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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Acadia Plantation records, 1809-2004 (bulk 1940-1979). 49 linear ft., 30 volumes, 8 rolls. Location: 93:7-30; J:4; 75:; MAP CAGE (UNNUMBERED CASE); 1 NORTH (ON TOP OF MICROFILM CABINET). A working sugar plantation, Acadia Plantation of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana is comprised of three major properties originally known as Acadia Plantation, St. Brigitte Plantation, and Evergreen Plantation. It was acquired in 1875 by Edward J. Gay, became the residence of Representative Andrew and Mrs. Anna Gay Price. Records are comprised of correspondence, financial and legal documents, printed items, volumes, maps, plats, and photographs. Papers document business and legal affairs of the plantation owners and operators, as well as plantation operations such as sugar cane farming, the crops of tenant farmers on the property, and the planning and development of the plantation lands throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Mss. 4906.

Acadian Handicraft Project. Records. 1936-1962. 9.5 linear ft. Location: 7:98-106, OS:A. Project launched in 1942 to preserve the language and culture of the French-speaking people of Louisiana; project was suspended around 1962. Project launched in 1942 to preserve the language and culture of the French-speaking people of Louisiana. Records consist of general office files, program files for festivals and exhibitions, and records relating to the promotion, the production and sale of handicrafts. Some itmes are in French. Mss. 1880.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, Acadiana, French

Account book, 1796-1799. 1 ms. vol., 1 mf reel. Location: Vault, Mss. Mf.:A. New Orleans, Louisiana, merchant. Account book recording names and accounts of customers. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1054.

Acosta, Juan. Papers, 1833-1876. 9 items. Location: MISC:A. Papers document land transactions in Assumption and Pointe Coupee parishes, consisting of an application to purchase land with Thomas Pinto; deeds for the sale of land to Antonio Dalferes, Thomas Lyon, and William C. Mylne; deed for the sale of land by Manuel Acosta and Thomas Fernandez to John H. Ilsley; lease of land by Nicholas Deemus to Andre Acosta; and itemized accounts of Andre Acosta. Some items in French. Mss. 552.

Referenced in Guides: Acadiana, French

Addison, George W. Receipt, 1837. 1 item. Location: Misc.:A. Resident of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, and editor of the Opelousas Gazette. Receipt by George W. Addison for notice of the succession of Valry Roy. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: French

Agenda commercial de la Louisiane pour l'année, 1858-1877. 1 item. Location: Misc:A. Printed French journal book (1858) contains notes on the progress of the Civil War and the 'Trent Affair', a diplomatic incident between the U.S. and Great Britain. Other topics include poetry; songs; partial plays in commedia dell'arte style; notes on Renaissance Italian history and notes on Daniel Deronda by George Eliot. Also included are listings for businesses and consulates in New Orleans, and public officials in Paris. Alternate title: Anonymous manuscript volume. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3545.

Agramonte, Aristides. Notebook, undated 1 ms. vol. Location: M:18. Notebook containing notes on grammar, philosophy, jurisprudence, rhetoric, mathematics, and agriculture; and a series of questions and answers. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 974.

Referenced in Guides: Education, French

Ambert, Joachim. Papers, 1838-1876. 9 items. Location: Misc.:A, OS:A. French military officer and nobleman. Personal papers consisting of passports and related items (1838-1840); two letters from Baron Ambert in New Orleans, Louisiana; a bill for accommodations in Niagara Falls, New York; and Ambert's French military service record. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1356.

Andry, M. T. (Michel Thomassin), 1811-ca. 1871. Family Papers, 1840-1882 (bulk 1858-1879). 0.3 linear ft. (199 items). Location: UU:66. Sugar planter of St. John the Baptist and St. Charles parishes, Louisiana, and resident of New Orleans. Collection includes correspondence and legal and financial papers. Letters received by Andry's daughter Rosa from his sons describe their participation in the Battle of Shiloh, campaigns in Kentucky, and skirmishes at Camp Beauregard in the Civil War. Partly in French. Available on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 1. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1318.

Anonymous account, 1786-1788. 1 item. Location: Misc:A. Account of an unidentified merchant in New Orleans, Louisiana. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 133.

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

Anonymous account book (H), 1866-1879. 1 volume. Location: F:1. Journal lists food, fuel, and beverages purchased for a restaurant in France. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 458.

Referenced in Guides: Business, French

Anonymous daybooks, 1856-1858. 2 volumes. Location: F:2. Accounts of sales by a free person of color (probably Oscar Dubreuil) for a general merchandise store in Isle Brevelle, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 833.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French

Anonymous engineering notebook, circa 1800-1899. 1 volume. Location: M:18. Civil engineering notebook containing lessons on construction of arches and mathematical formulas. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 83.

