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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Dupuy, Helene. Diary, 1861-1865. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Typewritten copy of a diary kept by Helene Dupuy during the Civil War. The diary mentions Louisiana Confederate units and Union activity around Donaldsonville. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War, French

Duralde, Martin. Affidavit, 1795 Nov. 27. 1 affidavit. Location: Misc. Martin Duralde was captain of the militia and civil and military commandant of the Post of Opelousas, La. This affidavit concerns a 14-year-old debt for 200 piastres owed to Pierre Broussard by the late Jean Baptiste Grevenbert. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4400.

Referenced in Guides: Business, French

Duran de la Moitre document, 1764. 1 item. Location: Misc.:D. Sale (in French) of property of Duran de la Moitre to Mr. Demain, New Orleans, La. Mss. 102.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

Duranton, Jean B. Papers, 1841. 3 items. Location: Misc. Resident of Bordeaux, France. Papers of Jean Baptiste Duranton include a power of attorney to John Garnier and registrations of the succession of his wife, Galathee E. Duranton. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 129.

Referenced in Guides: French

Ellis, Hazel. Family Papers, 1848-1938 (bulk 1903-1911). 5,451 items, 15 vols. Location: U:67-90, G:1. Hazel and Nellie Ellis were members of the Caswell Prewitt Ellis family of Montgomery, Alabama, and New Orleans. Personal papers of the Ellis family include financial records, legal documents, photographs, and correspondence. Most correspondence relates to family matters, health, and social events including Hazel's trip abroad in 1902. Much of the correspondence dated 1905 pertains to social events related to Hazel as Queen of Mardi Gras. Other letters are those of suitors written to Hazel and Nellie. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 467.

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