Manuscript Resources on Plantation Society and Economy

This guide describes manuscript collections documenting plantation society and economy in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) at LSU. The plantation records and personal papers of planters, factors, merchants, and others whose livelihood came from plantations provide a wealth of documentation supporting research in plantation economy, slavery, and the social history of Southern landholding elites.

The collections described below touch upon all facets of plantation life. They include the papers of tutors, preachers, lawyers, and doctors who provided services to planters. They include the letters of Northerners who visited plantations in the antebellum period and wrote home about them, and those of Union soldiers who marched past plantations and sometimes plundered them. While the majority of collections are from the prewar years, there are substantial holdings on postbellum plantations as well. The sugar and cotton plantation records in LLMVC are among its most noteworthy and famed collections, and among the earliest collections that LSU acquired.

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Cowan, James, 1788-1864. Letter, 1851 March 15. 1 Letter. Location: MISC:C. James Cowan, son of Captain Thomas Cowan, married Harriette Adelaide Craige (1795-1867) and the couple lived in Jasper County, Ga. and Henry County, Tenn. This letter was written to Catherine St. Pierson while James Cowan was aboard the Steamer, Jamestown and describes plantation life on the Mississippi. Mss. 5123.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Cox, Owen B. Papers, 1844-1882, undated 21 items [on microfilm]. Location: Mss. Mf.:C. Planter and merchant of Clinton and Briarfield, Mississippi. Papers include slave sale documents; family letters; two Jefferson Davis documents; and a contract (1879) and a letter (1882), both pertaining to the management of Briarfield Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3041.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Cox, Robert Ray. Oral history series, 1977-1978. 10 tapes. Location: W:41. Tapes of interviews conducted by Cox while doing research on his thesis on Weeks Hall and his work on the gardens at the Shadows in New Iberia, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3282.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Crabb, Edward L. (Edward Lewis). Papers, 1841-1886. 38 items. Location: A:77. Edward L. Crabb was a businessman of Brooklyn, New York, who worked in the sugar refining business. The papers primarily consist of letters received by Edward L. Crabb from his relatives discussing family news, the operation of the Cuba estates, a cholera epidemic in Cuba, the purchase of sugarcane and molasses, sugar refining, and other business issues. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4245.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, New Orleans 1866-, Business

Crane, Andrew E. Papers, 1835-1917. 1,016 items, 6 volumes. Location: U:45-47, F:16, OS:C. Carriage maker in New Orleans and planter in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Early papers (1835-1845) pertain to Crane's business interests as a carriage maker. Other materials relate to Crane's purchase of a plantation in St. James Parish (1849) and to a partnership (circa 1864) with C. R. Kuneman to cultivate a plantation. Correspondence (1874) with William Little of Galveston, Texas, discusses timber interests. Later material relates to Zachary Crane and the St. Michael Corporation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 89, 1361.

Cuny, Benjamin Philip, 1804-1883. Family Papers, 1845-1949. 25 items and 7 volumes. Location: 1:68. Personal correspondence, papers, and records of the Cuny family of Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, and the Clark family of Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Bulk of correspondence to Benjamin Philip Cuny from family members. Various legal and personal records and volumes pertain primarily to the ownership and management of the family’s property. Mss. 4246

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Curtis, A. J. Letter, 1867 Apr. 17. 1 letter. Location: Misc. A.J. Curtis writes to his friend, Phillip Bacon, lamenting the poor returns from his plantation five miles below Algiers, his business in New Orleans, and plantations owned by acquaintances. He describes a levee break 60 miles above New Orleans and expresses satisfaction at the defeated, embittered attitude of southerners being "very gratifying to us Union men." Mss. 3751.

Daigle, Isadore, b. 1846. Family Papers, 1859-1966. 155 items. Location: Y:86, OS:D, Vault:38. Plantation owner in West Baton Rouge Parish. Personal papers, three photograph albums and various loose photographs, documenting the Daigle, Woodruff, and Noyes families. Family papers include the contract for the construction of the St. Delphine Plantation (1859), a legal letter to the heirs of Mr. Daigle (1911), and newspaper clippings. Mss. 4041.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Dalrymple, C. G. Letter, 1847 June 5. 1 item. Location: Misc:D. Resident of Monroe County, Mississippi, and the wife of a cotton plantation overseer. Letter to Dalrymple's brother and sister in North Carolina describing her life on a small cotton plantation, land settlement in the area, the activities of family members, local attitudes towards violence, and her psychological state. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2966.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

Dardenne, Eugenie. Land document, 1856 March 24. 1 item (4 leaves). Location: Misc:D. Land conveyance recording the sale of slaves and one-third of the ownership of Dardenne Plantation, a sugar plantation in Iberville Parish, Louisiana. The sale was made to John A. Dardenne. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, African Americans