Referenced in Guides: French

Anonymous essay, 1862 September. 1 item (141 pages). Location: E:45. Typewritten copy of an essay on some usages and idioms of the Indians of lower Louisiana. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 138.

Referenced in Guides: French

Anonymous French language notebook, circa 1850. 1 volume. Location: C:45. Notebook containing French grammar notes and catechism questions. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Education, French

Anonymous geometry notebook, circa 1850. 1 volume. Location: C:45. Notebook containing geometric problems and definitions. In French. For further information, see online Mss. 552.

Referenced in Guides: Education, French, LSU

Anonymous letter from Assumption Parish, 1887 September 21. 1 item. Location: Misc:A. Family letter written on the letterhead of the Louisa Saw Mill, in Belle Rose, Assumption Parish, Louisiana. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1283.

Referenced in Guides: French

Anonymous physics notebook, circa 1850-1880. 1 volume. Location: F:2. Notebook containing notes of lectures on physics and cosmography. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 86.

Referenced in Guides: Education, French

Anonymous recipes, circa 1850-1900. 4 items. Location: Misc:A. Recipe of a St. Catherine doctor for medicinal tea; and others for mahogany stain, creole beer, and cornstarch pudding. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 170.

Referenced in Guides: French, Medicine

Anonymous ritual, circa 1865-1900. 1 item. Location: Misc:A. Ritual of a white supremacist organization. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: French

Anonymous veterinary medicine notebook, 1840. 1 volume. Location: F:2. Notebook containing notes on the commercial jurisprudence of veterinary medicine, including Roman and French law; a consideration of various animal diseases; and models of various forms of commercial paper. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 284.

Referenced in Guides: French, Medicine

Arceneaux, William. Papers, 1964-2007 (bulk 1972-2007). 15 linear feet and 20 volumes. Locations: 4:36, 4:43, 110:4-11, OS:A, Vault:2. Louisiana higher education official. Papers consist of correspondence, business papers, photographs, printed items, and scrapbooks related to the professional, civic, and personal activities of William Arceneaux. A small amount of correspondence is in French and Spanish. For further information, see online catalog Mss. 4107.

Asselin, Hacharie. Papers, 1837-1838. 2 items. Location: Misc.:A Resident of St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. Receipt for taxes on the land and slaves of H. Asselin and statement of N. Martin for tutoring and incidental expenses to Mrs. Hacharie Asselin. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French

Attakapas County papers, 1808-1812, 1826. 26 items. Location: A:17, OS:A. Miscellaneous tax rolls and related items. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 10, 13.

Referenced in Guides: French

Aubert Document, 1764. 1 item. Location: Misc.:A Commandant of the fortress 'Laplace'. Notarized document describing the sale of a house and lot on Bourbon Street, New Orleans, by Aubert to La Foresto (1764). In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 16.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

Avart, Valentine Robert. Document, 1806. 1 item. Location: Misc.:A. Notarized copy of a land conveyance for a plantation sold by V. Robert Avart to Lancelot Pearson at public auction. The plantation near New Orleans was given to receivers by its former owner, Charles Latours. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 18.

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

Avet, Joseph. Document, 1848. 1 item. Location: Misc.:A. Slave bill of sale for a slave sold by Joseph Avet to Lucien Gex, New Orleans, March 27, 1848. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 610.

Babin, Felix E. Letter, 1862 September 20 and 1915. 2 items. Location: Misc.:B. Letter from Vicksburg, September 20, 1862; and Chamber of Commerce of Quimper and Brest, France, 50 centimes note, 1915. For further information online catalog. Mss. 1876.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, French

Babin, Pablo. Papers, 1772-1807. 5 items. Location: Misc:B. Spanish land documents and related items of the Babin and Landry families. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: French

Badin, Norbert. Papers, 1829-1937 (bulk 1870-1890). 2 linear ft. Location: U:97-98, OS:B, MICROFICHE 2729. Free African American planter from the Cane River settlement of Melrose, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, an area that was home to a large community of freedmen. Personal and business papers document Badin's activities as a planter, and include family correspondence, a journal, an account book, and miscellaneous printed items. Some items in French and Spanish. Available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 2, Reel 1. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 825.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, Plantations, African Americans, French

Balmer Plantation account, 1778-1782. 1 item (13 pages). Location: Misc.:B Indigo plantation located at Mirebalois, Haiti. Receipts and expenditures made by the manager of the plantation, and prepared by the firm of J. M. Leremboure, Lassale, and Company, representatives of Mr. Balmer on the island. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2270.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, French

Baptismal records of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Natchitoches, Louisiana, 1724-1829. 2 volumes [photocopies]. Location: J:24. Volumes compiled by the Shreveport Committee of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Louisiana. Included are photographs of portraits of three bishops of Natchitoches: Augustus M. Martin, Francis Xavier Leray, and Anthony Durier. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1720.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, French

