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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Laughlin, Clarence John. Papers, circa 1924-1978. 0.3 linear ft. Location: E:55. Louisiana photographer. Papers include a heavily annotated copies of volumes used by Laughlin and loose notes. Miscellaneous items include some correspondence, brochures, newspaper and magazine clippings, and maps. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4538.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Literature

Lazaro, Ladislas. Papers, 1894-1928. 6,235 items, 43 vols. Location: C:37-43; P:4; Z:15, 22. Louisiana physician, state senator, U.S. congressman, and planter. Papers contain correspondence, clippings, speeches, government publications, and memorandum books recording Lazaro's service as a U.S. Representative. Political papers reflect his interest in agriculture and the tariff question, state and local politics, and related national matters. Daybooks and ledgers document his medical practice in Grand Prairie (1894-1913). Some bound volumes include material about World War I. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1113, 1149.

Leary, Calvin. Record books, 1846-1881. 2 volumes. Location: 1:. Native of North Carolina and farmer and landholder in Bienville Parish, Louisiana and Houston County, Georgia. Record books document mostly farm operations and include notes on the weather and climate, particularly at Sunnyside Plantation in Bienville Parish. The first record book also contains notes on cures, remedies, and medicinals. Mss. 4273.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Medicine

LeBlanc, Auguste. Family Papers, 1812-1866 (bulk 1859-1866). 5 items (includes 1 vol.). Location: Misc:L, G:16. Cotton planter on Happy Retreat Plantation near Grosse Tete, Iberville Parish, Louisiana. Papers consist of documents relating to Octave LeBlanc of Plaquemines Parish and Louis LeBlanc of St. Martin Parish and a plantation record book kept by Auguste LeBlanc. The record books contains entries for daily work performed and slave assignments. Memoranda discuss runaway slaves in Baton Rouge with the federal army in the Civil War, an expense account of building materials used to construct the Grosse Tete Chapel, and accounts with neighbors. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reel 17. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 214.

Lebret diary, 1858-1861, 1977 (bulk 1858-1861). 1 item, 1 volume and 1 microfilm reel. Location: VAULT:12 and MSS.MF:L. The Lebret family of Bayou Sara, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, was headed by Peter (a.k.a. Pierre) Lebret, French-born owner and operator of Lebret and Hearsey, a general merchandising firm in Bayou Sara, and Fancy Point Plantation. Diary, probably written by Peter Lebret's sister-in-law. She mentions caring for children and slaves, teaching children, sewing, housekeeping, business dealings in trying to purchase more land, Waterloo Plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, and local and family news. Previously known as anonymous diary. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3504.

Leidigh, Jacob M. Correspondence, 1859-1860. 4 items. Location: Misc. Letters by Northerners teaching music at the Brooksville Academy in Mississippi, to their brother, giving their impressions of slavery in Mississippi. They also describe travel and Colonel Brooks' plantation home. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1598.

Leonard, Theodule. Papers, 1841-1896. 135 items. Location: C:55. Planter, tax collector, and sheriff of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, and captain of Company O of the West Feliciana Regiment of the Louisiana Militia in the Civil War. Letters relate Confederate maneuvers around Columbus, Kentucky. Some papers and letters in French. Available on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 12. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1209.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Civil War, French

Leverich Company. Correspondence, 1839-1848. 5 items. Location: MISC:L. Cotton factors of New York and New Orleans. Letters of J. H., Henry L., and Charles P. Leverich concerning business and family matters. Included is a letter from Charles P. Leverich describing a sea voyage from New York to New Orleans in 1845. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2466.

Leverich Company. Papers, 1830-1851. 149 items. Location: W:11. Cotton factors of New York and New Orleans. Letters pertain to New Orleans business and banking conditions, shipping between New York and New Orleans, and family matters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2998.

Leverich, Charles P. Correspondence, 1834-1847. 81 items. Location: A:56. Factor of New York City associated with J. H. Leverich and Company of New Orleans. Correspondence consists of letters from New Orleans merchants, factors and Louisiana and Mississippi planters discussing the sguar trade. Letters from St. Mary Parish planters refer to shipping sugar and other cargo, a mortgage on Leonidas Polk's plantation, floods, and the parish's health. Letter from William J. Minor of Natchez mentions his interest in horse racing and his son's finances. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1078, 1220, 1352, 1506, 2418.