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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Wise, James Calvert. Papers, 1860-1917. 1.75 linear ft., 2 volumes. Locations: UU:154-155, K:37, OS:W, Vault:1. Native of Maryland who settled in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. During the Civil War he organized the Red River Rebels, which became part of the First Louisiana Regiment. Wise owned Grand Bend Plantation on the Red River. Collection contains Wise's personal, political, business, and military papers. Printed items include Confederate tax forms, currency, a notice to planters and freedmen from the U.S. Army, and papers related to the Republican party. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3239.

Witherell, W. Frank. Papers, 1839-1958 (bulk 1860-1889). 6 linear ft. Location W:129-135, F:19, OS:W. Native of New York, West Point graduate, businessman and entrepreneur, in business with his uncle, W. H. H. Witherell, a New Orleans commission merchant and dealer. Correspondence related to the wholesale trade in hides and mining ventures in the West comprises the majority of this collection. Early papers relate to W. H. H. Witherell's dealings in Natchez and offer insight into the attitudes of West Point cadets towards the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (1860-1865). Items associated with the hide trade include, shipping records, invoices, bills of lading, bank drafts, and receipts. Additional papers pertaining to mining enterprises contain assay certificates, invoices, contracts, deeds and reports on mines. Also included is material related to extending telephone service west of the Mississippi River and a plantation journal recording daily work activities, and sugarcane production for Magnolia Plantation, Plaquemine Parish, La. (1877-1880). Mss. 1498, 1503, 1555, 1776.

Wolford, Ella White Stroube, 1902- Dance cards and invitation, 1920-1922. 11 items. Location: Misc:W. Student at LSU. Dance cards and an invitation to LSU fraternity and sorority functions held at the Community Club, University Pavilion, and Golf and Country Club in Baton Rouge, La. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4312.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Womble-Abell-Norman family. Papers, 1859-2011 (bulk 1900-1955). 4.3 linear ft. Location: 103:40-44, OS:W. Womble-Abell-Norman family papers document five generations of personal activities, family life, and the genealogy of the Womble-Abell-Norman family and the related Buie family. Collection is comprised of correspondence, photographs, personal family papers, and professional papers of Evelyn Abell Norman. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4879.

Wood, Elmer Ellsworth. Papers, 1878, 1880. 3 items. Location: Misc:W. Certificates of merit from Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy at Alexandria, Louisiana, and certification of graduation at Baton Rouge. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Education, Baton Rouge, LSU

Woodland family. Naaman J. Woodland, Sr., and Olive Coe Woodland Family Papers, 1936-1981. 10 linear ft. Location: 47:1-5. Unprocessed. Programs, clippings, brochures, church bulletins, and other items related to the First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Also included are memo books, blueprints, ledgers, correspondence, sermons, and other manuscript materials. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4123.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Baton Rouge

Woolley, A.E. (Alban E), 1926-1997. Photographs and papers, 1940-1997. 11.5 linear feet. Location: 6:4-6:-6, 6:8-6:9. Alban E. (A. E.) Woolley was a photojournalist and resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This collection contains commissioned, professional, and personal photographs, as well as business correspondence, family letters, writings, printed items, and autobiographical items. The majority of the collection consists of 235 photographs created in the 1950s and 1960s and printed between 1995 and 1997 for LSU Special Collections. Also includes page proofs for unpublished manuscript, "Louisiana at Mid-Century: 1945 – 1960." Mss. 4650.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans 1866-, Baton Rouge

World War I broadsides, 1918. 2 items. Location: Misc.:W. Notices, distributed by the Standard Oil Company of Louisiana at Baton Rouge, announcing the amount of sugar allowed each employee per meal in accordance with the monthly allotment by the United States Food Administration. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1359.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Business, Baton Rouge, 20th Century Wars

Wyckoff, Elias. Correspondence, 1862-1863. 11 items. Location: MISC:W. Farmer from Jasper, Steuben County, New York, and a member of the 161st New York Volunteers in the Civil War, serving with an ambulance corps. Exchange of letters between Wyckoff and his wife refers to the military situation in Baton Rouge and Port Hudson, Louisiana. Wyckoff comments on his duties as an ambulance driver. His wife writes of money scarcity, farm problems, and life in Jasper. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1396, 1428, 1437.

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

Wynne, Michael D. Collection, 1826-1976. 6 linear ft., 13 volumes. Location: W:34-35; P:19; 5:31-32, 43; VAULT MRDF 6; VAULT:1, 25; OS:W. Resident of Lafayette, Louisiana, and collector of historical materials on south Louisiana history and culture. Collection includes papers of planters, Civil War soldiers, politicians, and professionals. It contains letters, Confederate currency, sheet music, photographs, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks documenting New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and surrounding parishes. Also included are papers of the Mayer Brass Band of Opelousas, Louisiana (1892-1909). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3053.

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