Barbier, Charles. Correspondence, 1806-1831. 11 items [photocopies]. Location: Misc:B. Planter in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Letters discuss family matters, planting conditions in Lafourche and Assumption parishes, and social and economic conditions in France. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2831.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, French

Barel, Leona Queyrouze, 1861?-1938. Papers, 1800-1950 (bulk 1860-1937). 2,614 items, 31 printed vols., 23 ms. vols. Location: X:96-101, OS:Q, 99:Q, Q:27. French-language writer, poet, essayist, and musician of New Orleans and New York City. Her father, Major Leon Queyrouze, was commander of the Orleans Guard Battalion during the Civil War. Papers include letters from writers and editors; literary writings and musical compositions; materials on the Anti-Lottery League; and Civil War and business papers of her father, a member of the factors' firm Queyrouze and Bois. In French and English. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reels 18-26. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1204, 1222, 1278, 1314, 1323, 1335.

Barrow, Bartholomew, 1836-1869. Family collection of sheet music, 1848-1891 (bulk 1861-1874). 4 items, 3 vols. Location: Range 65. Planter of Eldorado Plantation, a sugar plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Collection of bound and loose vocal and piano sheet music collected by Barrow and his family. Some compositions in French, German, and Italian. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1379.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Performing arts, French, German

Baton Rouge census document, 1782. 1 item [photocopy]. Location: Misc.:B. Census of the District of Baton Rouge lists names of heads of families, free African Americans, and slave population; their professions; number of dwellings; production of indigo, tobacco, rice, corn, and lumber; and the number of militiamen. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2514.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, African Americans, French

Beille, Joseph, b. 1851. Family Papers, 1851-1887. 14 items. Location: Misc:B, OS:B. Immigrant to Louisiana from Belesta, France. Papers consist of legal documents of family members: a birth certificate, a death certificate, a marriage certificate, and a passport. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 552.

Referenced in Guides: French

Beraud, Joseph. Guide homopathique, 1876. 1 ms. Vol. Location: M:20. Resident of Louisiana. Beraud probably owned a tract of land where the town of Leonville, Louisiana, is now situated. Bound manuscript volume giving instructions for treatment of and prescriptions for various diseases. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 801.

Referenced in Guides: French, Medicine

Bernard, E. L. Account books, 1838-1851. 2 ms. vols. Location: F:2. New Orleans merchant and importer. Journal and letter book of E. L. Bernard, who did business with Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and Missouri merchants. Many of the letters to business firms in France refer to merchandise being exported to New Orleans. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 813.

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

Bernard, Simon. Letter, 1817. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Letter to Major-General Ripley, Bay St. Louis. It introduces Mr. Dubois-Mag'ny and is signed by General Bernard. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 26.

Referenced in Guides: French

Bertrand, Alvin Lee, 1918- interviewee. Oral history interview, 1995. 5 sound cassettes (7.5 hours), transcript (276 p.). Location: L:4700.0524. LSU alumnus and Boyd Professor of Sociology/Rural Sociology. Bertrand discusses growing up in rural Louisiana and the French language and Cajun culture. Bertrand also discusses loss of the small farm way of life, agricultural mores, and the impact of mechanization on rural life in Louisiana. Bertrand describes the general layout of the LSU campus in 1936, the creation of the LSU lakes, the LSU stadium, and student social activities. He comments on the many changes he witnessed while at LSU and details his long association with LSU and the Sociology Dept. He also discusses the development of rural sociology at LSU; his own involvement in international organizations; his work as an international rural sociologist; and his research and studies on health care needs. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0524.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Education, Acadiana, French, Medicine, LSU

Bertrand, Charles, Jr. Papers, 1866-1928. 728 items, 38 ms. vols. and 1 printed vol. Location: UU:141, H:14. Planter of Cloutierville, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Business papers and records of Charles Bertrand, Jr., and family documents (1676-1884) of members of the family in Couches-les-Mines, France. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 840, 867, 978.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, French

Bichot, Jean Baptiste. Petition, 1781 March 29. 1 item. Location: Misc:B. Bichot was an official of the area under the jurisdiction of the post of Pointe Coupee, in Louisiana. Item is a petition to Charles de Grand-Pré,, commandant of the post of Pointe Coupee, requesting permission to inform Madame de Rocheblave to pay her debt to Sieur du Doigt. A list of her debts is included. An endorsement by Grand-Pré, approves the action, and an addendum by Bichot records Rocheblave was informed to pay the debt. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4894.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Acadiana, French

Bienvenu family. Papers, 1779-1907. 143 items. Location: E:19. Planters of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, and New Orleans. Business papers of Alexandre Devince Bienvenu and Pierre Armand Bienvenu largely concern land ownership and sales in the Attakapas region, St. Martin Parish and New Orleans. Collection also includes family letters and genealogical papers. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2604.

