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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Mather, George. Accountb0Books, 1782-1845. 4 volumes, 11 items. Location: G:18, MISC:M. Planter of St. James Parish, Louisiana. Account books pertain to plantation expenses, slave labor, sugar, taffia, and cotton. Volume one (1782-1845) contains some entries in French. Volume two relates to Mather's sugar operations and the taffia sold on the German Coast in present-day St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana (1798-1832). Entries in volume three contain memos on loans made and payments received (1813-1822). Entries in volume four also note cotton shipments to Liverpool and a letter in French to Tousaint Fauve of La Rochelle, France (1806-1817). Loose items consist of financial papers and three clippings. The collection is also available on UPA Microfilm 5322, (Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War. Series I, Selections from Louisiana State University ; pt. 1, Louisiana sugar plantations, reel 8. Mss. 283, 568.

Mather, Louise. Notebook, 1875. 1 vol. Location: M:20. School notebook containing essays. In French and English. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 794.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Education, French

Mazant book of poems, 1848-1859. 1 ms. vol. Location: M:18. Lieutenant colonel and aide-de-camp to the governor of Louisiana. Manuscript volume of French poems inscribed "Monsieur Le Chevalier de Mazant, Lieutenant Colonel, aide de Camp du Gouverneur de l'Etat de la Louisiane". In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 850.

Referenced in Guides: French, Literature

McCants, Dorothea Olga. Papers, 1850-1970, undated (bulk 1854-1897). 3 linear ft. Location: 15:25, OS:M, MF:M. Catholic nun from the order of the Daughters of the Cross of St. Vincent de Paul in Shreveport, Louisiana. Papers contain the translated letters of Daughters of the Cross members from 1850 to 1903 and original manuscripts from McCants’s They Came to Louisiana: Letters of a Catholic Mission 1854-1882. Mss. 2519, 2535, and 2694.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, Civil War, Acadiana, French

McIlhenny, John S. Papers, 1876-1996 (bulk 1928-1989). 4 linear ft., 1 volume. Locations: 75:, OS:M. Son of John A. (Avery) McIlhenny and Anita McIlhenny. Philanthropist of academia and scientific research and donated to many organizations, including the Louisiana State University (LSU) Foundation and Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Papers document his personal life, philanthropic and professional endeavors, and educational pursuits. Materials include correspondence, printed items, photographic items, stamps, coins, and artwork. Mss. 4962.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Education, Baton Rouge, French, LSU

McKowen-Lilley-Stirling Family. Papers, 1797-1921 (bulk 1877-1901). 829 items (on microfilm). Location: MSS.MF:M. Thomas William Lilley founded Springfield Plantation in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. His daughter Edith married John Stirling. John McKowen, an Irish immigrant, was a resident of Jackson, Louisiana. Papers include Lilley-Stirling legal documents and financial papers; McKowen family correspondence; and legal papers, and medical correspondence of John C. MacKowen, a Louisiana physician. Other papers relate to McKowen's property in Anacapri, Italy. Some items in Spanish, Italian, French, and German. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4356.

McMullin, Thomas. Document, 1828 July 13. 1 item. Location: Misc. Affidavit of McMullin, made before Jean Pierre Dubois, justice of the peace of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, concerns an assault upon him by Henri Baler. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 849.

Referenced in Guides: French

Méjan, Eugène. Letter, 1859 Jan. 11. 1 item. Location: Misc. Letter from Count Eugène Méjan, French consul in New Orleans, to Gerald Stith, mayor of New Orleans, recommending Mr. Bruguiere. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 289.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

Melancon Family. Papers, 1862-1993, undated. 0.3 linear ft. Location: U:227. Family from Darrow in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Includes correspondence, an account book, newspaper clippings, genealogical material, and ephemera. The materials date from the late 19th century and early 20th century, and were owned or created by Victorin Melancon, Jr. or his daughter, Marguerite Mary Melancon.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, Civil War, Education, French

Menard, James. Letter, 1829 April 10. 1 item. Location: Misc.:M. Letter by James Menard of Baton Rouge, La., endorses the recommendation of Charles C. Comme as notary. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 303.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, French