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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Vairin, Jules. Letter, 1833. 1 item. Location: Misc.:V. Commission merchant in New Orleans. Letter written by Jules Vairin, a commission merchant of New Orleans, La., to his brother. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 222.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Business, French

Vallas, Antal. Family papers, 1831-1995 (bulk:1841-1968). 2.25 linear feet. Location: 109:33-34; J:26-27; OS:V; Vault:1. A native Hungarian who served as a professor at the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy and an Episcopalian minister in New Orleans. Contains correspondence, printed items, personal papers and photographs related to the professional and family life of Vallas and his descendants. Consists of materials in English, Hungarian, German, French, Spanish and Latin. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4439.

Varillat, M. Letter, fcirca 1818. 1 item. Location: Misc.:V. Letter from M. Varillat, apparently a child, to her grandmother, describing in detail the size of the steamer Ohio and, in particular, the furnishings for the drawing room and the cabins. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1032.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Women, French

Vegua, Antonio. Papers, 1820-1823. 3 items. Location: Misc.:V. Papers pertaining to the succession of Antonio Vegua include an inventory of the estate, the appointment of Antonio Dalferes as administrator, and a list of accounts. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 552.

Referenced in Guides: French

Verret, Theodule. Papers, 1804-1894 (bulk 1850-1870). .5 linear ft. (634 items). Location: E:38. Sawmill and lumber business owner in Mandeville, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, and justice of the peace and parish treasurer. Verret also owned property in New Orleans. Papers concern the rent or lease of Verret's property in New Orleans, his sawmill and lumber business in Mandeville, and his position as parish treasurer. Included are letters from Louisiana Superintendent of Education Robert Lusher. Some letters in French; one item in Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 905.

Vezin, Pierre F. O. Document, 1749. 1 item. Location: Misc.:V. Marriage contract of Pierre F. O. Vezin and Marie J. du Plassey of New Orleans, Louisiana. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 431.

Referenced in Guides: Women, French

Vialet family. Papers, 1799-1875, 1959 (bulk 1815-1855). 78 items. Location: 19:10. Personal and business letters and financial and legal documents of the Vialet family of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Catherine Miranda de Casas and Pierre Ladouceur of Baton Rouge, B. Piveteau-Fleury of New Orleans, and the Bissonet, Primeau, and Ladouceur families of St. Louisi Missori. Mss. 5082.

Vignaud, Henry. Papers, 1862-1909. 385 items. Location: C:66. Journalist, diplomat, and historian of New Orleans, Louisiana. Papers consist of letters from Louisiana friends; officials in the Department of State and the diplomatic service; Americans in public life; and literary figures, historians, journalists, and other writers. Collection includes 75 letters (1865-1892) of L. Placide Canonge, New Orleans writer and dramatist, pertaining to literature and the theater in New Orleans. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1281.

Villeneuve-Bargeman, Marie-Aglaee-Roseta. Death Notice, 1884 Feb. 28. 2 items. Location: Misc.:V. Marquise De Forbin D'Oppede. Death notice [in French] sent to Davis Douglas, Edinburgh, Scotland, is accompanied by a note [English transcription, no original] commenting on the death notice and a trip made to Edinburgh. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4413.

Referenced in Guides: French

Vincent-David Papers, 1831-1881. 222 items. Location: C: 48. Cotton planters of Pointe Coupee Parish, La. Personal and business papers of Jean Vincent and Jean Baptiste David, of Fausse Rivierre Plantation, consist of financial papers, bills for medical services and correspondence from commission merchants. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1203.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, French, Medicine

Vinet, John B. (John Baptiste), b. 1835. Papers, 1861-1900. .16 linear ft. (37 items, 3 ms. vols., 3 printed vols.) Location: A:69, OS:V. Confederate officer in the Orleans Artillery Battalion in the Civil War and later Chief of Ordnance, Louisiana State National Guard (1889-1896). Papers include Civil War dispatches, field orders, vouchers, passes and correspondence. A notebook (1861) kept by a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, physician contains remedies for illness, some in French. Two case records books of Vinet deal with the 1878 yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans and document relief administered by the Howard Association. Some notebook entries in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 850, 898.

Visinier, N. Letter, 1830. 1 item. Location: Misc.:V. Resident of New Orleans. Letter from Visinier to John and Lubin Garnier containing instructions regarding his property. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 436.

Referenced in Guides: French

Vivant, Charles. Conveyance, 1798. 1 item [copy]. Location: Misc:V. Resident of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Sale of property of Charles Vivant to Baptiste Meuillon. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 437.

Referenced in Guides: French

Voorhies, Felix. Miscellany, 1859-1965. 18 items. Location: 98:V, A:70, OS:V, VAULT:49. Lawyer, politician, and judge born in St. Martinville, Louisiana. Collection is composed of various materials related to the life and work of Voorhies. Materials include typescripts of historical sketches concerning St. Martin Parish; correspondence; newspaper clippings of Voorhies' historical sketches and writings; two photographs of Voorhies; other printed materials; and a scrapbook. Mss. 804, 2033, 2056, 2153, 2154.

Referenced in Guides: Acadiana, French, Literature

W.P.A. Louisiana Historical Records Survey Police Jury Minutes Transcriptions, 1811-1941 206 linear feet on 581 reels. Typed, printed, and handwritten transcriptions of Police Jury minutes and ordinances for 60 of 64 Louisiana parishes. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2984.

Wagner, Peter K., 1787?-1864. Letter, 1815. 1 letter. Location: Misc. Unsigned copy of a letter to Peter K. Wagner, publisher of the Orleans Gazette, requesting a copy of the newspaper issue containing a statement by General D.B. Morgan criticizing the writer’s conduct on the West Bank of the Mississippi River during the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. For further information, see online catalog. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 238.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

Wailes, Levin, 1768-1847, Letter, 1816. 1 item. Location: Misc.:W. Register of the Land Office of the United States, Territory of Orleans (1810-1822). Letter from a Mr. Robin in Opelousas to Levin Wailes declining solicitations to have his name placed on the ticket as a candidate for political office. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 995.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, French

Wante, Stephen. Property document, 1840. 1 item. Location: Misc.:W. Document concerns the legal status, ownership, and authenticity of title of lands along the Ouachita River purchased by Stephen Wante from Baron de Bastrop, a Dutch immigrant who had been granted the land by Baron de Carondelet, colonial governor of Louisiana under Spanish rule. A subsequent section concerns legal wrangling over lands owned by Wante in Virginia. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 438.

Referenced in Guides: French

Wartelle, A. L. Account book, 1826-1839. 1 vol. Location: J:6. Account book of Pierre Gabriel Wartelle contains records of charges for small household goods, tobacco, cosmetics, cloth, articles of clothing, and other items probably sold at a plantation store near Moundville Plantation in Washington, St. Landry Parish, La. The account book was later used as a scrapbook by A.L. Wartelle, who pasted clippings of newspaper articles and poems on the some of the first and last pages of the volume, covering up some of the original account notations. Account book in French, with newspaper clippings in English. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 440.

Referenced in Guides: Business, French

Wartelle, Pierre Gabriel,1787-1869. Family Papers, 1811-1976. 2 linear ft., 10 v. Location: UU:322-323, OS:W, O:62-63. French ex-patriate, New Orleans businessman, and sugar and cotton planter of St. Landry Parish, La. Collection consists of legal documents, account books, correspondence, printed material and personal papers that pertain to the business interests, plantation operations, and history of the Wartelle Family and Moundville Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 5025.