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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WBRZ collection, 1969-1970. 337 items, 3 reels. Location: X:54. Television station in Baton Rouge. Collection includes script, film, and slides from a television broadcast about Solitude Plantation, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana; a collection of pictures of historical subjects; and a videotape of an interview originally made by the LSU CCTV system. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2459, 2528.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge, LSU

Webber, Benjamin Franklin, d. 1940. Ledger, 1911-1941. 1 vol. (on microfilm) Location: Mss. Mf.:W Storekeeper of Montpelier, Clay County, Mississippi. Ledger contains entries for sales of general merchandise and labor performed by tenant farmers. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2963.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business

Webre-LeBlanc Family Papers, 1820-1986 (bulk 1912-1936). 0.5 linear ft. Location: 40. The Webre and LeBlanc family members owned and operated many plantations and general stores in south Louisiana. The Desire LeBlanc Plantation was known for producing perique tobacco, and his daughter Alcidie was a sugar farmer with her husband Louis S. Webre. Edward C. Webre was one of the first graduates of the Audubon Sugar Institute, and Frank Sevin worked for the Webre-Steib Co. Ltd. which operated the Golden Ridge Plantation. The Webre-LeBlanc Family Papers consist of correspondence, receipts, photos, ledgers, and genealogy information. These papers document the Webre-LeBlanc family ties and business interactions from 1820 to 1968. Mss. 4145.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Business

Wederstrandt, Charles. Document, 1827. 1 item (notarized copy). Location: Misc.:W. Resident of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Bill of sale for one-third interest in Magnolia Grove Plantation by Wederstrandt to the Bank of the United States. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Weeks, David. Family Papers, 1782-1957 (bulk 1830-1870). 10,106 items, 15 vols. Location: 70, J:6, X:76, Mss. Mf.:W . The Weeks and related Conrad, Moore, and Gibson families were planters of New Iberia, Louisiana, and other areas in south Louisiana. Papers document the sugar plantation economy; cotton planting; slaves and free African American laborers; railroad building; state and national politics; education; and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Includes early papers of Charles N. Conrad, U.S. senator; political correspondence of John Moore, U.S. congressman; and a microfilmed inventory of The Shadows in New Iberia. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution to the Civil War, Series I, Part 6, Reels 1-20. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 528, 605.

West Indies land and property records, 1798-1883. 14 items. Location: Map Cage: Map Case 14, Drawers 5-6. Selected public documents reflecting land tenure mainly in the Parish of Vere, Jamaica, principally for George Radcliff, a sugar planter (1809-1839). Other documents pertain to lands in the West Indies and include a conveyance (1798) for the sale of a plantation, slaves, and livestock on the island of Antigua and a mortgage and lease for two coffee plantations in the colony of Berbice, British Guiana (1813). Additionally, one item documents the surrender of the charter of the Levant Company (1825), a group of British merchants trading in the eastern Mediterranean area, particularly with Turkey. Part of the West Indies Collection. Mss. 622.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, Business

White (Edith) Photograph Collection, circa 1850 - 1970. 261 items. Location: 65. The Edith White Photograph Collection consists largely of photographic images created between circa 1850 and 1970. This includes daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, albumen prints in various formats, gelatin silver prints in various formats, resin-coated paper prints, and photographic color prints. Many of the images are identified. These identified prints relate largely to the McKowen, Woodside, and White families. The collection also includes a number of newspaper clippings and a printed death notice. The clippings provide information about the McKowen, Glynn, and White families. The printed death notice relates the death of Maggie Germany Woodside. Mss. 4758.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

White, Maunsel. Papers, 1852, 1897-1898. 4 items. Location: Misc.:W. Cotton factor, planter. Letters and documents establishing the title and sale of Ashley Plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, La., by John Julian Pringle to Albert A. Batchelor in 1898. Ashley Plantation was formerly owned by Maunsel White, who sold the plantation to Pringle in 1852. The papers include a bill of sale transferring the title of the plantation and the ownership of 52 slaves. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1293.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

White, Maunsell, ca. 1780-. Letterbook, 1845-1850. 1 ms. vol. Location: Mf.:W., Misc.:W. Sugar planter of Deer Range Plantation, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Letterbook containing family and business letters dealing with sugar planting, processing, and slavery; politics; support for a university in Louisiana; and the planning and construction of the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge. Original letterbook is located at the University of North Carolina Library. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2888.

Wilkins, W. W. (William Webb), d. 1859. Letters, 1848-1852. 6 items. Location: Misc:W. Plantation owner and saw mill operator of East Carroll Parish and St. James Parish. Collections contains six letters from Wilkins to his brother, Edmund, in North Carolina, concerning crops, plantation life, slaves, and his neighbors. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reel 10. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4005.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, African Americans