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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Barrow, Abram Feltus and Family. Papers, 1804-1982. 6 linear ft. Location: 7:60-62, G:11, OS:B, Vault:1, Vault:36. The Barrow family moved to Nuevo Feliciana (now in Louisiana) in 1799 and built several plantation houses there. Papers document the business interests of the Barrow family and their involvement with various fraternal orders. Records of the People's Bank, St. Francisville, and the Creole Oil and Mineral Co. reflect the involvement of the Barrow and Leake families. Photographs depict family members and fraternal gatherings. Also included are records of St. John's Church, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3696, 3745.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Plantations, Business, Medicine

Barrow, Bartholomew, 1836-1869. Family collection of sheet music, 1848-1891 (bulk 1861-1874). 4 items, 3 vols. Location: Range 65. Planter of Eldorado Plantation, a sugar plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Collection of bound and loose vocal and piano sheet music collected by Barrow and his family. Some compositions in French, German, and Italian. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1379.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Performing arts, French, German

Barrow, Bennet H. Diary, 1833-1846. 1 volume. Location: Vault:9, W:24, Mss. Mf.:B. Cotton planter and owner of Highland Plantation in West Feliciana Parish, La. Diary reflects the management of Highland Plantation. Entries offer information on the cotton crop, weather conditions, personal activities, and treatment of slaves, specifically discipline and health care. Included are slave lists giving names and birth dates, and some financial records. Original volume housed in vault. Please use microfilm or typed transcription. Mss. 2978-2014.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Barrow, W. M. and family. Papers, 1847-1874, undated. 0.1 linear ft. Location: U:7. St. Francisville, Louisiana, merchant. Letters by Willie Macajah Barrow (1810-1853) and Civil War diary and letters of his son, Willie Macajah Barrow (1843-1863) reflecting economic and family life on a plantation in West Feliciana Parish. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reel 6. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 574.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Civil War, Business

Bass-Farrar Family Papers, 1827-1918 (bulk: 1829-1843, 1858-1867) 0.5 linear ft. Location: OS:B, R:41, VAULT:4. Papers of the Bass, Farrar, and Richardson families from Tensas Parish, La. and vicinity. Includes material on family matters, personal and professional activities, maintenance and overseeing of cotton plantations before and after the Civil War, life along the Mississippi River, life in Civil War Louisiana, and slavery. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4907.

Batchelor family papers, 1852-1922. 124 items (on microfilm). Location:Mss. Mf.:B. Papers are comprised of family letters, plantation and business papers, family succession papers, and material related to an Episcopal Church. A letter from Sarah E. Archer describes a Jewish wedding, ca. 1901. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1293.

Batchelor, Albert A. (Albert Agrippa). Papers, 1852-1930 (bulk 1870-1900). 27 linear ft., 41 volumes. Location: S:143-170, J:13, 98:B, OS:B. Personal and business papers, correspondence, diaries, and account books pertain principally to local events, and the operation and management of several plantations in Pointe Coupee Parish, including Bella Vista Plantation, Lakeside Plantation, Phoenix Plantation, Highland Plantation, and Normandy Plantation. Early letters among Batchelor family members describe conditions at the Kentucky Military Institute and the Silliman Female Collegiate Institute, and mention events such as slave insurrections and military operations. Several letters describe Civil War battles, including the 1862 Battle of Kernstown and the 1863 battles of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville. Available on microfilm 5735 and 6061: Records of southern plantations from emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Selections from Louisiana State University, pt. 5, Louisiana sugar plantations, reels 1-15; Confederate Military Manuscripts, Series B, Holdings of Louisiana State University, reels 1-2. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 919.

Batchelor, Ruth Ker. Batchelor-Nutt collection, 1835-1960. 24 items, 2 vols. Location: B:46, F:16. James Batchelor was a planter and legislator of Amite County, Mississippi. Rushwell Nutt, his father-in-law, of Laurel Hill Plantation in Jefferson County, Mississippi, was a planter, physician, scientist, and world traveler. Collection includes papers, photographs, and ephemera of the Nutt and Batchelor families and the Davenport family of Louisiana. Letters include local and family news, and one letter describes teaching in Texas schools. Included are trade card scrapbooks of 19th century companies, and an article (1960) on Beech Grove Plantation in Amite County, Mississippi. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3018.

