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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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.

Schloss Gin. Record book, 1916-1929. 1 ms. vol. Location: Misc.:S. Cotton gin located in Baton Rouge. Record book lists customers and costs of ginning services. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2975.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, Baton Rouge

Scofield, Elizabeth Ann, Letter, 1865. 1 item. Location: OS:S. Eight-page letter and envelope from Scofield at the Catalpa Grove Plantation (La.) to her father Austin Phelps of Scipio, New York, during the first months of Reconstruction. Scofield writes about living conditions under the federal government and the political and economic situation of newly freed slaves. The letter is dated December 24, 1865. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 5001.

Scott, Eva and family. Papers, 1832-1959 (bulk 1870-1945). 1.25 linear ft., 10 volumes. Location: Y:101-102, H:10. Eva Scott was an owner of The Shades Plantation in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. She lived on the plantation with her aunt, Kate Scott. Papers include correspondence (1866-1877) written to Bettie Gordon Scott and family papers (1892-1900). Papers (1900-1959) include correspondence of Eva and Kate Scott. Cards and letters of Lyle Saxon and Sherwood Anderson are included. Business papers (1853-1941) pertain to the administration of The Shades Plantation. Manuscript volumes include 5 ledgers (1889-1913) recording supplies and wages paid to hired laborers. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reels 28-31. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2994.

Scott, Margaret J. E. Document, 1853. 1 item (copy). Location: Misc:S. Resident of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Sale of Montevideo Plantation and slaves by Mrs. Scott to Mr. Lewis G. Sterling, March 24, 1853. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, African Americans

Scott, Thomas W. Account book, 1838-1916 (bulk 1838-1857). 3 items. Location: Misc. Thomas W. Scott, a farmer in East Feliciana Parish, La., was appointed the first parish judge by Governor Thomas Bolling Robertson. This account book records debits and credits to the account of Sarah Ann Raiford, minor, kept by her tutor, Thomas W. Scott. It also records similar accounts kept by Scott for Daniel Waddelle, James B. Preusett, William A. Richardson, and the estates of several deceased people. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4543.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business

Seale, H. M. Diary, 1853-1857. 1 vol. Location: J:12. Manager of Houmas Plantation, Burnside, Ascension Parish, Louisiana, owned by Col. John Smith Preston. Plantation diary of Seale reflecting the plantation's management during the absence of its owner. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reel 13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 234.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Sebastopol Plantation. Documents, 1858, 1859. 2 items. Location: Misc.:S. Sale (notarized copies) of Sebastopol Plantation and slaves in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, from Ulger Henry Lauve of New Orleans to Henry Van Bibber al Trust in 1958. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 725.

Shadows-on-the-Teche photographs, circa 1930-1970. 8 items. Location: E:69. Plantation in New Iberia, Louisiana. Photographs show house exterior and gardens before and after restoration. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3249.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Shattuck, Albert R. Report, 1893, 1966. 1 ms. vol. Location: M:23. Report comparing the cost of raising cane; delivering it to the carrier; and manufacturing cane into sugar; and the price at which it was sold on Adeline, Calumet, Des Lignes, Glenwild, and Magnolia plantations for the year 1892. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2316.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

Shepherd family. Papers. 1788-1884. 0.5 linear ft. Location: OS:S, VAULT:1, VAULT MRDF 4. Shepherd family of Salisbury Plantation, Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Papers relate primarily to the sale and transfer of land in Wilkinson County. Also includes Moses Hooke's armed services appointment (March 11, 1799), an agreement with Secretary of War, Henry Dearborn, for Oliver Ormsby to provide rations to U.S. troops (May 24, 1804), a deed and abstract for Woodstock Plantation, which belonged to Richard Butler, and documents concerning the estates of Richard Butler and Harriet Browder. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2718.

Shields, Joseph D. (Joseph Dunbar), 1820-1886. Papers, 1802-1960 (bulk 1843-1897). 1802-1960 (bulk 1843-1897). 712 items, 4 ms. Vols., 2 printed vols. Location: T:37-T:44; 99:S; Vault; OS: S. Resident of Natchez who was a judge, legislator, planter, and author. His son Joseph Dunbar Shields, Jr., served under J. E. B. Stuart in the Civil War and was killed at Culpepper, Virginia. Papers consist of personal, political, financial, Civil War, and plantation management correspondence and papers; historical, literary, legal, and political manuscripts; and printed items, documenting three generations of the Shields family. Includes letters from Joseph Dunbar Shields while attending the Univeristy of Virginia and drafts of his writings. Plantation papers relate to the family's plantation Pecano, in Waterproof, Tensas Parish, Louisiana. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 4, Reels 12-15, or Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries, Series E, Reel 34. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 390, 1526, 1542, 1709, 1821, 1996, 2053.

