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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Concordia Parish inquest case file, 1857. 4 items [transcriptions]. Location: Misc. Transcription by the Historical Records Survey of case papers in the courthouse in Vidalia, Louisiana, for an inquest in the death of the slave Samuel at Forest Home Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2032.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Conner, Lemuel Parker and family Papers, 1810-1953, 1985 (bulk 1850-1940). 12.5 linear feet and 28 volumes. Location: AA:, A:106-117, 120-121, 98:C, OS:C, 65: Vault:34, J:24. Planter from Natchez, Mississippi. Papers include correspondence, cotton statements, legal and business papers (including slave testimony in an alleged slave uprising, 1861), plantation records, and Civil War papers of Confederate soldiers and civilians, family letters from LSU and Smith College, and First Presbyterian Church (Natchez) records. Also included are papers of Levin R. Marshall, the Sessions family, and Henry R. Chotard; 256 pieces of published sheet music (1824-1883); a minstrel show program (1879); and miscellaneous programs of Natchez concerts and music recitals. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 3, Reels 14-18. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 81, 1403, 1431, 1475, 1551, 1595, 1710, 1793, 1859, 1934, 1999.

Consolidated Association of Planters of Louisiana. Papers, 1791-1912 (bulk 1827-1882). 9,703 items, 84 vols. Location: U:27-43, F:12-14, OS:C, vault:1, 51-52. Land bank of sugar planters designed to aid planters in securing better credit facilities. Financial records including banking papers; account books; legal documents; land and slave sales; diaries; letter books; plantation records; and correspondence. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 82, 724.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, African Americans

Consolidated Association of the Planters of Louisiana. Bond, 1836. 6 items. Location: Misc:C. Bond no. 606 issued to the State of Louisiana for one thousand dollars by the Consolidated Association of the Planters of Louisiana of New Orleans. The bond is signed by Governor E. D. White. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3659.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, New Orleans to 1861

Consolidated Association of the Planters of Louisiana. Papers, 1791-1912 (bulk 1827-1882). 12.6 linear ft., 85 volumes. Location: U:27-43, F:12-14, OS:C, Vault:1, Vault:51-52. Financial records and personal papers of the Consolidated Association of the Planters of Louisiana, a land bank of sugar planters. Collection consists of banking papers, account books, legal documents, documents recording the sale of land and enslaved people, diaries, letter books, plantation records, correspondence, minute books, and printed materials, among other items. Mss. 82, 794.

Consolidated Association of the Planters of Louisiana Plantation Sale, 1869 May 21. 1 item. Location: C. Land conveyance describes a sugar plantation in St. Charles Parish sold by the Consolidated Association of the Planters of Louisiana. Mss. 5279.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business

Cooley, E.C., and Robert J. Cooley. Labor contract, 1867. 1 item. Location: OS:C. Labor contract freedmen working on the Cooley Plantation, Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 149.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Corbin, James P. Papers, 1865-1904 (bulk 1875-1890). 19 vols. Location: F:15. Virginia Military Institute cadet, Confederate soldier, and justice of the peace of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Business and personal papers include plantation diaries recording the operation of Moss Neck and Race Field plantations, Virginia. Papers include minutes from Fredericksburg city council meetings. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 85.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations

Cotton factors' statements, 1838-1839. 2 items. Location: Misc:C. Taylor Gardiner & Co. and Brander, McKenna, and Wright were cotton factors and commission brokers in New Orleans. Itemized statements from Taylor Gardiner & Co. and Brander, McKenna, and Wright record sales of baled cotton, prices, and accessory charges. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3005.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans to 1861, Business

Cotton, William Davis and Family. Papers, 1852-1989. 1 linear ft., 4 vol. Location: S:136, OS:C, H:14. Collection contains correspondence and papers belonging to the Cotton Family. This includes the Civil War correspondence of Dr. Drury P. Gibson and his sister Mary Gibson Cotton, correspondence between George Spencer Cotton and his fiancée Lizzie Davis (1888-1890), and correspondence, photographs, and printed items belonging to William Davis Cotton, attorney of Rayville, La, and former president of LSU Alumni Federation (1969-1989). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4780.

