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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Carroll, Daniel R. and family. Papers, 1864-1948. 191 items, 1 volume. Location: T:6, OS:C, VAULT:21, VAULT MRDF 13. Owner of Ackbar Plantation, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Carroll was also a cotton broker in New Orleans. Papers include personal letters, scrapbooks, and genealogies of the Carroll and Parker families. Some papers document plantation management, including sugarcane growing, rice planting, the construction of a sugar mill, and African American laborers. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1514, 2296.

Carson, William Waller. Family records, 1845-1930. 1 vol. Location: F:23. Residents of Tennessee and Mississippi. Family records include genealogical listings, biographical and autobiographical sketches, and correspondence, all pertaining to the history of the Carson and related Waller, Green, Hutchins, and other families. Included is information about plantation life, slavery, and the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2919.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, African Americans

Cartwright, Samuel A. (Samuel Adolphus) and family. Papers, 1826-1864. 67 items, 2 manuscript volumes. Location: U:109, Vault. Physician of Natchez, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Cartwright was a Confederate army physician, and at one time a professor of diseases of the African American in the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana. Papers include correspondence, photoprints, and a European travel diary. Correspondence relates to politics, slavery, and education in the South, including letters from Jefferson Davis and other prominent individuals. Included is a treatise on 'camp dysentery' written by Cartwright. For further information, see online catalog. Filed under Cartwright, Samuel Adolphus. Papers in Archives USA. Mss. 2471, 2499.

Centenary College of Louisiana. Document, 1845. 1 item. Location: Misc:C. Undergraduate college in Jackson, Louisiana. Formed in the 1840s from a merger of the College of Louisiana and Centenary College. Judge Edward McGehee, a planter and businessman of Mississippi, was instrumental in the founding of the college. Document pertaining to the purchase of the College of Louisiana, to be called the Centenary College of Louisiana. It states Judge McGehee's responsibility for the purchase of the property along with promises of subscribers to make endowments. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 133.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Education, Business

Central America. Cacao Plantation reports, 1736-1797. 1 vol. Location: F:11. Reports to the 'Royal Society' in Guatemala containing information concerning the cultivation and varieties of cacao; adverse climatic conditions; owners' lack of interest; economic improvements that could be made; and data on uncultivated lands. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 406.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Chaffe record books, 1887-1895. 3 ms. vols. Location: H:23. John Chaffe & Sons, a cotton and sugar trading concern in New Orleans, was succeeded by Wm. H. Chaffe & Co., Limited. Wm. H. & J. C. Chaffe's Shingle Mill was a manufacturer of cypress shingles and lumber in Eugenia Louisiana. Collection includes a cotton market report book (1887-1893), an order book (1894-1895), and daily report forms (1893), respectively, for the three Chaffe businesses. For further information, see online catalog. Mss.1139.

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

Chalmette, Azelie Delino, de. Azelie Delino and Ignacio Delino de Chalmette Papers, 1801-1952 (bulk 1823-1852). 47 items. Location: E:52. Plantation owners of New Orleans. Most of the collection consists of correspondence and other papers of Azelie Delino de Chalmette. Included are letters from family members, F. Godefroy of the West Indies, the Delahoussaye family, Jean Saint-Avid of Paris, and M. Cruzat of New Orleans. Letters from Ignacio Delino de Chalmette written to John Forbes & Company of Mobile, Alabama, concern Bernard de Marigny's involvement with the company. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1245.

Chaney, Thomas R. Papers, 1863-1916 (bulk: 1893-1900). 0.3 linear feet. Location: U:310, OS:C. Papers consist primarily of business correspondence, but also include photographs, plantation map, and a commemorative booklet printed after Chaney’s death.  The majority of the correspondence is from Benjamin Pring to Chaney reporting on the operations at Oneida Plantation in St. James Parish. Mss. 5162.

