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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Milne Asylum Papers, 1840-1856. 36 items. Location: OS:M. The Milne Asylum was established by the charitable bequest of Alexander Milne, a Scottish immigrant of New Orleans. He bequeathed money and property for the establishment of the Milne Asylums in Milneburg, one for orphan boys, the other for girls. Papers include agreements and orders of appropriations from the estate of Milne for the Milne Asylums, certificates of fees paid by the asylums for goods and services, mortgage documents, and insurance receipts. Included are a request for the admission of a foundling to the asylum, the release of a boy to the asylum by his mother, Papers also relate to the title of land involved in the Milne bequest. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1170.

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

Minor, William J. and family. Papers, 1779-1898, 1941 (bulk 1830-1870). 410 items, 37 volumes, 1 microfilm reel, 70 microfiche. Location: U:229, H:2, MSS.MF:M, VAULT:1, OS:M, MICROFICHE 2729. Sugar planter of Southdown and Hollywood Plantations in Terrebonne Parish and Waterloo Plantation in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Minor was president of the Agricultural Bank of Natchez, Mississippi. Collection includes plantation records; banking papers; and personal correspondence of the Stephen, William J., and Henry C. Minor families of Natchez and Terrebonne Parish. Some letters in Spanish and French. Some items available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 3, Reels 1-4. Some items available on microfiche. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 519, 594.

Miro, Estevan Rodriguez, 1744-1795. Letters, 1782-1791. 20 items [typed copies]. Location: Misc.:M, Vault MRDF 3, Vault:1. Governor of Spanish colonial Louisiana. Letters from Miro to Alexandre de Clouet, Commandant of Attakapas and Opelousas, and to St. Marc Darby and Juan de la Villebeuvre, government officials at Opelousas pertaining to administrative matters including successions, road repairs, and a decree restricting the movement of Acadians. In French and Spanish with English translations. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 298.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Acadiana, French

Modena, Joseph. Papers, 1796-1798. 4 items. Location: Misc. Resident of New Orleans, Louisiana. Papers pertain to legal matters. Two are signed by Luis Héctor Carondelet, Spanish governor of Louisiana. In French and Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1463.

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

Montfort vs. Montfort document, 1842. 1 item (notarized copy). Location: Misc:M. Record of New Orleans Court case no. 14575 concerning a suit brought against Jean Jacques Montfort by his wife. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 315.

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

Morant, Josephine. Document, 1837. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of New Orleans. Power of attorney of Josephine Morant to John and Lubin Garnier. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 306.

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

Motte Family Papers, 1862-1921. 41 items, 3 v. Location: Misc.: M. A family of French and African American heritage in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. The collection contains personal and business papers of the Motte family of St. Landry Parish. Personal papers include a summary of birth and baptismal records for the children born to Blaize Motte, Sr. (October 15, 1862) and family letters. Some letters are in French. A French edition of a Catholic missal contains genealogical notes, v. 1 (1864). Business papers include a description of a tract of land purchased in St. Landry Parish (Aug. 17, 1869) and two store ledgers, v. 1(1865-1869; v. 2 (1867-1868). Ledger entries are in French. There is also a memorandum notebook (1897-1903), and several parish tax receipts (1906-1921). Mss. 3627.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Business, African Americans, French

Moyse-Gottlieb-Sommer Family Papers, 1886-1986 (bulk 1910-1960). 3 linear ft., 2 v. Location: U:317, OS:M, M:19. Members of the Moyse, Gottlieb, and Sommer families were predominantly merchants, businessmen, and bankers in Louisiana, primarily Baton Rouge. Correspondence, financial documents, photographs, printed items, scrapbooks, and writings reflect the personal and professional lives of a Jewish family from the 1880s to the 1980s. Central topics include Hermann Moyse Sr.'s involvement in the First World War and his employment at City National Bank, the educational activities of Ray and Lydie Sommer, and the family's association with Temple B'nai Israel. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4671.

Musson, Sheperd, and Hermann. Document, 1820. 1 item. Location: Misc. Residents of New Orleans, Louisiana. Land conveyance (notarized copy) by Germain Musson, James H. Sheperd, and Thomas L. Hermann to Christopher Nagel. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 310.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

N. & J. Hart form letter, 1830. 1 form letter. Location: MISC:H. Form letter concerning damage to cotton bales from a recent fire at the cotton press of Messrs. N. & J. Hart in New Orleans, La., and its effect on prices. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 238.

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

Natchitoches estate papers, 1783-1834. 4 items. Location: Misc.:N. Receipts for real estate sales and services, a promissory note, and a testament. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3476.

Referenced in Guides: French

Natchitoches Parish legal documents, 1784, 1812, 1821, 1834, 1849. 7 items. Location: Misc.:N. Collection of legal documents from Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, including items from probate proceedings, two pages from a court docket, one invoice, and one deed. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3729.

Referenced in Guides: French

Natchitoches Parish miscellaneous documents, 1801-1856.13 items. Location: Misc.:N. Documents include land certificates and sale documents especially illustrative of the holdings of Nicolas Doclas, a free African-American man, and of Jean Baptiste Prudhomme; a moral tract condemning suicide (1856); a list of baptized slave children; and a survey map showing locations and dimensions of land holdings of Nicolas Doclas and Jean Baptiste Prudhomme. Mostly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2914.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, African Americans, French

Natchitoches Parish records, 1734-1932. 3.5 linear ft., 10 volumes. Location: S:37-42, L:12, OS:N. Collection contains official and legal documents of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, pertaining to Clerk of Court records, court dockets of civil and criminal actions, land claims, bills of indictments, marriage licenses, cancelled bond notes, certificates of naturalization, and notarial acts. Also included are the records of the merchant firm of Barr, Davenport and Murphy (1808-1810). Some items in French and Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 480, 876, 929, 940, 961.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, Business, French

Navarro, Santiago. Document, 1823. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Document (copy) on the settlement of the estate of Santiago Navarro. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 552.

Referenced in Guides: French

Nerat, Auguste. Document, 1800. 1 item. Location: Misc. Procurator for Joseph Lathiolais of Opelousas, Louisiana. Sale of slaves (copy) by Auguste Nerat to Baptiste Calais and Marcel Patin, signed by Martin Duralde, notary. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 314.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French

New Orleans Account Book, 1828-1835. 1 vol. N:1. Account book for an unidentified New Orleans merchant, written in French. Mss. 760.

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

New Orleans funeral notices, 1845-1866. 49 items. Location: EPHEMERA COLLECTION SUBGROUP VI. Printed and handwritten funeral notices from New Orleans families and a few announcements for memorial services. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 774.

New Orleans merchants' invoices, 1847-1859. 223 items. Location: T:63. Invoices and bills of lading of merchants in New Orleans from firms in Liverpool, Paris, Bordeaux, Genoa, and Le Havre for merchandise. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 573.

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

New Orleans miscellaneous documents, 1810-1879. 4 items [photocopies]. Location: MISC:N. Documents include a portion of a legal document (1810) signed by Charles Laveaux, father of Marie Laveaux; a slave sale document bearing signature of Marie Laveaux (1838); and two documents pertaining to property on Dauphin Street. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3147.

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