Short, William J. letter, 1872 Dec. 10. 1 letter. Location: MISC:S. William J. Short was a Louisiana sugar planter. Letter from William J. Short to his uncle, W.B. Robertson, of Plaquemine, Louisiana. The letter discusses recent hunting expeditions, the death of Gervais Schlater, and the sugar crop. Mss. 5106.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

Simmons, Sion R. and Washington L. See: Sion R. and Washington L. Simmons papers.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Sims, James T. Letter, 1841. 1 item. Location: Misc. Letter addressed to William Kelly in Fishdam, Union District, South Carolina, with information on Kelly's earnings from his plantation, crop conditions, and land values in Chickasaw Indian territory. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3464.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Sion R. and Washington L. Simmons Papers, 1839-1862. 4 items [photocopies]. Location: Misc:S, H:16. Residents of Bolivar County, Mississippi, Confederate soldier and prisoner of war during the Civil War. Papers consist of a tax receipt, letters, and a map showing the location of a plantation in Bolivar County, Mississippi. One of Washington Simmons' letters describes Concordia, Mississippi. The other letter discusses his marriage and mail disruption between North and South. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 505.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War

Skipwith, Fulwar, 1765-1839. Correspondence, 1797-1826. 37 items, 1 mf reel. Location: Vault:22, Mss.Mf:S. Consul to France during the French Revolution and later a planter in Baton Rouge. Most of the correspondence is addressed to Skipwith at Montesano Plantation near Baton Rouge, and relates to political and civic matters, and financial affairs. Collection also includes an account book (1795-1797). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2024.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Baton Rouge

Slowey, Robert M. Photographs, circa 1961-1979. 1,912 color slides [35mm]. Location: V:48. 1941 graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. Images depict various plantations (buildings, grounds, and remains), historic markers, churches, banks, schools, museums, courthouses, hospitals, cemeteries, ruins, landscapes, and other architectural sites in Louisiana and Mississippi. Mss. 4598.

Smith, Joseph Davis, 1817-1876. Papers, 1865-1901. 13 items. Location: Misc.:S. Medical doctor , planter of Solitude Plantation, St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Letters between family members describe life during Reconstruction in Louisiana, including problems with freedmen, taxation, and the imprisonment of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Included are two letters from Davis to his daughter Varina. Later papers concern legal disposition of the family graveyard area on Solitude Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2493.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Smith, Philander. Letter, 1806 April 27. 1 item. Resident of Natchez, Mississippi. Letter from Smith to his brother Jedideah Smith of Massachusetts, relating his economic status, political views, and cost of living conditions of planters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 634.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Natchez, Mississippi

Smithfield Plantation. Records, 1900-1970, undated 35 linear ft., 191 vols. Location: IMSMP, 124. Sugar plantation complex near Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Business records include correspondence; bills and receipts; cane yield reports; tax returns; stock orders; ledgers; journals; and production reports. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2908.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

Smylie-Montgomery Family Papers, 1807-1919 (bulk 1807-1869). 1.25 linear ft. Location: C:116-117, OS:S. Family of Mississippi planters and Presbyterian ministers. Correspondence comprises the bulk of this collection, with some Church records and personal papers. Collection reflects the Presbyterian Church in Mississippi, plantation life, cotton, and family matters, with references to the Choctaw Indians, the behavior of slaves, and economic difficulties after the Civil War. For more information, see online catalog. Mss. 5038.

Snellings, John P. (John Phillip), 1834-1923. Account books, 1855-1905 (bulk 1894-1897). 1 linear ft. (11 vols.). Location: A:99, J:12. Merchant of Elbert County, Georgia, and planter and commissary operator of Bunkie, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes individual account sales records, plantation records, a volume of verses written by Snellings, and a volume used to practice penmanship. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 956.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, Literature

Snyder, Alonzo. Papers, 1779-1919 (bulk 1800-1861). 3,534 items, 6 volumes. Location: R:38-40, J;7, OS:S. Cotton planter, judge, and Louisiana senator from Madison and Tensas parishes, Louisiana. Snyder's business, official, and personal papers consist of letters, land records, financial papers, and legal record books that reflect legal cases, state laws, politics, plantation management, secession, the Civil War, public health, and his family. Snyder served as attorney for the estate of Jacob Bieller of Concordia Parish, Louisiana, and these files include correspondence and reports from Natchez, Mississippi, businessmen. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 655.

Snyder, Caleb Hurst. Records, 1886-1901. 1 vol. (on microfilm). Location: MSS.MF:S (filmed on microfilm reel with Alanson Wood Moore and Family Papers; shelved at MSS.MF:M). Cuba Plantation commissary and store ledger. Mss. 3896.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Somerville, James. Letter, 1874 Aug. 26. 1 item. Location: Misc.:S. James Somerville, an attorney in Carrollton, Miss., writes Frank Wilson of Brentwood, Miss., regarding a legal case involving ownership of a plantation. Mss. 3975.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Songy, Edward Barbarouse, 1854-1943. Family photograph, circa 1916. 2 photographic prints. Location: 65:5. The Songy Planting Co., Ltd., was incorporated in 1906 with Alfred Songy, president; Edward Songy, vice-president; and P.G. Songy, secretary and treasurer, to carry on the business of a sugar plantation in St. John the Baptist Parish, La. A 5 x 7 in. original albumen print mounted on an 8 x 10 in. board depicts a family portrait of the Songy family on the front porch steps of a house. Mss. 4081.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Spyker, Leonidas Pendleton, 1818-1867. Collection, 1856-1932 (bulk 1856-1860). 1 vol. [typed copies]. Location: Mss. Mf.:S. Resident of Hard Times Plantation and New Hope Plantation, both in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. Records include the plantation diary of Leonidas Spyker; a list of family names appearing in the diary; a sketch of the family of Sarah Mildred Gilmer, wife of Spyker; and a list of persons buried in the Spyker family vault in New Orleans. Included is a letter from Mrs. Theodore Wilkinson to Cecilia Egan describing a raid on New Hope Plantation by Union soldiers in the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 589.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Civil War