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

Charles C. Peck letter, 1838. 1 item. Location: Misc:C. R. C. W. & Co. was a New York mercantile firm. Letter to Charles C. Peck from R. C. W. & Co. of New York regarding the Mississippi cotton trade and financial matters. Letter may be incomplete. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3635.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business

Charles L. Thompson and Associates. Blueprint, 199-. 1 item. Location: OS:C. Architect in Little Rock, Arkansas. Blueprint produced to commemorate the publication of the book Charles L. Thompson and Associates: Arkansas Architects 1885-1938, by Dr. F. Hampton Roy. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4590.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Literature

Chatsworth Plantation store records, 1865-1893. 0.7 linear ft. Location: 33:33. Plantation in Louisiana purchased by the Gardere family in 1866 and managed by Fergus Gardere until 1895. Gardere also operated a cotton gin in partnership with Joseph Staring in the 1880s. Papers relate to the operation of the store and plantation at Chatsworth, and to the Gardere and Staring families. They include store ledgers recording accounts and payrolls. There is also material from a plantation journal in French and English. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4589.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge, French

Chinn, Jane McCausland. Civil War reminiscence, 1863. 1 item [16 pages, typescript copy]. Location: Misc. Mistress of Fair Oaks Plantation, West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, and widow of Cabell Breckinridge Chinn. Reminiscences taken from her diary record encounters with Union soldiers and the burning of grain stores. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2647.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Civil War

Clark, Charles and family. Papers, 1829-1973 (bulk 1851-1936). 1.1 linear ft. Location: UU:254, 65:2, OS:C. Judge of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California; married to Emma Fowler of New Orleans, Louisiana. Papers of the related Fowler, Nutt, Macbeth, and Clark families. They consist of personal and family correspondence, legal papers of Nathaniel W. Fowler and John Slidell, writings, photographs, printed items, ephemera, and the travel journal of Charles Clark. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3982.

Clauss & Fischer. Journal, 1851-1852. 1 vol. Location: G:16. Merchants and commission brokers of Bayou Sara,inancial relationships with agents in New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3022.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Clement, George. Family Papers, 1863-1876 (bulk 1863-1867). 13 items and 1 ms. vol. Location: Misc.:C, M-18. French-speaking farming family of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes financial papers, legal documents, personal papers, and a time book (1878) recording hours worked by agricultural laborers. Largely in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1148.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, French

Close, John. Papers, 1802-1872 (bulk 1802-1859). 325 items. Location: U:330. Contractor's agent for the United States Army post at Opelousas and a cotton planter of Petit Bois Plantation, Port Barre, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Correspondence includes letters from New Orleans merchants concerning orders for supplies and other business at the Army post. Plantation papers consist mostly of correspondence of cotton factors in New Orleans. Personal papers include correspondence from Kentucky and Mississippi and genealogical information about the Chauvin family. Correspondence chiefly in French. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reels 17-18. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1646.

Cockfield E.J. and Family Papers, 1854-1930 (bulk 1875-1890). 1.3 linear feet, 15 manuscript volumes. Location: A:65-66, P:19, OS:C. Planter and businessman of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Family papers spanning three generations include local Natchitoches news; correspondence and descriptions of the Cockfield family in Williamsburg County, South Carolina; and letters from a son in France during World War I. Included are items related to local public schools, including programs for musicals and plays at Louisiana State Normal College (now Northwestern State University). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 989.

Colbert, Elenor Robinson, 1940-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1993. 1 sound cassette (45 minutes), Index (2 pages). Location: L:4700.222. Resident of Four Corners, an unincorporated community south of Franklin, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. Colbert's great-grandmother was a slave. Colbert describes working in cane fields as a child; customs of family gatherings, the burial of umbilical cords of newborns, and cutting hair on Good Friday; the challenges of plantation life; christening and baptism traditions; and natural remedies. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.222.

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

Cole, Christian Grenes. Family Papers, 1911-1935. .25 linear ft. Location: T:95. Correspondence, legal documents and financial papers reflect the business dealings of Robert Ruffin Barrow and Christian Grenes Cole of Terrebonne Parish, La. Papers relate to the bankruptcy of Myrtle Grove Syrup Co. Inc., confiscation of land in Terrebonne Parish, La., and a mortgage default in New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3648.

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

Compton, Mary E. Family papers, 1858-1955 (bulk 1858-1888). 26 items, 2 v. on one microfilm reel. Location: Mss.Mf:C, C:72. Wife of George W. Compton, a planter of Walnut Grove Plantation near Cheneyville, Louisiana. Letters of Capt. Henry E. Handerson, 9th Louisiana, relate to life at Camp Bienville and the Battle of Manassas. Compton's diary documents wartime operation of the plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1299.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

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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