Bateman, Mannah W. Family Papers, 1840-1879. 439 items on 1 microfilm reel. Location: Mss.Mf:B. Louisiana planter of Avalon Plantation. Correspondence, receipts, legal papers, and other items related to Mannah W. Bateman and family, and to their management of Avalon. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3332.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Bateman, Mary. Diary, 1856. 1 vol. [typed transcripts]. Location: M:19. Young girl living with relatives at Argyle Plantation, near Greenville, Mississippi. Diary gives personal observations of local plantation social life. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 661.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

Bayou Attanobe land grant, 1828. 1 item. Location: E:Imprints. Official printed pamphlet giving the report of The Committee on Public Lands...on the case of Ebenezer Cooley; a land dispute concerning a plot on the Mississippi River in Louisiana settled as an indigo plantation in 1767. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3365.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Beech Grove Plantation house photograph. 1 item. Location: 32:81. Mss. 4048.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Beech Grove Plantation home photograph, circa 1900-1950. 1 photographic print. Location: 65:5. This photograph is a copy print of the Beech Grove Plantation home near St. Gabriel, La. Mss. 4048.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Behrnes, J. P. (J. Polite), b. 1829. Journal, 1853-1893 (bulk 1853-1880). 1 v. Location: Misc. This journal of J.P. Behrnes of Irene Plantation in East Baton Rouge Parish, La., records rains; temperatures; and the planting, cultivation, harvesting, and yields of cotton and other crops. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4335.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War

Belmont Plantation scrip, undated 8 items. Location: Misc.:B. Plantation in Iberia Parish, Louisiana. Scrip money used in exchange for merchandise at the plantation store. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2584.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Bennett, Ezra. Family Papers, 1818-1881. 217 items [on microfilm]. Location: Mss.Mf:B. Planter and storekeeper of Cheneyville, Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Papers include letters written from Port Hudson and Camp Pratt, Louisiana, during the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2896.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, Business

Bennett, George W. Account books and papers, 1838-1917. 16 linear ft., 346 vols. Location: W:71-87, 89; O:6-13; OS:B. Merchant, postmaster, sugar and cotton planter of Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Papers records comprised of correspondence, ledgers, daybooks, journals, receipts, leases, agreements, labor contracts with freedmen, invoice books, record books, stock inventories, and other items relating to Bennett's commercial interests. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1010.

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

Benson family. Papers, 1775-1969, undated. 2,790 items, 27 volumes (on 11 microfilm reels). Location: E:105, MSS.MF:B. Cotton planters of DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. Letters, documents, and plantation diaries reflect plantation economy, the administration of secondary schools, the history and administration of the Baptist Church, and civilian and military participation in the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2424, 2440.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Plantations, Civil War, Education, Business

Berbice Colony slave records, 1826-1827. 3 items, 1 microfilm reel. Location: OS:B, Mss.Mf:B. Deed of arrangement between owners of three sugar plantations in Berbice (Guyana), and lists of slaves attached to the plantations as of October 20, 1826, citing names, ages, employment, places of birth, and distinguishing marks. Also listed are children born to slave mothers on the plantations (1819-1826) with names, dates of birth, ages, and names of mothers noted. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2934.

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

Bertrand, Charles, Jr. Papers, 1866-1928. 728 items, 38 ms. vols. and 1 printed vol. Location: UU:141, H:14. Planter of Cloutierville, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Business papers and records of Charles Bertrand, Jr., and family documents (1676-1884) of members of the family in Couches-les-Mines, France. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 840, 867, 978.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, French

Bienvenu family. Papers, 1779-1907. 143 items. Location: E:19. Planters of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, and New Orleans. Business papers of Alexandre Devince Bienvenu and Pierre Armand Bienvenu largely concern land ownership and sales in the Attakapas region, St. Martin Parish and New Orleans. Collection also includes family letters and genealogical papers. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2604.