Billaud family. Papers, 1816-1868. 43 items. Location: U:20. Residents of New Orleans. Papers include correspondence documenting personal and business affairs, including the purchase and sale of skins; city and parish tax receipts; and a copy of Marie Isabelle Billaud's birth certificate. Letters in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 499, 1361.

Blanc, Evariste. Land Sale, 1854 Sept. 26. 1 item. Location: Misc. B. Land sale by Evariste Blanc to the city of New Orleans for property located at Bayou St. John. Mostly in French. Mss. 5273.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

Blanchard Family Papers, 1782, 1806, 1828. 3 items. Location: Misc.:B. Residents of St. James Parish, Louisiana. Description and plat (one document), 1782; transfer, 1806; and lease of lands belonging to the Blanchard family. Partly in French and Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 30.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, French

Blanchard, Joseph. Document, 1825. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Resident of Iberville Parish, Louisiana. Sale (notarized copy) of land and slaves of Joseph Blanchard to Timoleon Boissac. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French

Blanchet, Jean and Marie Mathilde Cabaret. Papers, 1841-1842. 11 items. Location: Misc.:B. Residents of New Orleans. Papers include a power of attorney, signed in Paris, France, granted by them to M. M. Thon and Lubin Garnier, New Orleans; and receipts of the Blanchets, New Orleans, for payment of state, parish, and city property taxes. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 31, 52.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

Blineau, Olivier. Land Sale, 1832. 1 item. Location: Misc.: B. A land conveyance for the sale of property located on Rue de Sainte-Anne in New Orleans by Olivier Blineau to Grégoire Curto. In French. Mss. 5265.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

Bonaparte, Napoleon. Document, 1792. 1 item. Location: OS:N. First Consul of the Republic of France. Document signed by Napoleon Bonaparte commissioning Louis Guichard to the rank of Chief of Battalion, with a full acccount of his services. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1583.

Referenced in Guides: French

Bonnegent, Marie Jeanne. Document, ca. 18th century. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Fragmentary inventory and appraisal of a succession proceeding which lists property in St. Domingue. Document witnessed by Bullet. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1257.

Referenced in Guides: French

Book of prayers to Saint Anthony of Padua, 1800-1840. 1 v. Location: Misc.: B. A handwritten booklet in French, contains nine prayers to Saint Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost and stolen articles (circa 1800-1840). Mss. 3699.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, French

Bookter, Alexander. Succession Papers, 1805 May 10. 1 item (9 leaves). Location: Misc:B. Slaveholder of St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. Slaves and other property were seized and sold at public sale after the death of Alexander Bookter by the Sheriff of St. Helena Parish for the payment of Bookter's debts. Affidavits of Ann Liles, William Liles, and John Mink regarding ownership of slaves and other property in the estate of Alexander Bookter. Signed by Spanish commandant of Louisiana, Carlos de Grand-Pre. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4514.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, African Americans, French

Bordelon, Leonce P., Diaries, 1876-1931, 2005. 15 v. Location: J:28. Avoyelles Parish, La., planter. Diaries of Leonce P. Bordelon reflect Louisiana plantation life in rural Avoyelles Parish during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Entries pertain primarily to plantation operations, the effects of climate on those operations, social activities, health and local elections. Some entries in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4952.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, French, Medicine

Bossier, Mrs. V. P. Account, 1838. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Statement of account receipted by Follain, Fux & Co. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 33.

Referenced in Guides: Business, French

Boucry Family Papers, 1814-1884, 1910 (bulk 1830-1884). 6 items, 3 vols. Location: 77:88, Mss. Mf.:B.Sugar planters of Bonne Esperance Plantation, St. James Parish, Louisiana. Papers include record books of Helene Boucry containing financial and genealogical information about the Boucry, Bonnecaze, Webre, and related families. Partly in French. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reel 8. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 790, 800.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, French

Boudousquie, Charles. Document, 1840. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Sale of slaves to Charles Roussel, signed by a notary, with seal. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 34.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French

Boudreaux, Maximilien E. Family Papers, 1856-1927 (bulk 1866-1905). 0.4 linear ft. (78 items, 15 ms. Vols., 1 printed vol.). Location: E:41. Sugar planter in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Boudreaux and his son Rene may have practiced tenant farming in the 1890s. Papers pertain largely to the cultivation and sale of sugar cane and the purchase of merchandise, and include correspondence, cashbooks, time books, a letterbook, and a memorandum book containing genealogical information. 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, Reel 15. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1099.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, French

Bougaud, C. Letter, 1803 May 16. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Business letter written from New Orleans, La., addressed to Mr. Stre. Bossier, Opelousas, La., discusses the handling of C. Bougaud's account and his financial assets. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3482.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

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