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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Bray, John A. Papers, 1838-1856. 4 items. Location: Misc:B. Cotton planter of 'Cotile,' Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Items include a bill for goods bought by Bray and for freight shipped aboard the steamboat Louisiana; a statement by New Orleans cotton factor A. Miltenberger recording Bray's sale of cotton; and a letter concerning the hire of a 'boy.' Included is a copy of a deed to land and slaves in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Brees, Ray. Photographs, 1959-1960. 37 items. Location: E:66. Photographs from 1959 and 1960 capture scenes from plantation homes, as well as buildings and streets of New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 236.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans 1866-

Brent, Joseph Lancaster. Papers, 1862-1940 (bulk 1862-1904, 1926-1940). 1.3 linear ft., 12 volumes. Location: U:243-245. Maryland native, lawyer, and Confederate general. Joseph Lancaster Brent practiced law in Louisiana, Baltimore, and Los Angeles. Married to Rosella Kenner, he assisted in the management of his father-in-law, Duncan Farrar Kenner's, plantations. Brent served as a Brigadier General in the Louisiana Cavalry Brigade during the Civil War. Collection consists primarily of correspondence between Brent and his wife, Rosella, and published and unpublished writings, including manuscript and printed copies of "Memoirs of the War Between the States" (1940), "The Lugo Case" and "Capture of the Ironclad Indianola" (1926). There is also a diary written by Brent in 1862 during his service in the Civil War. Also part of the collection are the papers of Brent's daughter, Nanine M. Brent, including a personal diary, recipe book, and household hints. Parts available on microfilm: University Publications of America, Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 1, Reel 15. Mss. 1477, 1822.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Civil War, Literature

Brent, Rosella Kenner. Papers, 1865, 1902-1916. 0.1 linear ft. Location: U:245. Daughter of Ascension Parish, Louisiana, planter and politician Duncan Farrar Kenner and wife of Confederate brigadier general Joseph F. Brent. Two narratives of Brent's recollections of Ashland Plantation, including a sketch of slave Henry Hammond. She also recounts an 1862 incident in which her father escaped to Bayou Lafourche upon learning that Union troops were coming to arrest him. Three letters pertain to Rosella Kenner Brent's husband, Brigadier General Joseph L. Brent, C.S.A. A 1910 letter describes General Brent's service in the Confederate army. 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. 1167, 1822.

Bringier, Louis Amadee and family. Papers, 1786-1901. 2 linear ft. and 13 volumes. Location: T:96-97, F:9, OS:B. Planter of Ascension Parish, Louisiana; Confederate officer and commander of the 4th Louisiana Cavalry and the 7th Louisiana Regiment. Papers include military records, correspondence and business papers relating to the administration of Hermitage Plantation in Ascension Parish and Houmas, Burnside, and Bagatelle plantations. One letter report that a woman killed a federal soldier in New Orleans (1862); another describes Grand Ilse as a resort frequented by Jews. Some items in French. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 1, Reels 1-2, and microfilm 5322: Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series I, Part 1, Reel 13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 43, 139, 544.

Britton & Koontz. Records, 1824-1899 (bulk 1838-1858). 569 items, 7 vols. Location: U:18-19, F:9. Banking house in Natchez, Mississippi, operated by Audley Clark Britton, also a plantation owner, and by George W. Koontz. Collection includes records related to the Commercial Bank of Natchez. Other items relate to Britton & Koontz banking activities and to personal bills and receipts of the Britton family. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 747.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, Natchez, Mississippi

Britton, A. C. (Audley Clark) and family. Papers, 1830-1929 (bulk 1843-1912). 1,760 items, 14 volumes. Location: S:141-143, O:16, OS:B. Banker and planter of Natchez, Mississippi. Papers include letters and descriptions of the family, plantation, and social lives in Natchez and documents specific to Britton's business activities. Miscellaneous items include photographs, autographs, poems, ledgers, and genealogies. Included are two letters to Eliza Britton written by Jefferson Davis. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 4, Reel 1. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1403, 1710.

Brooks, F. M. Bills, 1870, 1882, 1883. 3 items. Location: Misc.:B. Dr. F. M. Brooks, plantation and retail druggist of Baton Rouge. Bills from Dr. Brooks. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2555.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge, Medicine

Brown, Edward F. Letter, 1866 Dec. 18. 1 letter. Location: Misc. Edward F. Brown of Salem, Mass., writes to James Carnegy Savage of New Orleans, La., regarding Savage's going down to New Orleans to commence work on a plantation. He also relates family news and discusses the religious aspects of dying. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4244.