Bills, John H. and family. Papers, 1825-1880 (bulk 1855-1861). 103 items. Location: A:17. Postmaster, merchant, and major of Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee, who also owned a plantation on Bayou Bartholomew, Louisiana. Bills was the father-in-law of Tennessee and Louisiana legislator Horace M. Polk. Personal and business letters discuss lands in Arkansas, dealings with factors, cotton trade, national and Louisiana state politics, the Democratic Party, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh, and slave customs and behavior. Correspondents include Daniel Graham, James Walker, and Horace M. Polk. Additional items consist of statements of accounts, receipts, and bills of lading. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2075.

Bisland, John and family. Papers, 1762-1884 (bulk 1800-1859). 1,161 items and 12 manuscript volumes. Location: H:17, OS:B, U:241-242. Scottish immigrant, storekeeper, and planter who came to Adams County, Mississippi, from North Carolina. Collection includes personal and business papers of John Bisland, Sr., and his sons Peter, James, Alexander, John, and William, relating to the establishment and development of Bisland plantations near Natchez, Mississippi, mercantile enterprises, and family and local activities including education and health. Available on microfilm 5322:University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 6-8. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 29.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Education, Medicine

Blanche, Alexander. Papers, 1851-1914 (bulk 1851-1856, 1881-1914). 79 items, 2 volumes. Location: W:48, VAULT:3 OS:B. Cotton planter of Marydale Plantation, Tensas Parish, Louisiana. Antebellum plantation diary contains notes about cotton farming; slave labor and health; weather; medical remedies; and other plantation affairs. Papers consist of correspondence, tax and payroll receipts, account sheets, and receipts for prisoners. Letters to Blanche from S. L. James include information on plantation supplies and prison laborers. Available on microfilm 5322: Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 2, Reel 11, and microfilm 6061: Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War, Series I, Part 3, Reel 14. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3342.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, Medicine

Blount, W. M. Account book, 1817-1860. 1 vol. Location: H:14. Record of payment to Blount in settlement of William Pitt Higbee's estate and account. Also recorded are the accounts of Mrs. Amelia Gradinego, Daniel Zeringue, members of the Close family, and others of Petit Bois, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Entries include commodity prices, prices of slaves, taxes, cost of schooling, wages for a laborer, and other expenses incurred by local planters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 177.

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

Bond, Priscilla Munnikhuysen. Papers, 1858-1908 (bulk 1858-1866). 98 items, 3 volumes, 16 microfiche. Location: B:15, OS:B, MICROFICHE 2729. Resident of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Collection consists of correspondence, diaries, poems, and photographs. Diaries record Bond's daily activities and observations relating to plantation life, runaway slaves, social activities, hypnotism, and Civil War experiences and thoughts, including participation by African American soldiers. Available on microfilm 5750: America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 33. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2155.

Boney, Richard K. (Richard Kinsey), 1855-1937. Papers and diaries, 1866-1884. 18 items ( on 1 microfilm reel). Location: Mss.Mf:B. Lawyer and planter of Duckport Plantation, Madison Parish, Louisiana. Diaries record student life at Virginia Military Institute, Lexington; social life in Virginia and Vicksburg, Mississippi; and legal studies at the University of Louisiana (now Tulane University), New Orleans. Included are miscellaneous papers and photographs of Boney. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3041.

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

Bonnet Carre Point batture map,1893 March 6. 1 map. Location: Misc.:B. George Grandjean was a U.S. deputy surveyor. A survey map with notes, titled "Batture Subdivision, March 1893," shows a compromise boundary line drawn between Glendale Plantation in St. John the Baptist Parish that was owned by George Sarpy and Hymelia Plantation in St. Charles Parish, owned by Joseph Hymel. The survey is signed by both parties and surveyor George Grandjean. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 5201. 

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Bordelon, Leonce P., Diaries, 1876-1931, 2005. 15 v. Location: J:28. Avoyelles Parish, La., planter. Diaries of Leonce P. Bordelon reflect Louisiana plantation life in rural Avoyelles Parish during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Entries pertain primarily to plantation operations, the effects of climate on those operations, social activities, health and local elections. Some entries in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4952.

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

Bordelon, Leonce P., Diaries, 1876-1931, 2005, 2007. 16 v. Location: J:28. Avoyelles Parish, La., planter. Diaries of Leonce P. Bordelon reflect Louisiana plantation life in rural Avoyelles Parish during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Entries pertain primarily to plantation operations, the effects of climate on those operations, social activities, health and local elections. Some entries in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4952.

