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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Butler, Thomas, 1785-1847. Family Papers, 1663, 1793-1950 (bulk 1820-1920), undated 8,333 items, 53 ms. vols., and 74 printed vols. Location: F:16, OS:B,Mss. Mf.:B, 65:B. Judge of the Louisiana Third District Court. Butler owned plantations in West Feliciana and Terrebonne Parishes. Papers include letters from public officials, friends, and family and correspondence and business papers relative to the management of Butler's plantations and to accounts and civil cases handled by Butler for merchants in Mississippi and Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 581, 893, 965, 1353.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations

Butler, Thomas, 1785-1847. Papers, 1804-1945. 5.5 linear ft. Location: S:13-S:15, OS:B, J:10, Vault. Judge of the Louisiana Third District Court. Butler owned plantations in West Feliciana and Terrebonne Parishes. Papers include correspondence and documents related to household and business finances, documenting the plantation economy in the antebellum and post-bellum periods. Civil War papers include Confederate military orders and other official correspondence. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 5, Reels 9-13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2850.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War

Cade account books, 1828-1878. 2 vols. Location: F:11. Robert Cade, resident of West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Entries include Poplar Grove Plantation and the W. B. Chamberlin plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 474.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Caffery, Donelson and Family. Papers, 1580-1958 (bulk 1861-1909). 537 items, 39 vols. Location: C:74-75, O:23, OS:C. Planter of St. Mary Parish, Louisiana and U.S. senator. Papers consist of correspondence, genealogies, clippings, photographs, pamphlets, diaries, notebooks, postcards, scrapbooks, and financial records of the Donelson Caffery family. They concerns family matters, Louisiana politics, the Civil War, Caffery's senatorial career, the effects of the Mexican War on the sugar industry, Louisiana oil industry, plantation operations, Jewish hotel guests (v. 4,5) and the removal of Jews from Franklin (v.6). The papers of John Murphy Caffery also reflect his own navel career and the Louisiana sugar industry. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1865.

Caffery, Donelson Jr. Letter, 1889. 1 item. Location: Misc.:C. Editor and manager of the Franklin, Louisiana, ST MARY BANNER. Letter from Caffery to W. B. Logan, United States Marshal, in New Orleans, concerns the sale of Ivanhoe Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 889.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans 1866-

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