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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Rives, Mary Elizabeth Carter, 1829-1900. Diary, 1865-1900. 1 vol., (on microfilm) Location: Mss.Mf:R. Widow and planter of Mansfield, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. Diary records sentiments toward Confederate defeat and her experiences managing a plantation during early Reconstruction, including relations with freedmen. Also relates family activities and social life in Mansfield and Shreveport, Louisiana. Genealogical materials and remedies for smallpox, cancer, and scarlet fever are included. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2670.

Robertson, Frederick, D. Plantation record books, 1852-1923. 1 linear ft. (17 vols.). Location: H:13. Sugar planter of Plaquemine, Louisiana; owned and operated Island, Homestead, Myrtle Grove and Hunter's Lodge plantations. Five daybooks, three payroll books, and nine record books consisting of information regarding daily plantation activities such as cultivation of sugarcane and minor crops, payment of laborers, and expenditures and credits. Entries about Robertson's court cases are included in vol. 2. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 579, 687.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

Robertson, Maria McKinne Winter, 1854-1932. Papers, 1894-1932. .2 linear ft. [photocopies]. Location: UU:166. Robertson was born on Fairview Plantation, Georgia, and lived in Augusta, Georgia, and New Orleans. Papers consist of anecdotal accounts of her own and other families, and focus primarily on her life in Georgia. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3479.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, New Orleans 1866-

Robin, Jean. Document, 1764. 1 item. Location: Misc:.R. Resident of New Orleans. Sale of the plantation of Jean Robin to Phillip Perriche of New Orleans. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 423.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans to 1861, French

Robinson, Chester B. Photographs, 1950. 0.2 linear ft. Location: 19:10. Commercial photographer specializing in photographic wall decor. Color 35mm slides, color 120mm negatives, black/white 4 x 5 negatives, and 35mm black and white negatives are present. Scenes depicted include Louisiana landscapes, agriculture, the seafood industry, plantations, Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the State Capitol, and Louisiana State University. Portraits of African Americans include the caretaker of The Cottage plantation. Mss. 4685.

Robinson, Joseph Toole. Papers, 183-, circa 1830-1866, undated. 13 items, 6 ms. Vols. Location: C:13. Cotton planter of Willow Point Plantation, Red River Parish, Louisiana. Plantation diaries, record books, and other records of Robinson and his family pertain to plantation operation; cotton growing; slaves; medical visits; weather observations and instrument readings; Indians in the work force; and skilled labor. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reel 20. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1413.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, Medicine

Rosedown Plantation Restoration. Photograph collection, 1961-1962. 0.5 linear ft. (650 photographs and safety negatives). Location: A:98. The main house at Rosedown Plantation was built (1834-1835) by cotton planter Daniel Turnbull in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, near St. Francisville. In 1956 Catherine Fondren Underwood purchased the plantation and began extensive renovation. Chiefly photographs and negatives taken in 1961 and 1962 by Louis 'Red' Martel, documenting the restoration work carried out at Rosedown Plantation. A few additional photographs and negatives depict livestock, grounds, and St. Mary's Episcopal Church. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4350.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Plantations, Women

S. Gumbel & Co., Ltd. Records, 1884-1942 (bulk 1884-1921). 66 volumes; 0.3 linear ft. Location: P:14, 22; 114. Records are comprised of correspondence, financial papers, legal documents and business ledgers concerning the financial transactions of S. Gumbel & Co. Ltd, New Orleans commission merchant firm of Simon Gumbel. Collections relates to real estate in Louisiana and Mississippi, and the cotton, sugar, and rice trade in Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1490.

Salisbury Plantation: papers, 1858-1900 (bulk 1894). 3 items, including 2 vols. Location: Misc:S, M:18. Salisbury Plantation was located near Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi. A plantation record book contains accounts of payments made to laborers for cotton picked and work in turnip patches, as well as purchases made by laborers and crop estimates. Includes a school notebook of Arthur Crisfield of Maryland and a letter from Seymoura Scudder to Mrs. Shepherd of Salisbury Plantation commenting on house guests and plans for a trip to Tennessee. Available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 4, Reel 12. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1749.

Salsburg Plantation Account Book, 1886-1887. 1 volume. Location: N:1. This account book records transactions for Salsburg Plantation in Louisiana for the years 1886 and 1887.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations