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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DeClouet, Alexandre (Alexandre Etienne) and Family. Papers, 1787-1905 (bulk 1855-1888). 1.2 linear ft. Location: U:181, J:5. Sugar planter, Confederate congressman, and state senator from St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. Beginning in the 1860s, DeClouet was active in the White League, an organization opposed to rights for freedmen. Collection includes financial papers, legal documents, political papers, and correspondence. Financial records of Alexandre DeClouet and his son Paul document plantation management and labor issues. Political papers include White League materials. Some items in French. Available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 3, Reels 5-6. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 74, 258, 461, 756.

Degruy, P. H. O. Document, 1844. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Bill of sale (notarized copy) for slaves sold to Madame Charles H. Delery of New Orleans. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 104.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, African Americans, French

Delelis, O. Leon. Scrapbook, 1843-1874. 1 ms. vol., 1 microfilm reel. Location: UU:252, Mss. Mf.:D. Schoolmaster and writer of St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Scrapbook of manuscript writings and newspaper clippings, some pertaining to the Civil War and Reconstruction. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2677.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Education, French, Literature

Delsarte, Francois Alexandre Nicolas. Papers, 1811-1934 (bulk 1830-1899). 1,448 items, 107 volumes, 8 microfilm reels. Location: 35:, OS:D, MSS.MF:D. French educator, music and dramatic instructor, and originator of a widely recognized system of elocution. Professional papers contain materials relating to the study of pantomime; notes and manuscripts of writings by Delsarte's pupils, William Alger and James MacKaye, together with studies of the Delsarte system by S. S. Curry, Claude Shaver, and others. Partly in French. Preliminarily processed but open for use. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1301.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Education, French, Literature

Demolliens, Alexander. Papers, 1839, 1840. 2 items. Location: Misc. Resident of Paris, France. Papers pertain to the settlement of an account of Fran?ois Verrier, merchant of New Orleans, and include a power of attorney to Aumont Thieville & Company, Paris, and a letter to John and Lubin Garnier, New Orleans. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 108.

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

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