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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Watkins, William S. Document, 1819. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Sale (notarized copy) of land by William S. Watkins to Fran?ois M. Rouzan of New Orleans. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 441.

Referenced in Guides: French

Whitfield, Irene. Manuscript, circa 1939, 1 item. Location: W:7. Manuscript of Louisiana Folk Songs (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1939), including revisions and miscellaneous notes. Lyrics of songs are in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2823.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, French, Literature

Wickliffe, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1874-1912. Family Papers, 1897-1912 (bulk 1912). 70 items, 1 ms. vol., 1 printed vol. Location: UU:5, J:7. U.S. Congressman (1909-1912) from Louisiana, son of Louisiana Governor Robert C. Wickliffe. Chiefly Wickliffe's official papers for 1912, including constituent correspondence, speeches, and bills. A scrapbook contains news clippings and condolence letters regarding Wickliffe's death; Congressional memorials are in the printed volume. Some items in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 447.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, French

Zeringue, J. Louis. Receipt, 1764. 1 item. Location: Misc.:Z. Receipt of J. Louis Zeringue to his father for the payment of two slaves. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 456.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French