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: 121:8-10, OS:D, Vault:5. 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

David F. Boyd Hall pencil drawing, circa 1930-1939. 1 drawing. Location: OS:B. A pencil drawing of David F. Boyd Hall on the campus of Louisiana State University. Mss. 265.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, LSU

Davis, E. F., 1841-1899. Papers, 1856-1899 (bulk 1872-1886). 0.25 linear feet. Location: A:72. Baton Rouge businessman who, along with several partners including Thomas B. Brown, formed the Grange Store and the Baton Rouge Cooperative Association. Collection consists of financial and business papers of the Grange Store, meeting minutes of the Baton Rouge Cooperative Association, photocopies of personal letters, and a death and funeral notice. One letter comments on the Civil War in Baton Rouge. Also includes the financial and legal papers of Thomas B. Brown, one of Davis' business partners. These papers consist of ledger sheets and bills for the sale and purchase of cotton, tax receipts, and promissory notes. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4312.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Business, Baton Rouge

Dawson, Mrs. Frank D. Collection, 1925, 1928, undated 4 items. Location: Misc. Papers consist of a program for the laying of the corner stone of the First Methodist Church of Baton Rouge (1925) and Christmas cards from Governors Long and Allen and their families. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1324.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge, Long Family

De Beguer, Emma. Letter, 1869. 1 item [photostat]. Location: Misc.:D. Resident of Baton Rouge. Personal letter by Miss de Beguer to a friend. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 778.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge, French

de Caro Francis A. and Rosan A. Jordan. Collection. 1956-2009, undated (bulk 1966-2003). 13 linear ft. Location: 11:19, 15:15-21. De Caro and Jordan were folklorists, authors, and Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, La.) professors. The collection includes personal and professional correspondence, writings, exhibitions, photographs, printed items consisting of brochures, handbills, newspapers, and posters; and topical files that document de Caro's folklore class at LSU, his work with the Louisiana Folklife Commission, and Jordan's work with the women's movement. Writings as well as exhibitions comprise material primarily related to folklore within Louisiana and British colonial life in India. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3197, 4089, 4164.

De Saulby, A. B. Manuscript map of Baton Rouge, ca. 1862. 1 item. Location: Misc.:D. Lieutenant of the Engineer Corps. Ink drawn map of Greenwell Springs Road and parallel Benton Ferry Road to the Comite River and Amite River at Denham Springs, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3623.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Dearborn, J. A. Letter. 1851. 1 item. Location: Misc. Methodist minister. Letter from Dearborn upon his arrival in Baton Rouge from Kentucky, giving a humorous account of travel on the Ohio River and telling of church work in Baton Rouge. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1525.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Transportation, Baton Rouge

Dehn, Adolf. Watercolors, 1943. 2 items. Location: OS:D. 20th century painter and lithographer . Watercolors of the Esso Standard Oil Refinery at Baton Rouge, La., entitled BUTADIENE STORAGE SPHERES AT NIGHT and PIPES LEADING FROM DOCKS TO THE REFINERY. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4497.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

Derman, Herbert. Scrapbook, 1937-1939. 1 volume. OS:D, AA:. Herbert Derman earned a Bachelor of Science from Louisiana State University in 1941, followed by a medical degree in 1943. Scrapbook contains newspaper clippings dated from 1937-1939. Most are from the Daily Reveille and pertain to the LSU football team. Others concern campus social events, such as speakers, dances, military parades, campus improvements, Homecoming, and political cartoons. Additional newspapers featured include the New Orleans Item and Knoxville News-Sentinel. Due to the fragility of the original, patrons must use digital scans. Mss. 5241.

Referenced in Guides: Education, Baton Rouge, LSU

Desmond, John. Papers, 1954-2003. 140 linear feet. Location: 32:-33:, 148:-149:, Map Cage. Office files, architectural drawings (design development, working, and final), photographs, and slides recording the architectural career of John Desmond, native of Hammond, La. and an award-winning Baton Rouge architect. He designed many of Baton Rouge's most recognizable buildings, including the LSU Union, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the Louisiana State Library, the Louisiana State Archives, and many area churches. Some business records and informational and promotional materials about the firm are present as well. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4792.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge, LSU

Devall-Hyams Family Papers and Photographs, 1824-1977 (bulk 1906-1913, 1918). 1.5 linear ft., 1 v. Location: T:31-32, J:20. Louisiana sugar planters. Collection consists of personal correspondence, legal documents, genealogies, and family photographs. Papers reflect family matters, personal activities, financial affairs, land transactions, and to a lesser extent the sugarcane crop at Orange Grove Plantation. Letters of Lillie Dickinson, Susie Devall comprise a large portion of the correspondence (1904-1913). Letters by Benjamin Devall concern military life in Georgia during World War II (1918). Photographs include an unidentified African American sugarhouse worker (undated). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4242.

