richard Raynal Keene. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 238.

The People, (Baton Rouge, La.), 1903 Oct. 12. 1 item (v. 33 cm.). Location: OS:P. Issue of "The People", a Baton Rouge newspaper, supporting General Leon Jastremski for governor of Louisiana in the Democratic primary. Other candidates announced include William G. Randolph for sheriff and Charles F. Ratcliff for representative from East Baton Rouge Parish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1155.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge

The Reviewers Records, 1920-2015 (bulk: 1960-1970).  0.6 linear feet.  Location: 6:64.  Minutes, bylaws, officer lists, and yearbooks of The Reviewers, a Baton Rouge women's book discussion club organized in 1920.  Mss. 5195. 

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge

Thom, Evelyn. Papers, 1768-2005, undated (bulk 1960-2005). 5.5 linear ft. Location: 119:8-10, OS:T. A local historian and historic preservationist of Baton Rouge, La. Papers consist of photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, genealogical charts, meeting minutes, and publications. Subjects include Baton Rouge history, prominent Baton Rouge individuals and families, and historic preservation and restoration of historic properties in Baton Rouge. Mss. 5079.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge

Thompson, Josie. Papers, 1939-1995 (bulk 1946-1949). 1.25 linear ft. Location: X:14. Louisiana State University alumna and press correspondent for United Press International, who covered the Nuremberg Military Tribunals (1946-1949). Collection primarily consists of her typed reports of the trials and other events in post-WWII Germany. Also included are photographs, legal briefs, and personal items. Mss. 5046.

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