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

Brown, W. D. Account books, 1913-1921. 7 vols. Location: F:15. Owner or agent of Gossypia Plantation. Records for the plantation kept by Brown covering cotton ginning and crop records, pay roll, cash accounts, and merchandise. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 45.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Bruce, Seddon, and Wilkins Plantation Records, 1741-1865 (bulk 1847-1854). 607 items, 6 ms. Vols. Location: S:124-125, J:20. William Webb Wilkins, James Coles Bruce, and James Alexander Seddon, partners in the ownership of sugar and cotton plantations, a saw mill, and a cooper's shop in Saint James Parish and Carroll Parish, Louisiana. Papers include legal documents, bills and receipts, correspondence, and manuscript volumes related to plantation operations and slave matters. Included are photocopies of a Union Army-issued circular and broadsides regarding slave employment and the subsistence of federal troops. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reels 9-10. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2668.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Civil War

Brusle, Charles A. Papers, 1854-1905. 32 items (includes 3 vols.). Location: U:20, F:11. Sugar planter of Plaquemine, Iberville Parish, Louisiana; and Confederate army officer; state legilator; tax collector; and sheriff. Papers include a diary, a record book, and scrapbook, primarily concerning Brusle's activities in the Civil War and in politics. Diary contains an account of his trip to the Creek Nation, Indian Territory, to muster a regiment of Creeks into the military service of the Confederacy under orders from General Benjamin McCulloch. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 3. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 558, 1605, 1627.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Civil War

Buhler, John Christian and family. Papers, 1805-1952 (bulk 1824-1931). 437 items, 1 manuscript volume. Location: C:49, OS:B. Planter of Winters Plantation in Buhler's Plains near Baton Rouge. Collection includes family correspondence, chiefly of John Christian Buhler, John Robert Buhler, Mary Edith Buhler, Hester S. Simmons, and Jane (Jennie) Gillespie Buhler. Letters concern politics, notable persons, and social and economic conditions. Financial documents include a copy of an act of sale (1852) of a parcel of land by John Buhler and his wife to the town of Baton Rouge, now the site of Magnolia Cemetery. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1192, 1210, 1238, 1311, 1333.

Buhler, John Robert, 1829-1886. Papers, 1843-1914. 6 ms. vols. Location: H:17. John Robert Buhler was the son of John Christian Buhler, a planter of Buhler's Plains near Baton Rouge. After his marriage to Mary Reynolds, they lived at Independence Plantation, home of his grandparents, the Smiths, near Natchez, Mississippi. Papers include three volumes of a diary containing entries (1847-1849) reflecting family and social life on Independence Plantation and providing information on events in and around Natchez, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge. Includes another diary containing manuscript poems (1881-1914) by Mary Edith Buhler, an autograph book, and a notebook containing poems by Buhler. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1311.

Buhler, M. E. (Mary Edith). Papers, 1881-1931. 985 items, 7 ms. Vols., 8 printed vols. Location: C:50-51; H:17. Poet and journalist of Mount Independence Plantation near Natchez, Mississippi, and resident of New Orleans and New York City; author of The Grass in the Pavement (1918). Papers consist of her manuscript and printed writings published in the New York Times and the New Orleans Times-Picayune and of materials relating to her family history and genealogy. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reels 1-4. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1192, 1210, 1333.

Bullard, J. A., Mrs. Letter, 1847 May 1. 1 letter. Location: Misc. Mr. & Mrs. J.A. Bullard describe flooding of the Mississippi River at Grand Gulf, Miss., and across the river in Tensas Parish, La., the abundance of flora and fauna, mosquitoes, riding horses, the cotton crop, and other news. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4039.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Burden, Dan. Papers, 1860-1898. 8 items. Location: Misc.:B. Resident of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Business and legal papers, including a probate court record relating to claims against the succession of Oscar Barber (1879) and copy of the lease of Myrtle Grove Plantation by Mary A. Pike to Dan Burden (1898). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 255.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge

Burden, Ione and family. Papers, 1823-1980 (bulk 1900-1975). 13 linear ft. Location: P:39-45, OS:B. Louisiana State University (LSU) administrator and Baton Rouge philanthropist. Along with her brothers, Pike and Steele Burden, Ione Burden donated family land to establish the Burden Research Plantation and the LSU Rural Life Museum. Papers include correspondence, legal documents, financial papers, photographs, and scrapbooks of Ione Burden and her brothers. Collection documents Baton Rouge community events, family history, and Burden family philanthropic activities. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3063.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Burden, Steele. Oral history interview, 1978. Transcript (13 pages). Location: L:4700.4. Landscape architect, gardener, and founder of the Rural Life Museum at LSU. Interview discusses Burden's work with Edward Avery McIlhenny (1872-1949) and Avery Island, and Weeks Hall's garden plan. It also discusses the landscaping and construction of Shadows-on-the-Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.4.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Burguières, Jules M., Jr. Papers, 1699, 1816-1957 (bulk 1911-1915). 2.5 linear ft. Locations: 78:1-2, OS:B, J:30, E:65. Sugarcane planter and researcher, land developer. Papers consist of correspondence, research notes, clippings, photographs, and financial records relating primarily to Jules M. Burguières, Jr.’s involvement in the sugar and timber industries of Louisiana and Florida. Some research material in French and German. The estate papers of Joseph E. Burguières are also included. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1927, 2026, 2134, 2264, 2525.

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