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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Smith, Philander. Letter, 1806 April 27. 1 item. Resident of Natchez, Mississippi. Letter from Smith to his brother Jedideah Smith of Massachusetts, relating his economic status, political views, and cost of living conditions of planters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 634.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Natchez, Mississippi

Smithfield Plantation. Records, 1900-1970, undated 35 linear ft., 191 vols. Location: IMSMP, 124. Sugar plantation complex near Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Business records include correspondence; bills and receipts; cane yield reports; tax returns; stock orders; ledgers; journals; and production reports. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2908.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

Smylie-Montgomery Family Papers, 1807-1919 (bulk 1807-1869). 1.25 linear ft. Location: C:116-117, OS:S. Family of Mississippi planters and Presbyterian ministers. Correspondence comprises the bulk of this collection, with some Church records and personal papers. Collection reflects the Presbyterian Church in Mississippi, plantation life, cotton, and family matters, with references to the Choctaw Indians, the behavior of slaves, and economic difficulties after the Civil War. For more information, see online catalog. Mss. 5038.

Snellings, John P. (John Phillip), 1834-1923. Account books, 1855-1905 (bulk 1894-1897). 1 linear ft. (11 vols.). Location: A:99, J:12. Merchant of Elbert County, Georgia, and planter and commissary operator of Bunkie, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes individual account sales records, plantation records, a volume of verses written by Snellings, and a volume used to practice penmanship. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 956.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, Literature

Snyder, Alonzo. Papers, 1779-1919 (bulk 1800-1861). 3,534 items, 6 volumes. Location: R:38-40, J;7, OS:S. Cotton planter, judge, and Louisiana senator from Madison and Tensas parishes, Louisiana. Snyder's business, official, and personal papers consist of letters, land records, financial papers, and legal record books that reflect legal cases, state laws, politics, plantation management, secession, the Civil War, public health, and his family. Snyder served as attorney for the estate of Jacob Bieller of Concordia Parish, Louisiana, and these files include correspondence and reports from Natchez, Mississippi, businessmen. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 655.

Snyder, Caleb Hurst. Records, 1886-1901. 1 vol. (on microfilm). Location: MSS.MF:S (filmed on microfilm reel with Alanson Wood Moore and Family Papers; shelved at MSS.MF:M). Cuba Plantation commissary and store ledger. Mss. 3896.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Somerville, James. Letter, 1874 Aug. 26. 1 item. Location: Misc.:S. James Somerville, an attorney in Carrollton, Miss., writes Frank Wilson of Brentwood, Miss., regarding a legal case involving ownership of a plantation. Mss. 3975.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Songy, Edward Barbarouse, 1854-1943. Family photograph, circa 1916. 2 photographic prints. Location: 65:5. The Songy Planting Co., Ltd., was incorporated in 1906 with Alfred Songy, president; Edward Songy, vice-president; and P.G. Songy, secretary and treasurer, to carry on the business of a sugar plantation in St. John the Baptist Parish, La. A 5 x 7 in. original albumen print mounted on an 8 x 10 in. board depicts a family portrait of the Songy family on the front porch steps of a house. Mss. 4081.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Spyker, Leonidas Pendleton, 1818-1867. Collection, 1856-1932 (bulk 1856-1860). 1 vol. [typed copies]. Location: Mss. Mf.:S. Resident of Hard Times Plantation and New Hope Plantation, both in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. Records include the plantation diary of Leonidas Spyker; a list of family names appearing in the diary; a sketch of the family of Sarah Mildred Gilmer, wife of Spyker; and a list of persons buried in the Spyker family vault in New Orleans. Included is a letter from Mrs. Theodore Wilkinson to Cecilia Egan describing a raid on New Hope Plantation by Union soldiers in the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 589.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Civil War

Steele, Archibald B. Family Papers, 1830-1897, undated 22 items, 1 ms. vol. Location: Mss. Mf.:S. Planter and merchant of Amite County, Mississippi. Papers include business records, a family letter (1853), and a journal of Archibald Steele (1832-1840). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2645.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, Natchez, Mississippi