Dixon, Margaret. Scrapbook, 1935-1972. 1 volume. Location: M:21. Native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Dixon was a journalist, editor, and dean of the Louisiana Capitol Press Corps. Scrapbook contains newspaper clippings, photographs, and other items which document Dixon's career as a journalist and editor of the Baton Rouge paper, Morning Advocate. Included are obituaries of Dixon and other posthumously collected materials.  Mss. 3003.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Women, Baton Rouge

Dixon, William Y., 1843-1874. Papers, 1860-1905 (bulk 1860-1874). 14 items (9 ms. vols.). Location: UU:119. Confederate soldier, student. Diaries record the battles at Baton Rouge (Aug. 1862), Vicksburg (1862), and Port Hudson (1863) and casualties suffered. Entries also refer to camp life 1860-1864), transportation of troops by steamboats (1863), diseases among soldiers and civilians (1860-1864), and the involvement of African American soldiers at Port Hudson. Other material relates to his education and financial affairs. Available on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 4. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3423.

Dougherty, J. W., Mrs. Pass, 1865. 1 item. Location:Misc.:D. Pass issued by Headquarters, Northern Division of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, April 21, 1865, to pass the lines and return. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War, Baton Rouge

Dougherty, John A., b. 1809. Papers, 1861-1890. 8 ms. vols. and 1 item (on 1 microfilm reel). Location: Mss.Mf:D. Native of New York, plantation owner, and prominent citizen of Baton Rouge. Dougherty served as a police juror and as president of the New Board of Control of the penitentiary. Six diaries of Dougherty and two receipt books, one of which belonged to A. T. Prescott. Diary entries report on family, neighbors, acquaintances, and associates; historical events and personages; social activities; and government, law, and health. Also included are entries reporting on the cotton and sugar plantation economy; climate; and dreams. Noteworthy are the entries pertaining to the Civil War and the daily notations on weather. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3528.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Civil War, Baton Rouge

Doussan Family Papers, 1827-1872. 94 items. Location: U:300. Correspondence, financial papers, and personal papers of members of the Doussan family (primarily Antoine Doussan, Louise Perrin Doussan, and Auguste Doussan) of East and West Baton Rouge Parishes, Louisiana, and France. Correspondence of Charles de Rabars of Bordeaux, France, is also included, as is a letter from General Baron Joachim Ambert. Most documents reflect the Doussans' planting operations in West Baton Rouge Parish; their financial and legal transactions in Louisiana and France; family activities, interests, and concerns; and the experience of French emigres in Louisiana as they encountered Anglo-American culture and society. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4800.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, Business, Baton Rouge, French

Dubreuil, L. Document, 1823. 1 item. Location: Misc. Affidavit by L. Dubreuil in support of the claim of John Poret to ownership of houses in Baton Rouge near the fort from which he had been evacuated by military forces under the command of General Wade Hampton. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 936.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Duchein (Annie), b. ca. 1872. Sketchbook, 1870, 1886-1887. 1 vol. Location: J:25. Resident of East Baton Rouge Parish. Sketchbook contains drawings of local buildings, animals, authors, and historical figures. Mss. 4751.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge

Dumas, Woody, 1917-1993, interviewee, Radio interview. 1 sound cassette (1 hour); index (2 p.). Mayor-President of Baton Rouge (1964-1980). Interview discusses local economy, airports, and city planning. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0011.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge

Duncan, Abner L. Papers, 1825-1866 (bulk 1841-1862) 13 items. Location: Misc.:D. Planter of Baton Rouge, La. Correspondence between Abner L. Duncan and his relatives concerning the management of his late father's estates, the deaths of family members, and issues of inheritance among family members. Also included is an exchange of letters between Leon Bonnecaze, the French vice consul at Baton Rouge, and David Farragut of the U.S. Navy, regarding the bombardment of Baton Rouge on May 28, 1862. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4199.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, Baton Rouge