Steele, Archibald B. Family Papers, 1830-1897, undated 22 items, 1 ms. vol. Location: Mss. Mf.:S. Planter and merchant of Amite County, Mississippi. Papers include business records, a family letter (1853), and a journal of Archibald Steele (1832-1840). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2645.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, Natchez, Mississippi

Stephenson, P. D. (Philip Daingerfield), 1845-1916. Memoirs, 1862-1903. 44 items, 11 vols. Location: E:53, G:21, Mss.Mf:S. Presbyterian minister of Woodstock, Virginia, who served as a private in the Confederate Army, Missouri Brigade of Tennessee. Memoirs relate Civil War experiences based on diary entries and letters. He describes the defense and evacuation of Corinth, Mississippi, campaigns, and battles. Diary also recounts the Union invasion and occupation of Huntsville, Alabama. Reminiscences of his wife contain her comments on plantation life and the war. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2482, 2657.

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

Stewart, Ashton L. Papers, 1790-1967. 0.6 linear ft. Location: 91:29. Lawyer for the law suit of the Recreation and Park Commission for East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, versus Al. H. German. Papers include correspondence, manuscript documents, Baton Rouge maps, and legal documents. There are also five color photographs of Magnolia Mound Plantation house and grounds. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2445.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge

Stewart, Robert H. and family. Account books, 1822-1904. 0.5 linear ft., 57 volumes, 8 microfilm reels. Location: UU:211, H:18-19, J:23, MSS.MF:S. Mortician and furniture dealer of Natchez; and owner of Edler Grove Plantation at Bunch's Bend, Carroll Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes daybooks related to the mortuary business, ledgers and inventories related to the furniture business, and a plantation diary and record books. Of note is a ledger containing a list of African American funeral directors and benevolent societies. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 404, 4732.

Stirling, Lewis and family. Papers, 1797-1938 (bulk 1830-1860). 4.25 linear ft. Location: B:76-81, Vault:1, Vault:22, Vault CD MRDF 5 and 16. The Stirlings were sugar cotton planters of Wakefield Plantation, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Business and personal papers of the Stirling family reflect antebellum plantation economy, education, health, and travel. Military orders and receipts for supplies relate to Lewis' service in the Louisiana militia and at the Battle of New Orleans. After 1860 the papers diminish in number and consist primarily of family letters discussing labor problems with freedmen, migration to and life in Texas during the war, and plantation, household, and personal bills. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reels 21-25. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1866.

Stone Wall Plantation. Cashbook, 1872. 1 ms. Vol. Location: M:21. West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, sugar plantation. Entries are mainly for wages paid to laborers, giving name and type of work performed. Other entries are for freight and plantation supplies. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 483.

Stuart, Ruth McEnery. Letters, 1896-1908. 6 items. Location: Misc:S. Louisiana writer, born near Marksville, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, where her family had a plantation. She lived in New Orleans as a writer until c.1885, when she moved to New York, where she continued to write short stories about plantation life. Several letters from Stuart to friends discuss such topics as her short stories, word etymologies, and Stuart's activities in New Orleans. A 1905 letter asks for part time work for Martha Waddill Austin, also a Louisiana author. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 31. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1561, 3139, 3396.

Sumner, William Graham. Papers, 1876. 2 items. Location: Misc.:S. A correspondent in New Orleans writes Sumner lamenting the end of Reconstruction in Louisiana with the collapse of republican institutions and the poor condition of African-American sugar plantation workers (Nov. 17, 1876). Stephen Whitney writes Sumner from Woodland Plantation inviting him to visit to see a sugar plantation in operation (Nov. 18, 1876). Mss. 3858.

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

Surget, Francis. Estate papers, 1848-1867. 83 items. Location: C:54, OS:S. Land speculator, planter, and one of the largest slaveholders of the antebellum South with more than 10,000 slaves. Surget had extensive holdings in Louisiana and Arkansas. Collection includes papers related to management of Surget's estates in Natchez; an examination and appraisal of lands in Arkansas; and papers related to an estate in Mississippi. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 12, 749.

Swift, John. Account books, 1830-1833. 3 vols. Location: G:7. Merchant of Bayou Sara, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Daybooks and ledger include accounts for steamers, plantations, and individuals. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1100.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Transportation, Business