Cowan, James, 1788-1864. Letter, 1851 March 15. 1 Letter. Location: MISC:C. James Cowan, son of Captain Thomas Cowan, married Harriette Adelaide Craige (1795-1867) and the couple lived in Jasper County, Ga. and Henry County, Tenn. This letter was written to Catherine St. Pierson while James Cowan was aboard the Steamer, Jamestown and describes plantation life on the Mississippi. Mss. 5123.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Cox, Owen B. Papers, 1844-1882, undated 21 items [on microfilm]. Location: Mss. Mf.:C. Planter and merchant of Clinton and Briarfield, Mississippi. Papers include slave sale documents; family letters; two Jefferson Davis documents; and a contract (1879) and a letter (1882), both pertaining to the management of Briarfield Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3041.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Cox, Robert Ray. Oral history series, 1977-1978. 10 tapes. Location: W:41. Tapes of interviews conducted by Cox while doing research on his thesis on Weeks Hall and his work on the gardens at the Shadows in New Iberia, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3282.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Crabb, Edward L. (Edward Lewis). Papers, 1841-1886. 38 items. Location: A:77. Edward L. Crabb was a businessman of Brooklyn, New York, who worked in the sugar refining business. The papers primarily consist of letters received by Edward L. Crabb from his relatives discussing family news, the operation of the Cuba estates, a cholera epidemic in Cuba, the purchase of sugarcane and molasses, sugar refining, and other business issues. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4245.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, New Orleans 1866-, Business

Crane, Andrew E. Papers, 1835-1917. 1,016 items, 6 volumes. Location: U:45-47, F:16, OS:C. Carriage maker in New Orleans and planter in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Early papers (1835-1845) pertain to Crane's business interests as a carriage maker. Other materials relate to Crane's purchase of a plantation in St. James Parish (1849) and to a partnership (circa 1864) with C. R. Kuneman to cultivate a plantation. Correspondence (1874) with William Little of Galveston, Texas, discusses timber interests. Later material relates to Zachary Crane and the St. Michael Corporation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 89, 1361.

Cuny, Benjamin Philip, 1804-1883. Family Papers, 1845-1949. 25 items and 7 volumes. Location: 1:68. Personal correspondence, papers, and records of the Cuny family of Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, and the Clark family of Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Bulk of correspondence to Benjamin Philip Cuny from family members. Various legal and personal records and volumes pertain primarily to the ownership and management of the family’s property. Mss. 4246

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Curtis, A. J. Letter, 1867 Apr. 17. 1 letter. Location: Misc. A.J. Curtis writes to his friend, Phillip Bacon, lamenting the poor returns from his plantation five miles below Algiers, his business in New Orleans, and plantations owned by acquaintances. He describes a levee break 60 miles above New Orleans and expresses satisfaction at the defeated, embittered attitude of southerners being "very gratifying to us Union men." Mss. 3751.

Daigle, Isadore, b. 1846. Family Papers, 1859-1966. 155 items. Location: Y:86, OS:D, Vault:38. Plantation owner in West Baton Rouge Parish. Personal papers, three photograph albums and various loose photographs, documenting the Daigle, Woodruff, and Noyes families. Family papers include the contract for the construction of the St. Delphine Plantation (1859), a legal letter to the heirs of Mr. Daigle (1911), and newspaper clippings. Mss. 4041.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Dalrymple, C. G. Letter, 1847 June 5. 1 item. Location: Misc:D. Resident of Monroe County, Mississippi, and the wife of a cotton plantation overseer. Letter to Dalrymple's brother and sister in North Carolina describing her life on a small cotton plantation, land settlement in the area, the activities of family members, local attitudes towards violence, and her psychological state. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2966.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

Dardenne, Eugenie. Land document, 1856 March 24. 1 item (4 leaves). Location: Misc:D. Land conveyance recording the sale of slaves and one-third of the ownership of Dardenne Plantation, a sugar plantation in Iberville Parish, Louisiana. The sale was made to John A. Dardenne. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

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

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