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.

Keary, Patrick F. Letters, 1848-1855. 19 items. Location: Misc. Planter of Ben Lomand Plantation, Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Letters to Wylie and Egana and Juan Y. de Egana, brokers in New Orleans, concerning business and plantation matters on Keary's cotton plantation, Ben Lomand, and his sugar plantation Catalpa Grove, on Bayou Boeuf, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1053.

Keary, Patrick F. Letter, 1850 Jan. 8. 1 letter. Location: Misc. Patrick F. Keary of Catalpa Grove Plantation near Cheneyville, La., writes Juan Y. de Egana, commission merchant of New Orleans, relating the loss of seven slaves to cholera and giving a list of supplies needed at the plantation. Mss. 3913.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Keller family. Plantation records, 1858-1937 (bulk 1908-1923). 9 items, 17 volumes, 1 microfilm reel. Location: MISC:K, P:16, MSS.MF:K. The Keller family owned Welham Plantation and operated a store in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes antebellum slave record books (1858-1860), plantation and store ledgers, cashbooks, daybooks, and receipts. Slave record books are on microfilm. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3010.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, African Americans

Kelly, Lou M. Reminiscences and Letters, [1905], 1925. 3 items. Location: E:4. Lou Kelly lived at Ranson Plantation, St. Charles Parish, La. Kelly's reminiscences and letters pertain to an African American labor riot in St Charles Parish in 1880. Kelly wrote the reminiscences in 1905 for author Helen Pitkin Schertz's fictionalized account of the riot. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4796.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, Literature

Kendrick, Benjamin. Papers, 1806-1894 (bulk 1810-1840). 0.7 linear ft. (611 items). Location: U:170. Cotton planter and slaveholder of the Feliciana parishes, Louisiana. In 1823 he moved from St. Francisville (West Feliciana Parish) near Jackson (East Feliciana Parish) and in 1830 he established Asphodel Plantation there. Collection includes legal papers, bills, receipts, and correspondence. Papers document medical care for family members and slaves; and include letters from New Orleans merchants and a letter from a Missouri slave dealer (1836). Some materials relate to David J. Fluker of East Feliciana Parish, Kendrick's son-in-law. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reels 11-12. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 906.

Kenner family. Papers and diaries, 1844-1892 (bulk 1844-1856). 49 items; 8 vols. Location: C:30, J:5, . Sugar and rice planters of Oakland Plantation, Jefferson Parish; and Roseland Plantation, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. Papers consist of personal correspondence, a diary, and two memorandum books. Included are Civil War letters of Lieutenant Philip Minor Kenner. Plantation diaries and correspondence of Charles Oxley, husband of Martha Kenner, record activities at Roseland Plantation. Available on microfilm 5735 and 5322: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B Reel 10 and Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reel 5 For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 775.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Civil War

Kenner, Duncan Farrar. Papers, 1838-1905 (bulk 1838-1894). 0.8 linear ft., 3 volumes. Location: A:51, F:4, VAULT:1, VAULT MRDF 2. Planter of Ashland, Ascension Parish, Louisiana, and Confederate diplomat. Collection includes financial, legal, and personal papers related to Ashland Plantation and Kenner's investments and business dealings in New Orleans, especially with his brother-in-law, General Richard Taylor, in leasing the New Basin Canal in New Orleans, as well as horse racing and Kenner's diplomatic mission to France on behalf of the Confederacy. Available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 1, Reel 14. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 198, 1402, 1477.

Kenner, William, 1776-1823. Papers, 1802-1832, undated. 371 items. Location: T:30. New Orleans factor and commission merchant affiliated with John Oldham and Richard Clague in a general mercantile and commission business under the firm name of William Kenner & Company. Business and personal papers of Kenner document territorial and antebellum economic and social life at New Orleans; conditions on the eve of the War of 1812; and details of the Battle of New Orleans. Included are papers relating details received at New Orleans on the Napoleonic Wars and their aftermath; and papers reflecting slavery and plantation life in Louisiana and Mississippi.Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 3, Reels 12-13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1477, 1491.

Ker, John, 1789-1850. Family Papers, 1803-1862. 27 items, 1 vol. Location: S:108. Medical doctor of Good Hope Plantation of Concordia Parish, Louisiana, and the father of Mary Susan and William H. Ker. Papers include letters from Stephen Duncan, Sr., of Natchez, Mississippi, and Philadelphia, to Dr. John Ker; and Civil War letters from William H. Ker, a Confederate soldier. Collection also includes a diary (1850-1851) of Mary Susan Ker with details on family life after her father's death. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 15. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3539.

Kerr family. Photograph album,| ca. 1890. 1 vol. Location: H:17. Photograph album of the Kerr family of Dixie Plantation, Franklin, Louisiana, includes photographs of Ringgold, Barrow, and Lidell family members. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4741.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations