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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Jefferson, Elizabeth. Collection, 1867-1885, ca. 1918. 10 items [photocopies]. Location: Misc. Reminiscences by Elizabeth Jefferson describing her antebellum Mississippi home, and the treatment of the slaves and free African Americans on the plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2329.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, African Americans

Jenkins, John C. (John Carmichael) and family. Papers, 1837-1900 (bulk 1840-1855). 100 items, 14 volumes. Location: B:66, G:21, OS:J, Vault:72. Experimental agriculturist and horticulturist and resident of Elgin Plantation, Adams County, Mississippi. Personal papers and diary of the Jenkins family. The diary records results of Jenkins' experiments at Elgin, plantation routine, financial transactions, travel, and social and literary activities. Purchases of slaves and health of slaves are noted. Jenkins' account book shows expenditures for the home, family, plantations, and slaves. Correspondence includes Civil War letters from Jenkins' son, a Confederate soldier. Also available on microfiche 2729 (Southern Historical Manuscripts, Plantation Records 1799-1900). Does not include 1846 letter, which was acquired after filming. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 141, 142, 184, 187.

Johnson (Alfred Grima) Collection, 1805-2001 (bulk: 1850-1950). 1.3 linear feet. Locations: 111:7, OS:J. Retired Central Intelligence Agency officer and historic preservationist. Collection consists of correspondence, financial and legal documents, research notes, photographs, and other records pertaining to the Grima, Montegut, Pitot, Foley, and Pugh families of South Louisiana. The records were accumulated for the purpose of studying genealogy and family history. Contains records in both English and French. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 5005.

Johnson, Bradish. Account books, 1819-1896 (bulk 1868-1886). 3 vols. Location: F:18. Planter, Whitney Plantation, St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. Time book (1868) and pay roll book (1880-1886) for Whitney Plantation; an anonymous ledger containing accounts with early residents of St. John the Baptist Parish (1819-1822); and copies of letters written from Whitney Plantation (1896). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 753.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Johnson, Richard L. (Richard Lynn), Jr. Collection, circa 1920-1989. 3 copy prints, 3 photocopies. Location: MISC:J. Geneaologist. Collection contains 2 copy prints of Compton Cemetery (1983, 1989) and 1 copy print of John Compton and Amelie Compton's home (circa 1920) near Meeker, Louisiana. Photocopies are of images of Thomas Courtland Manning and Mary Louise Blair's tombstones in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans. Mss. 4249.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

Johnson, William T and family. Papers, 1793-1937 (bulk 1830-1870). 6 linear ft., 54 volumes. Location: U:161-162, O:71-73, 65:, OS:J African American barber and planter of Natchez. Personal papers, commercial records, diaries, and music of the Johnson family reflecting the condition of cultured and educated free persons of color both before and after the Civil War. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 1-6. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 529, 561, 597, 770, 926, 1093.

Jones, George Noble. Bill in Equity, circa 1840-1876. 1 item. Location: MISC: J. George Noble Jones was born in 1811 to Noble Wimberly Jones and Sarah Fenwick Jones, and was the grandson of Noble Jones, founder of Wormsloe Plantation near Savannah, Georgia, and was himself the owner of several plantations. This is a copy of a bill in equity, undated, for George Noble Jones and Mary N. Jones vs. Mary Nuttall and Hector W. Braden. The bill concerns stocks, slaves, and land from a Florida plantation owned by Mary Nuttall Jones, widow of William B. Nuttall, who remarried to George Noble Jones on May 18, 1840. Mss. 822.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Jones, James M. Plantation journals, 1854-1888 (bulk: 1855-1880). 6 items, 2 manuscript volumes, 1 microfilm reel. Location: VAULT:11, MSS.MF:J. James M. Jones was a cotton planter of Poplar Ridge Plantation, Rodney, Jefferson County Miss. Plantation journals (volume 1: 1854-1861, 1876-1880) and (volume 2: 1861-1866) record the weather, work done by his hands on the cotton, corn, pea, and fruit crops, the dates of the first cotton bloom for the year, and the amount of cotton picked. Farmers almanacs for 1876-1878 and 1880, as well as accounts with merchants, have been sewn into volume one. In addition to plantation work, volume two contains a few notations of Union soldiers in the area and the activities of freedmen (1864), as well as mentions of Jones's furloughs from the 4th Mississippi Cavalry. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4824.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, African Americans

Jones, John P. Papers, 1851-1859. 3 items. Location: MISC:J, OS:J. Papers contain a land lease agreement between the school commission of Franklin County, Mississippi and John P. Jones and a land grant certificate issued to Jones for purchasing land in Washington, Mississippi. Certificate is signed by President James Buchanan. There is also an estate conveyance document pertaining to Adaline Dillon and her father Clarkson Dillon. Document transfers two slaves, Angeline and Isaah [sic], to Adaline and is signed by other Dillon family members. Mss. 5353. 

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, African Americans

Jules A. Dornier and Family Papers, 1917-1965. 0.3 linear ft. Location: 50:15, OS:D. Farm and sugar planting family near Convent, Saint James Parish, Louisiana. Correspondence and ephemeral related to the family's farm business including World War II prisoner of war labor contracts. The collection also contains letters from former POW laborers and records showing Lillian Dornier's involvement in the Cooperative for American Remittance to Europe (CARE, Inc.) program.. Mss. 3468.