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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Turnbull, Sarah, 1831-1914. Diary, 1851. Transcription, 1 item (2 pages). Location: Misc.:T. Wife of James Pirrie Bowman, cotton planter, Rosedown, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Entries describe places visited on a European tour. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2375.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

Turnbull-Allain Family Papers, 1784-1941 (bulk 1820-1890). 15 linear ft. Location: C:98-112, OS:T, 99:T. The Turnbull and Allain families were cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana, West Baton Rouge, and Iberville parishes, Louisiana. Papers include correspondence, legal and financial documents, and plantation records. Included are a large number of Braille writings of Helene Allain, some written while she studied and taught at the Louisiana Institute for the Blind in Baton Rouge. Plantation papers include lists of slaves and laborers. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 19-34. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4261.

Turnbull-Bowman family. Papers, 1771-1956 (bulk 1795-1910). 8 microfilm reels; 5.5 linear ft. Location: MSS.MF:T; X:19-23; OS:T. The Turnbull and Bowman families were cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Financial papers, correspondence, legal documents, personal papers, sheet music, printed items, and photographs of members of the Turnbull and Bowman families, cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Some papers of the related Pirrie and Gray families are included. Early documents reflect involvement of members of the Turnbull family in the fur trade in colonial Louisiana. Most papers reflect planting activities. Papers also include the sermons of William R. Bowman (1800-1835), rector of Grace Episcopal Church in St. Francisville. Some items in Spanish and French. Mss. 4452.

Turnbull-Bowman-Lyons Family Papers, 1797-1955 (bulk 1820-1910). 3.5 linear ft. Location: C:113-115, OS:T. Sugar and cotton planters with properties in West Feliciana Parish, Iberville Parish, Pointe Coupee Parish, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Correspondence, plantation management papers, financial papers, legal documents, personal papers, and printed and graphic materials documenting the lives of members of the Turnbull, Pirrie, Lyons, Bowman, Barrow, Stirling, and Fort families. Correspondence discusses plantation, slave, financial, and social matters, and includes antebellum letters. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 34-38. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4026.

Turner, Edward and family. Papers, 1767-1878 (bulk 1811-1878). 173 items, 1 volume. Location: S:120, OS:T, VAULT:1. Judge and planter of Natchez, Mississippi. Collection includes family correspondence, legal and business papers, plantation documents, poems, photographs, a specimen of currency (1778), and an issue of the newspaper Southern Watch Tower (1843). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1403.

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