Manuscript Resources on Acadian History

In 1755, a group of French-speaking people were exiled from their homeland by British military tactics in a part of Nova Scotia then known as "French Acadia". Those Acadian immigrants who relocated to Southern Louisiana adapted to the unique challenges the region provided, to become known as the "Cajuns," an ethnic and cultural group much celebrated, and sometimes misunderstood.

The collection of manuscripts pertaining to the Cajuns that may be found in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) of the LSU Libraries is varied in nature, ranging from the large group of records compiled by the Acadian Handicraft Project to a single French Acadian Music Festival program. Oral history interviews, personal papers, cartoons, photographs, scripts, and other artifacts are present in the manuscripts groups. A range of dates from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries are present (see chronological listing).

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1st United States Infantry Regiment of Louisiana Volunteer Corps d'Afrique, Company II. Muster roll, 1863. 1 item (21 x 30.5 in.). Location: VAULT:72. In April 1863 Brigadier General Daniel Ullman was sent by the U.S. War Department to New Orleans, Louisiana, to raise a brigade of African-American troops; Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, at Opelousas, proposed the formation of the Corps d'Afrique. Muster roll identifies Edward Carter as captain, Spencer H. Stafford as colonel, and the regiment's sergeants, corporals, musicians, a teamster, and privates. Soldiers are listed by their names, and further description includes rank, time and location of enrollment, time and location mustered into service, and pay roll information. Most soldiers enrolled and were mustered in at New Orleans, while others were at Baton Rouge, St. Mary Parish, Bayou Ramos, Fort Jackson, Fort St. Leon, and Thompson Creek. Verso of item also contains lists of deceased, discharged, deserted, and resigned soldiers in the regiment. Several soldiers are listed as being killed in action before Port Hudson. Muster roll covers the period from July 1 to August 31, 1863, while pay roll covers the period from June 30 to September 1, 1863. Mss. 5379.

Acadia Plantation records, 1809-2004 (bulk 1940-1979). 49 linear ft., 30 volumes, 8 rolls. Location: 93:7-30; J:4; 75:; MAP CAGE (UNNUMBERED CASE); 1 NORTH (ON TOP OF MICROFILM CABINET). A working sugar plantation, Acadia Plantation of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana is comprised of three major properties originally known as Acadia Plantation, St. Brigitte Plantation, and Evergreen Plantation. It was acquired in 1875 by Edward J. Gay, became the residence of Representative Andrew and Mrs. Anna Gay Price. Records are comprised of correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed items, volumes, maps, plats, and photographs. Papers document business and legal affairs of the plantation owners and operators, as well as plantation operations such as sugar cane farming, the crops of tenant farmers on the property, and the planning and development of the plantation lands throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Mss. 4906.

Acadian Handicraft Project. Records. 1936-1962. 9.5 linear ft. Location: 7:98-106, OS:A. Project launched in 1942 to preserve the language and culture of the French-speaking people of Louisiana; project was suspended around 1962. Project launched in 1942 to preserve the language and culture of the French-speaking people of Louisiana. Records consist of general office files, program files for festivals and exhibitions, and records relating to the promotion, the production and sale of handicrafts. Some itmes are in French. Mss. 1880.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, Acadiana, French

Acosta, Juan. Papers, 1833-1876. 9 items. Location: MISC:A. Papers document land transactions in Assumption and Pointe Coupee parishes, consisting of an application to purchase land with Thomas Pinto; deeds for the sale of land to Antonio Dalferes, Thomas Lyon, and William C. Mylne; deed for the sale of land by Manuel Acosta and Thomas Fernandez to John H. Ilsley; lease of land by Nicholas Deemus to Andre Acosta; and itemized accounts of Andre Acosta. Some items in French. Mss. 552.

Referenced in Guides: Acadiana, French

Arceneaux, William. Papers, 1964-2007 (bulk 1972-2007). 15 linear feet and 20 volumes. Locations: 4:36, 4:43, 110:4-11, OS:A, Vault:2. Louisiana higher education official. Papers consist of correspondence, business papers, photographs, printed items, and scrapbooks related to the professional, civic, and personal activities of William Arceneaux. A small amount of correspondence is in French and Spanish. For further information, see online catalog Mss. 4107.

