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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Harkins, John. Manuscript, 1967. 1 item (59 pages). Location: E:45. Poplar Grove, Sugar Plantation on the West Bank of the Mississippi River across from Baton Rouge,' term paper presented for Fine Arts 120 taught by Mr. James R. Reeves. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2250.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Education

Harris, William H. Papers, 1893-1930. 14 items, 1 vol. Location: MISC:H. Probably an African American who worked as a foreman or handyman around Augusta Plantation Sugar House, Bayou Goula, Iberville Parish, Louisiana. Papers include business correspondence and a Wholesale Pocket Business Directory of New Orleans for 1893. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3261.

Harrison, L. B. Letter, 1854 Mar. 23. 1 item. Location: Misc.:H. L.B. Harrison in New Orleans, La., remarks how his wife enjoyed the countryside around the Louisiana sugar plantations. He also recommends that spending a month in a sugar house at grinding season is a cure for lung diseases because of the beneficial effects of the vapors rising from the sugar kettles. Mss. 3858.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Medicine

Hawkes, John. Letter, 1863 January. 1 item. Location: Misc. Union soldier in the Civil War, a member of the 50th Massachusetts Regiment. Letter written from Camp Parapet, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, to a member of Hawkes' family in Maine. He mentions the fortifications at camp, guarding the plantation of a widow, and drinking the river water. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1265.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War

Hawkins, J. E. (Josiah Edwin). Papers, 1857-1929 (bulk 1880-1900). 6.7 linear ft. (4,464 items, 135 ms. vols., 52 printed vols.). Location: UU:309-315, J:8-9, OS:H, 98:H. Physician, surgeon, and farm owner in Bayou Chicot, Evangeline Parish, Louisiana. Hawkins was originally from Georgia and first practiced medicine in Columbia City, Arkansas. Collection includes professional, business, and personal papers related to Hawkins' medical career. Papers include medical daybooks, plantation diaries, financial records, maps, and newspapers from New Orleans and St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 982.

Haydel, Antoine. Records, 1856-1858. 5 items. Location: Misc.: H. Planter of St. John Parish, La. Accounts for the purchase of clothing and household items. In French. Mss. 5266.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, French

Hazard Company. Letters, 1839-1855. 88 items. Location: E:57. Rhode Island manufacturer of cotton and woolen clothing, shoes, and textiles, with agents operating in New Orleans. Correspondence deals with clothing and textiles sold to plantation owners of Louisiana and Mississippi, and clothing worn by slaves on plantations. Customers were primarily from the Feliciana parishes in Louisiana and the Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi, areas. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 789, 845, 942, 1194, 1232.

Henderson, John J., Jr. Account books, 1870-1900. 10 vols. Location: G:11. Resident of Avalon Plantation, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. Cash book, ledgers, and time books. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 536.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Henslee, Elizabeth Trowbridge. Collection, 1876-2004, undated (bulk 1899-1960). 1.85 linear ft. Location: 118:1. The granddaughter of Louisiana Governor and U.S. Senator Murphy J. Foster and Rose Routh Ker from Franklin, Louisiana. The collection contains personal papers, family photographs, political campaign ephemera, newspaper clippings, and cookbooks collected by the Henslee, Trowbridge, and Foster families. A significant component of the collection is the papers and correspondence of Elizabeth’s grandfather. Mss. 5154.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Women

Herbert, Susan F. Papers, 1839, 1852-1857. 34 items. Location: C:61. Resident of Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Statements from Payne and Harrison, New Orleans factor, for sale of cotton for the estate of T. S. Herbert and for his wife, Susan Herbert. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1209.