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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Alexander, James M. Letter, 1836 May 7. 1 letter. Location: Misc.:A. James M. Alexander, an overseer in Clinton, Ala., writes Edward B.D. Sloan in Sloansville, Mecklenburg County, N.C., about their friendship, farming, and land prices. Mss. 3964.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Allen, Henry Watkins, 1820-1866. Letter and related photograph, 1864 July 6. 2 items. Location: Misc:A. Lawyer of Mississippi who served in both the Mississippi and Louisiana legislatures. Allen served in the 4th Louisiana Regiment during the Civil War and was Confederate governor of Louisiana in 1864. Letter from Allen to William F. Lockwood, keeper of machinery of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, authorizes Lockwood to loan penitentiary looms to cotton planters in eastern Louisiana and includes instructions for loaning the looms. Included is a photograph of Lockwood. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2867.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Civil War

Allendale Plantation Records, 1900-1996. 12 v. Location: 6:64-65, U:1. Henry Watkins Allen, the 17th governor of Louisiana established Allendale sugar plantation in West Baton Rouge Parish. In 1882, John and Martin James Kahao purchased the plantation, and their family successfully operated the plantation for most of the 20th century. The collection contains correspondence, minutes, labor records, and financial and legal documents. Papers also include brief histories of Allendale Plantation and the Kahao family. Photographs are comprised of family members, plantation buildings, plantation workers, and the cane fields. Mss. 3824.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

Allyn, William B. Letter, 1862 Nov. 25. 1 item. Location: Misc:A. William B. Allyn was a Federal officer serving in Louisiana during the Civil War. Written from Camp Stevens, near Thibodaux, Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, Allyn's letter describes the surrounding countryside, the Federal policy toward captured Confederate sugar, and social relations with local planters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2941.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Civil War

Alston, Solomon. Etate Document, 1809 April 27. 1 item. Location: C:61. Planter of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Deed of manumission giving a female slave to Maria Ana Gray, niece of Solomon Alston. Conditions were outlined in Alston's will. In Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1209.

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