Assumption Parish records, 1841-1920 (bulk 1841-1891). 84 items. Location: U:6, 98:. Miscellaneous legal papers stating the value of a sugar plantation and slaves, with a copy of a lease for a house, lot, and billiard table in Napoleonville, La. (1841); subpoenas in a legal suit concerning St. Elizabeth Church (1852); and a broadside titled "Synopsis of Steamboat Laws" (1867). A printed invitation to attend a meeting of the Republican Executive Committee in Donaldsonville (1887), a broadside of the regular Democratic ticket for delegates to the state nomination convention and Assumption Parish officials (1891), and issues of The Assumption Pioneer (January 23, February 13, 27, 1909) are included. Mss. 14.

Bertrand, Alvin Lee, 1918- interviewee. Oral history interview, 1995. 5 sound cassettes (7.5 hours), transcript (276 p.). Location: L:4700.0524. LSU alumnus and Boyd Professor of Sociology/Rural Sociology. Bertrand discusses growing up in rural Louisiana and the French language and Cajun culture. Bertrand also discusses loss of the small farm way of life, agricultural mores, and the impact of mechanization on rural life in Louisiana. Bertrand describes the general layout of the LSU campus in 1936, the creation of the LSU lakes, the LSU stadium, and student social activities. He comments on the many changes he witnessed while at LSU and details his long association with LSU and the Sociology Dept. He also discusses the development of rural sociology at LSU; his own involvement in international organizations; his work as an international rural sociologist; and his research and studies on health care needs. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0524.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Education, Acadiana, French, Medicine, LSU

Bertrand, Alvin Lee. Papers, 1942-1988. 1 linear ft. Location: 43:65. Author and professor of rural sociology at Louisiana State University. Includes copies, drafts, and typescripts of articles for publication; reports on rural industrialization, development, settlement, and social impact studies in Louisiana and the American South; and addresses and speeches given at sociology conferences in the United States and around the world. Mss. 4787

Referenced in Guides: Education, Acadiana, LSU

Bichot, Jean Baptiste. Petition, 1781 March 29. 1 item. Location: Misc:B. Bichot was an official of the area under the jurisdiction of the post of Pointe Coupee, in Louisiana. Item is a petition to Charles de Grand-Pré,, commandant of the post of Pointe Coupee, requesting permission to inform Madame de Rocheblave to pay her debt to Sieur du Doigt. A list of her debts is included. An endorsement by Grand-Pré, approves the action, and an addendum by Bichot records Rocheblave was informed to pay the debt. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4894.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Acadiana, French

Bourque, Owen. Collection on Betty Martin, 1907-2012 (bulk 1998-2010). 0.1 linear ft. Location: MISC:B. Research materials compiled by Owen Bourque on Betty Martin (the pen name used by Edwina Mary Meyer). In 1928, Martin was sent to United States Marine Hospital Number 66 (formerly the Louisiana Leper Home) in Carville, Louisiana after she was diagnosed with leprosy. Materials include chiefly photocopies and printouts of articles from magazines, newspapers, and online sources. Mss. 5367.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Acadiana, Medicine

Breaux, John B. Papers, 1933, 1938, 1963, 1970-2004 (bulk: 1987-2004). Approx. 781 linear feet . Location: Room B6, Map Cage, Vault:54. Correspondence, briefing books, bills, reports, testimony transcripts, research files, news releases, printed materials, audio-visual and electronic files, photographs and memorabilia documenting the political and U.S. Congressional career of Louisiana Representative (1972-1986) and Senator (1987-2004) John B. Breaux, and the work of his office. In addition to Senate and House files, contains materials related to his campaigns, the Democratic Party, and the Washington Mardi Gras. Topics include, among others, flood control, abortion, transportation, energy, the environment, taxes, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and healthcare, consumer protection, wetlands conservation, base closures in Louisiana, commerce, trade, and agriculture policy, especially for sugar and rice. For additional information, see the online catalog. Mss. 4922.

