French-Language Manuscript Materials

The imprint of French culture on Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi Valley has been deep and long lasting. French explorers and colonists were among the earliest Europeans to arrive in the region, beginning in the seventeenth century. Louisiana, named for Louis XIV, belonged to France for much of the 1700s and again from 1800 until it was sold to the United States in 1803. French settlers came to Louisiana both directly from France and indirectly from other areas. The latter included Acadians expelled from present-day Nova Scotia in the mid-eighteenth century and refugees from St. Domingue (present-day Haiti) in 1804. Some followers of Napoleon arrived in Louisiana after their leader's defeat in 1814. Other French immigrants came to Louisiana for a variety of reasons throughout the nineteenth century.

The French-language manuscript resources in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) at LSU touch upon all these sources of French cultural influence. This guide to these resources includes descriptions of the papers of early colonists, French-speaking planters and free people of color in the nineteenth century, and residents of cities and towns like New Orleans and Natchitoches. The documents it describes came from farmers and merchants, writers and artists, women and men, the famous and the anonymous.

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Girod, Joseph. Papers, 1816-1899 (bulk 1830-1880). 588 items, 6 ms. Vols. Location: U:133, G:8. Native of France and planter of St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, and nephew of Nicholas Girod, first elected mayor of New Orleans. Joseph Girod's brother, Francois Girod, lived in Paris, France, and New Orleans. Papers include letters from Francois Girod, some of them related to the estate of Nicholas Girod, which provided for the aid of New Orleans orphans of French parentage. Plantation journals (1838-1877) and a letter book (1825-1832) are also included. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 838, 853.

Godet, Desire. Papers, 1826-1881. 66 items. Location: U:133. French-speaking cotton planter of Port Barre, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Papers include letters to his parents, brother, and sister in Rouen, France. There are also bills, statements, and receipts from Opelousas merchants and statements of account with A. A. Mouton, Planters' and Merchants Agency. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 159.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, French

Gottschalk, Louis Moreau. Letter, circa 1850-1865. 1 item. Location: Misc. Louisiana composer and musician. Letter to 'Mon cher Antony' introducing Louisa Scheibel, a pupil of Gottschalk. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1454.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, French

Gourgues, Henry. Records, 1864. 70 items. Location: A:117. Collection consists of monthly statements, invoices and receipts for household items, saddlery, and groceries purchased by Henry Gourgues from various New Orleans merchants, and invoices from commission merchants for cotton and other farm products shipped. Some items in French. Mss. 5260.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge, French

Gras-Lauzin family. Papers, 1783-1917 (bulk 1783-1866). 1 linear ft. Location: U:267. Don Antonio Gras was an early settler, merchant, and shipper of Baton Rouge and Natchez, Mississippi. Others in the family included Lewis Valentin Foelekel and Dr. Jean Lauzin. Papers include financial records of Antonio Gras and Lewis Foelekel; a thesis of Dr. Jean Lauzin (Paris, 1832); and personal letters from friends of the Lauzin family who lived in France. Collection also includes Civil War letters from Francis F. Palms, a Confederate soldier, and others to Henrietta Lauzin. Some items in the collection are in French and Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 5, 893.

Grima, Alfred. Papers, 1863-1868 (bulk 1864-1866). 68 items. Location: U:154. Personal letters by Alfred Grima from Richmond, Mobile, Paris, London, Cairo, and New Orleans, to members of his family in New Orleans and Augusta. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 816.

Grima, Edgar. Letter book, 1899-1900. 1 volume. Location: MSS.MF:G, VAULT:60. New Orleans, Louisiana, attorney and notary. Letter book contains correspondence relating to civil cases, finances, property, land sale, and the settlement of personal estates. In English and French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1804.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans 1866-, Business, French

Grima, Felix. Drafts, 1852. 5 items. Location: Misc. Drafts payable to Miss B. A. Martin and signed by F[eli]x Grima. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1916.

Referenced in Guides: French

Gros, Cypriere. Papers, 1843, 1845. 2 items. Location: Misc. Resident of Lascallagne, France, and owner and Louisiana property owner. Papers of Cypriere Gros include a power of attorney for the sale of houses (1843) and a letter to Lubin Garnier concerning house rents (1845). In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 167.

Referenced in Guides: French

Guillory, Claude. Slave bill of sale 1783. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Opelousas Parish, Louisiana. Sale of slave (in French) by Claude Guillory of the Opelousas District to Jacques Michel and Jacques Gomez. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 756.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French