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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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.