Bosley, Hubbard S. Papers, 1825-1947 (1850-1880). 10 linear ft., 39 vols. Location: C:1-5, O:1, 98:B, OS:B, Planter of Red River Parish, Louisiana, son-in-law of William A. Powell of Caddo Parish, Plantation records, business papers, and personal correspondence of Hubbard S. Bosley, William A. Powell and families. Included are materials relating to the Civil War. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reel 19, and microfilm 6061: Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration. Series B, Part 2, reels 12-13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 963.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, Business

Boucry Family Papers, 1814-1884, 1910 (bulk 1830-1884). 6 items, 3 vols. Location: 77:88, Mss. Mf.:B.Sugar planters of Bonne Esperance Plantation, St. James Parish, Louisiana. Papers include record books of Helene Boucry containing financial and genealogical information about the Boucry, Bonnecaze, Webre, and related families. Partly in French. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reel 8. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 790, 800.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, French

Boudreaux, Maximilien E. Family Papers, 1856-1927 (bulk 1866-1905). 0.4 linear ft. (78 items, 15 ms. Vols., 1 printed vol.). Location: E:41. Sugar planter in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Boudreaux and his son Rene may have practiced tenant farming in the 1890s. Papers pertain largely to the cultivation and sale of sugar cane and the purchase of merchandise, and include correspondence, cashbooks, time books, a letterbook, and a memorandum book containing genealogical information. Some items 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. 1099.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, French

Bowling, L. Cotton record book, 1856. 1 vol. Location: M:18. Probably a clerk in a New Orleans cotton factor's office. Record book kept by Bowling lists the number of bales of cotton received, the names of steamers and railroads transporting the cotton, and the places of origin of the cotton. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1351.

Bowman, James P. Family papers, 1806-1926. 2615 items; 100 ms. vols., 6 printed vols. Location: B:19-24; J:18-19; OS:B; 98:. Planter of Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana. Records and papers documenting the administration of Rosedown. Includes papers of William R. Bowman, Episcopal clergyman; and of James P. Bowman, Robert H. Barrow, Eliza Bowman Lyons, Catharine Rucker Turnbull, and Daniel Turnbull. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 8-19. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1372, 1382.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, African Americans

Bradford, David, d. ca.1816. Letters, 1798-1805. 25 items [typescripts]. Location: H:16, U:120. Planter and owner of the Myrtles Plantation,West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Photocopies of letters written to David Redick of Pennsylvania relate to the settlement of Bradford's debts, the disposition of his property in Pennsylvania, and economic and political matters in Spanish West Florida. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 855.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations

Bradford, David, d. ca.1816. Family Papers, 1798-1882 (bulk 1833-1838). 50 items. Location: U:120. Planter of the Myrtles Plantation, Bayou Sara, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Papers include Spanish land grants, surveys, plats, conveyances, appraisals, and mortgages for land owned by David Bradford and family, chiefly in West Feliciana and East Baton Rouge parishes. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 735.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge

Bragg, Braxton, 1817-1876. Letter, 1856 February 10. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Confederate general in command of the Army of Tennessee during the Civil War. Letter to Bragg's wife describes Bivouac, a 2000-acre plantation three miles from Thibodaux, Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, which he had just purchased. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2025.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Bragg, Braxton, 1817-1876. Letter, 1856 February 12. 1 item. Location: Misc:B. Confederate general in command of the Army of Tennessee during the Civil War. In reply to a request for biographical information from J. Furlong of Brooklyn, N.Y., Bragg discusses the circumstances of his situation as a sugar planter in Louisiana at the beginning of the Civil War, laments the misfortunes of his 125 former slaves, and briefly describes his military career for the Confederate States of America. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2537.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Civil War, African Americans

Braintree Manufacturing Company. Correspondence, 1844-1845. 7 items. Location: Misc.:B. Company located in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Letters to Jonathon Cushing, agent for the Braintree Manufacturing Company, from Washington Jackson and Company, New Orleans factors. Letters concern the sale and delivery of cotton gins. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1404, 1417.

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

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