Burnside Gun Club. Record book, 1894. 1 volume. Location: M:20. Record of members' scores of the Burnside, Louisiana, Gun Club from June to September 1894. Mss. 49.

Referenced in Guides: Acadiana

Byrne, Joseph F. Moss gin photograph, circa 1890s. 1 photograph. Location: E:66. Copy print of a photograph of a moss gin owned by Joseph F. Byrne, Bayou Paul, Iberville Parish, La. Mss. 3202.

Referenced in Guides: Acadiana

Clark, Gladys, b. 1918. Papers, circa 1890-2004 (bulk 1940-1997). 0.75 linear ft. Location: 128:. An accomplished spinner and weaver in the Acadian tradition, Clark received numerous awards during her career. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, and printed materials that document her artistic works and awards received, including a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1997. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4953.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Acadiana, French

Coco family. Papers, circa 1885-2009 (bulk 1964-2008). 12 linear ft., 1 compact disc. Location: AA:, OS:C, X:4-13. Residents of Mansura, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. Materials include personal and professional correspondence, printed items, personal papers, recordings (available for access on compact disc), and photographic items. Personal correspondence pertains primarily to the lives of Merlin, Lucy, Greg, and Linda. Major topics include family life and local matters in Mansura, the education of Greg and Lucy, and Greg's enlistment in the U.S. Army and activities in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Professional correspondence documents mostly Greg's career as a park ranger in Gettysburg. Printed items, personal papers, and photographic items pertain chiefly to Coco family history and the lives of the aforementioned Coco family members. Recordings were created by Greg while in Vietnam and document his experiences there. Mss. 5019.

Coco, M. S. Business records, 1911-1961. 217 ms. vols. Location: 36:5-9. General merchandise store, Bordelonville, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. Volumes contain daily cash entries in ledger form. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2460.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Acadiana

Comeaux, Louis, 1911-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1993. 1 sound cassette (45 minutes), Index (3 pages). Location: L:4700.0744. Retired sugarcane sharecropper and life-long resident of Four Corners, an unincorporated community south of Franklin, Louisiana. Recollections of Comeaux's childhood as the son of a cane farmer. He recalls his work in an Avery Island salt mine; farming as a sharecropper; the routine of sugarcane planting and harvest; cane syrup production; farm labor; and early transportation. Comeaux also recalls traditional Cajun foods including couche-couche and cracklins; the boucherie; and social conditions in Four Corners. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0744.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Transportation, Acadiana

Day, Anita G., Digital Prints. 2000. Forty (40) 5 inches X 7 inches digital prints, matted to 11 inches X 14 inches. Location: 91:3. The collection consists of 40 digital prints of images created at the 1999 Festivals Acadiens, an annual cultural event that began in 1972. The Lafayette Jaycees, along with the help of Rubber Boots, Inc., organize the principal components of Festivals Acadiens, including four separate festivals: Festival de Musique Acadienne; La Vie Cadienne Wetlands Folklife Festival; Heritage Pavilion, and; Bayou Food Festival. These festivals are held in Girard Park in Lafayette, Louisiana. The 1999 festival, during which these images were created, was held from Friday, September 17, through Sunday, September 19. These prints were part of the exhibition, "Preservation as Public Spectacle: Festivals Acadiens," displayed in Hill Memorial Library in 2000. Mss. 4993.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Acadiana, French

Delcroix, Eugene A. Photographic prints, circa 1930-1950. 8 items. Locations: MISC:D, OS:D. Professional photographer of New Orleans, Louisiana. Eight photographic prints depict Louisiana oak trees, Oak Alley Plantation, Grand Isle, and a New Orleans courtyard and patio. Mss. 5356.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans 1866-, Acadiana

Dietz, Walter F. Papers, 1901-1962. 470 items, 86 volumes. Socialist party member of the Lake Charles, Louisiana, local (1903-1934); state secretary (1909-1914); national committeeman and state secretary (1928-1931). Correspondence, broadsides, financial reports, pamphlets, writings, newspaper clippings, bound printed volumes, and manuscript volumes for the national Socialist Party, the state organization, and the Lake Charles local organization. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1894.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Acadiana, 20th Century Wars

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