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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Green, Caleb, Jr. Letter, Aug. 2, 1835. 1 item. Location: Misc.:G. Resident of St. Martin Parish, La. In a letter to his father in Saratoga County, New York, Caleb Green, Jr. announces the birth of his daughter, describes suffering a heat related illness and the use of bleeding as a medical treatment. He also reports on the financial worth of two planter friends in Mississippi. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4406.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Medicine

Grisham-Kellogg-Faust family. Papers, 1860-2009 (bulk 1899-1976). 8.5 linear ft. Locations: U:321-329, OS:G, H:12, AA:, 65:. Papers consist of correspondence, photographs, personal papers and printed material. Material reflects the social activities, family life, travel and the genealogy of the Grisham-Kellogg-Faust family of Louisiana and Bolivar, Tenn. Included in the correspondence are World War I letters discussing logging in France, letters of college students, and picture postcards of plantations in Natchez, Miss. and Louisiana. Photographs include African American household employees, 1927 Mississippi River Flood, and portraits of Gov. Sam Jones, Gov. John McKeithen and Senator Russell Long. Mss. 5048.

Gurley, John W. Papers, 1858-1866. 81 items. Location: U:145. Attorney of New Orleans. Gurley and his wife Rosa were registered as enemies of the United States during the Civil War but were excused after they signed oaths of amnesty. The majority of letters are from Edward G. Stewart, a planter of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Papers of the Civil War period include claims the Gurleys were enemies of the United States, their oaths of allegiance, and letters confirming their loyalty. Available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B Reel 6 and Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reel 13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 507.

Haag, William George, 1910-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1994. 2 sound cassettes (3 hours), Transcript (104 pages). Location: L:4700.0453. LSU Boyd professor emeritus of geography and anthropology. Haag discusses his family history; the University of Kentucky; his work as an archaeologist for the Tennessee Valley Authority; the University of Michigan; World War II; the University of Mississippi; and his impressions of William Faulkner. Haag also discusses his career at LSU; the Poverty Point archeological site; excavations at the Centroplex and Magnolia Mound Plantation, Baton Rouge; research in the Antilles; and Civil War studies. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0453.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, Education, LSU, Literature

Haile, Christopher Mason, Letter, 1838. 1 item. Location: OS:M. Four-page folio letter from Haile to fellow West Point cadet M.S. Culbertson about Haile's stay at Paul Hebert's Bayou Goulas Plantation (La.). Haile also discusses his stay at Dunboyne Plantation, owned by relatives of George Washington, and his interactions with the host families and their servant staffs. The letter is unstamped and dated February 18, 1838. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 5000.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Hale, William George, 1810-1883. Papers, 1797-1967. 287 items, 1 ms. vol. on 1 reel of microfilm. Location: Mss. Mf:H. Planter of DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. Papers include correspondence, legal documents, and financial records, including some that relate to the Civil War and regiments mustered at Camp Moore, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2426.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War

Hall, George Otis and family. Papers, 1856-1900, 1990 (bulk 1856-1880). 0.7 linear ft., 1 volume. Location: T:54, J:21. George Otis Hall and his wife Charlotte Emma LeDoux Hall, owners of Magnolia Mound, a sugar and indigo plantation in Baton Rouge. From 1860 on they lived in England and Europe. Papers include correspondence, photographs, social invitations, and newspaper clippings. Topics include the education of the Hall children in Louisiana and Europe, the family's resettlement in Europe, and Magnolia Mound. Partly in French. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reels 12-13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4320.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, Baton Rouge, French

Hamilton, William S. Papers, 1780-1930 (bulk 1807-1861). 3 linear ft., 14 manuscript volumes, 16 microfilm reels. Locations: T:81-87, H:21, OS:H, MSS.MF:H. United States Army officer under General Wade Hampton; slave owner and planter of Holly Grove Plantation, West Feliciana Parish; and politician who served on the first board of trustees for the College of Louisiana and a term in the Louisiana Legislature. While most papers pertain to William S. Hamilton's social, political, and professional life, some papers also pertain to John Hamilton (William S.'s father) and the children of William S. and Eliza C. Hamilton. Papers reflect the administration of United States Army troops in the Territory of Orleans and Mississippi and give an inclusive picture of national and Louisiana politics. Included are descriptions of Southern college facilities and curricula and early medical treatments in hydropathy (hydrotherapy). The papers also document conditions in the United States Army during the Mexican War, land speculation in Texas, and various aspects of plantation life and economy (including purchasing and treatment of slaves). Part of the George M. Lester Collection. Mss. 1209.

Hamilton, William Sutherland. Papers, 1766-1879, 1942. .5 linear ft. Locations: UU:148, OS:H. United States Army officer; slave owner and planter of Holly Grove Plantation, West Feliciana Parish; and politician who served on the first board of trustees for the College of Louisiana and a term in the Louisiana Legislature. Papers consist chiefly of letters received and written by William S. Hamilton but also other Hamilton family members, including John Hamilton and Eliza C. Hamilton, and other friends and relatives. In addition to documenting family news and communications, correspondence reflects aspects of plantation economy; health problems and diseases, including yellow fever; medical treatments; conditions in the United States Army during and after the War of 1812; and the political and economic situation in Texas (1840-1844). Mss. 3167.

Hamilton-Barrow Family Papers, 1781-1965. 0.3 linear ft. Location UU:253. Financial papers, legal documents, and correspondence of Bennett I. (James) Barrow, a plantation owner in West Feliciana Parish, and his descendents. Documents concern land claims and disputes in West Feliciana Parish, while personal correspondence pertains to family history, and includes letters during both the Civil War and World War II. Also included are original land claims signed by Governors Miró and Carondelet. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4458.