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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Walsh, Henry Hicky. Papers, 1841-1892, 1941. 9 items. Location: OS:W. Prominent New Orleans lawyer and grandson of Philip Hicky of Hope Estate Plantation, Baton Rouge. Papers consists of correspondence relating to family matters; certificate for land purchased by Armoigene Crochet and Senfroid Chedotale of Assumption Parish, Louisiana (Oct. 6, 1841); academic paper on classical literature (1854); commission from Governor Thomas O. Moore to Walsh for an appointment as 2nd lieutenant of the Pargoud Volunteers, Louisiana Militia (1861); newspaper picture of Hope Plantation; Walsh's diploma from University of Louisiana (1861); and obituary of Henry Hicky Walsh (1892). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1622.

Walworth, Douglas. Family Papers, 1806-1881 (bulk 1850- 1881). 189 items; 10 ms. vols. Location: U:234. 99:W, Misc.: W, O:21. Planter, attorney and Confederate Army captain from Natchez, Mississippi. Alexander Gordon was a Scottish immigrant to New Orleans, Louisiana. Correspondence includes letters from Walworth's parents while he was at Harvard University. His diaries describe his childhood, study and student life, and Confederate military experiences. Civil War papers concern Confederate military administration. Gordon family papers include documents on the estates of James Gordon and his wife, family correspondence, the American naturalization certificate of Alexander Gordon, and Alexander's diary. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reels 20-21. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2471, 2499.

Wartelle, Ferdinand M. Ledger, 1878-1896. 1 vol. (on microfilm). Location: Mss. Mf.:W. Planter of Moundville Plantation, Washington, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Plantation ledger records wages paid to field hands, debts and earnings of tenant farmers, and purchases made by hands or tenants at a plantation store. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2650.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business

Wartelle, Pierre Gabriel,1787-1869. Family Papers, 1811-1976. 2 linear ft., 10 v. Location: UU:322-323, OS:W, O:62-63. French ex-patriate, New Orleans businessman, and sugar and cotton planter of St. Landry Parish, La. Collection consists of legal documents, account books, correspondence, printed material and personal papers that pertain to the business interests, plantation operations, and history of the Wartelle Family and Moundville Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 5025.

Washington, George, 1732-1799, Letter, 1799 Dec. 10. 1 item (facsimile). First President of the United States. Letter to James Anderson with attached plans for the operation of Washington's plantations for the calendar year 1800. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 965.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations