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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French cooking recipes, circa 1900-1950. 58 items. Location: E:Imprints. Copies of handwritten recipes printed on cards. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1915.

Referenced in Guides: French

French consular and diplomatic documents, 1786-1822. 4 items. Location: Misc.:F. Documents from the French consulates of New York City and Baltimore, Maryland, pertaining to commercial and other interests of French citizens; and a draft of a communique (1822) from the French charge d'affairs in the United States. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1186.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, French

French House Collection, 1974-1991. 0.5 linear ft. Location: W:7. The French House (La Maison Française) at Louisiana State University opened in September 1935 to house selected advanced French-language students to live immersed in French language and culture. The collection consists of three scrapbooks documenting the history of the house compiled by Gertrude M. Beauford and four oral history interviews with Anita Olivier Morrison, head resident of the house between 1935 and 1958. Mss. 2760, 3018A.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, French, LSU

French Society of New Orleans Papers, 1851-1947 (bulk 1872-1891). 5 items, 7 vols. Location: U:114, F:8. New Orleans organization. Certified copies of minutes of meetings of the General Assembly of the French Society of New Orleans (Société Française de Bienfaisance et D'Assistance Mutuelle), forerunner to L'athénée louisianais, as well as minute book of the Committee of Thirty, registers of tombs, and printed histories and reports. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 318, 1012.

Froisy, Godefroy Etienne, Jr. Papers, 1844-1864. 3 items. Location: MISC:F. A transcription made before her wedding in 1844 copies the baptismal record of Marie Marguerite Trègre, baptized at St. John the Baptist Parish Church on October 7, 1827. Godefroy Etienne Froisy Jr. of the 30th Louisiana Infantry Regiment writes two letters to his parents in St. John the Baptist Parish from Pascagoula, Mississippi on October 24, 1863 and from Mobile, Alabama on May 20, 1864. He relates news of his service in the war. Mss. 5085.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, French