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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Bringier, Louis Amadee and family. Papers, 1786-1901. 2 linear ft. and 13 volumes. Location: T:96-97, F:9, OS:B. Planter of Ascension Parish, Louisiana; Confederate officer and commander of the 4th Louisiana Cavalry and the 7th Louisiana Regiment. Papers include military records, correspondence and business papers relating to the administration of Hermitage Plantation in Ascension Parish and Houmas, Burnside, and Bagatelle plantations. One letter report that a woman killed a federal soldier in New Orleans (1862); another describes Grand Ilse as a resort frequented by Jews. Some items in French. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 1, Reels 1-2, and microfilm 5322: Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series I, Part 1, Reel 13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 43, 139, 544.

Brion letter, 1769. 1 item [typescript copy]. Location: Misc.:B. Treasurer for the French colonial troops at New Orleans. Letter from Brion to his brother J. B. Brion, clerk of court in Paris, on the overthrow of the French troops in Louisiana and the lack of pay for the soldiers. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 949.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

Brouard, G. Arsene (Gerfroy Arsene) 1867-1938. Papers. 1895-1940. 1 linear ft. Location: S:107, S:108, OS:B. French monk and botanist. Correspondence, research notes, printed material, personal papers, photographs, plant samples, and diagrams by Brother Arsene Brouard. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3568.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Education, French

Brown, James, 1766-1835. Letter, 1827 September 13. 1 item. Location: Misc. Attorney in New Orleans who became Secretary of Louisiana (1804), United States attorney for the Orleans District (1805), U.S. Senator from Louisiana (1813-1817, 1819-1823), and Minister to France (1823-1829). Letter to the director of the Royal Museum of Paris, requesting permission for three of his fellow countrymen to visit the museum at a time when it was closed for a coming exposition. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1240.

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

Brown, James. Papers, 1764-1811 (bulk 1804-1811). 0.25 linear ft. Location: U:20, F:9, OS:B. Attorney in New Orleans who became secretary of Louisiana (1804), U.S. attorney for the Orleans District (1805), U.S. senator from Louisiana (1813-1817, 1819-1823), and minister to France (1823-1829). Collection consists of legal and business papers and correspondence of James Brown. Legal and business papers include documents recording sales of slaves and legal disputes. Most of the letters are from William N. Brown and General James Wilkinson. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 44.