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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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.