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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Clark, Samuel M. D. Ledgers and papers, 1826-1869. 46 items, 3 vols. Location: M:25, C:76. Jeweler in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, in the 1820s, and Justice of the Peace for West Baton Rouge Parish in the 1840s and 1850s. Collection includes three ledgers containing jewelry business and Justice of the Peace records. Miscellaneous materials include receipts, court records, and oaths. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3169.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Business, Baton Rouge, French

Clarke, C. P. Letters, 1846, 1849. 2 items. Location: Misc:C. Protestant clergyman from Massachusetts. Letters from Clarke telling of his small congregation of French speaking people in New Orleans and later in Lafayette. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1493.

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

Clement, George. Family Papers, 1863-1876 (bulk 1863-1867). 13 items and 1 ms. vol. Location: Misc.:C, M-18. French-speaking farming family of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes financial papers, legal documents, personal papers, and a time book (1878) recording hours worked by agricultural laborers. Largely in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1148.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, French

Cling, John. Document, 1828 December 23. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Deed of land sold by John Cling drafted by Edward Duffel, judge and notary public. Other names mentioned include Celestin and Jean Baptiste Cling, and witnesses Joshua Fish and Adolphe Seghers. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 552.

Referenced in Guides: French

Close, John. Papers, 1802-1872 (bulk 1802-1859). 325 items. Location: U:330. Contractor's agent for the United States Army post at Opelousas and a cotton planter of Petit Bois Plantation, Port Barre, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Correspondence includes letters from New Orleans merchants concerning orders for supplies and other business at the Army post. Plantation papers consist mostly of correspondence of cotton factors in New Orleans. Personal papers include correspondence from Kentucky and Mississippi and genealogical information about the Chauvin family. Correspondence chiefly in French. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reels 17-18. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1646.

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