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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Ransdell, John H. Papers, 1842-1886 (bulk 1842-1869). 9 items, 2 ms. vols. (on 1 microfilm). Location: Mss.Mf:R, B:40. Planter of Elmwood Plantation in Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana. He and his wife, Amanda Thickman, had nine children, one of whom, Joseph E. Ransdell, became a U.S. congressman and senator from Louisiana. Papers include a plantation diary (1842-1863) and letters written from Elmwood Plantation to Governor Thomas Overton Moore (1863) describing destruction of property by federal troops. A plantation account book (1867-1869) contains accounts of laborers on Elmwood Plantation (1869). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 959.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Civil War

Ravenswood Plantation property map, 1859. 1 manuscript map. Location: OS:R. Manuscript copy (created in 1859 by William J. McCulloh) of an 1826 township and range map (T.9N.R.10E.) showing the district north of Red River, Louisiana (chiefly areas in Concordia Parish and Tensas Parish). Handwritten notations identify Ravenswood Plantation as north of Lake St. John, southeast of Fletcher's Lake, and south of Azucena. "Yzanga" is written within the Ravenswood property note. Other handwritten notations of names include G. Ralston within the Azucena property note, George Marshall, and S. P. Duncan. Map also includes a table of contents with other claimants' names. John Maxwell (of the Surveyor's Office, Washington, Mississippi) is identified as surveyor of the land in 1829 as well. Mss. 5037.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Raymond, Clara C. Reminiscences, circa 1920-1948. 1 item [typescript]. Location: MISC:R. Resident of Evergreen Plantation. Reminiscences include a description of the plantation and scattered biographical data on members of the family. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 359.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

Reagan, George N. Lease, 1807. 1 item. Location: Misc.:R. Planter in Concordia Parish, Louisiana. Copy of lease for rent of Reagan's plantation to Thomas Hall for one year. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1257.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Redhead, Joseph. Joseph and John A. Redhead diary, 1853-1870. 1 ms. vol. (on microfilm). Location: Mss.Mf:R. Doctor and planter of Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Diary and letters copied in it describe plantation activities and his family's experience of the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1374.

Reed, Thomas, 1817-1891. Family Papers, 1787-1926 (bulk 1840-1890). 243 items, 8 vols. Location: A:12 and OS:R. Attorney in Natchez and resident of Cottage Home Plantation, Mississippi. Collection includes a land claim by the city of Natchez, documents related to Reed's law career, personal letters, genealogies, newspaper clippings, notes on Natchez history, and a bank book. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 783.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Natchez, Mississippi

Rees, Grover, 1891-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1991-1992. Transcript (22, 25 pages), 2 sound cassettes (2.5 hours). Location: L:4700.0078. Native of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and graduate of LSU (1912) and Harvard Law School (1915) who wrote a history of Breaux Bridge. Interview deals with his student years at LSU and Harvard; his book on Breaux Bridge; and his work at Gulf Oil Corporation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0078.

Reggio Family. Papers, 1771-1860. 9 items. Location: MISC:R. Sugar planters of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Papers include a petition (1771) by Francisco Maria Reggio to the King of Spain; papers (1812-1834) of Nicholas Reggio concerning property sales and mortgages; and papers (1836-1860) of Auguste Reggio, among them slave sales, mortgages, and accounts. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 363.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, African Americans, French

Richland Plantation plat, 1874 November 16. 1 item. Map of Richland Plantation, a sugar plantation in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, in the vicinity of Bayou Goula, was surveyed and drawn by P.N. Judice, Civil Engineer. It is hand tinted on cloth and shows details of the large property, including the plantation's own railroad tracks, the dwelling, garden, old quarters, hospital, stable, sugar house, pond, saw mill, cow pen, blacksmith's shop, and surrounding woods For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3050.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

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, 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

Sanders, Jared Young and family. Papers, 1816-1950 (bulk 1860-1930). 4 linear ft., 1 microfilm reel. Location: C:32-33, 98:S, P:5, Z:7, MSS.MF:S. Sugar planter, Confederate officer, governor of Louisiana. Speeches by Jared Y. Sanders III constitute the bulk of this collection. Financial papers (1843-1861) reflect family life and business concerns. Correspondence pertains to family matters, business, the war, and the career of Sanders III. Civil War diaries recount the siege of Vicksburg, Miss., troop movements, camp life, and conditions in St. Mary Parish. Also included are legal documents concerning the impressment of a slave by Confederate Army. Papers from the Reconstruction period are chiefly concerned with the restoration and management of family property in St. Mary Parish. Scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, broadsides and correspondence document the political career Jared Y. Sanders III, including his opposition to Huey P. Long. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1081, 1105, 1126, 1757, 2405, 2490.

Savoy, Joseph and family. Papers, 1856-1909. 0.3 linear ft. (93 items). Location: W:31. Sugar planter on Bayou Lafourche, Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Papers include family correspondence, with two letters of Corrine Savoy discussing the election of 1900; business papers dealing with the sale of sugar and molasses in New Orleans; and insurance policies for Joseph Savoy's plantation and sugar house. One letter and one receipt in French. Available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 3, Reel 15. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3022.