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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Dunbar, Archibald. Document, 1836. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Adams County, Mississippi. Sale (notarized) of slaves formerly attached to Ashwood Plantation by Archibald Dunbar to Peter M. and Joseph H. Lapice. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Duncan, Abner L. Papers, 1825-1866 (bulk 1841-1862) 13 items. Location: Misc.:D. Planter of Baton Rouge, La. Correspondence between Abner L. Duncan and his relatives concerning the management of his late father's estates, the deaths of family members, and issues of inheritance among family members. Also included is an exchange of letters between Leon Bonnecaze, the French vice consul at Baton Rouge, and David Farragut of the U.S. Navy, regarding the bombardment of Baton Rouge on May 28, 1862. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4199.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, Baton Rouge

Duncan, Lucius C. Letter, 1822. 1 item. Location: MISC:D. Resident of New Orleans. Letter by Duncan to Rufus Flynt, who had befriended him while at school in Monson, Massachusetts, tells of visiting at the cotton plantation of his uncle, Colonel Abner Duncan, near Baton Rouge. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1334.

Duncan, Mary. Letter, circa 1862-1864. 1 letter, 1 transcript. Location: MISC:D. Daughter-in-law of Stephen Duncan and sister-in-law of Stephen Duncan, Jr. Letter from Mary Duncan, New York, to Major General Henry Halleck, General-in-Chief of the United States Army. Duncan writes seeking protection for her father-in-law Stephen Duncan's plantations and lands in Natchez, Mississippi and Franklin, Louisiana from Confederate forces and U.S. Army confiscation practices. She claims that her family's bales of cotton have been destroyed by Confederate forces and that U.S. Army forces have depredated the Duncan family's nine plantations, causing them to lose "many negroes," and her brother-in-law Stephen Duncan, Jr.'s house. Mss. 5378

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Civil War, African Americans

Duncan, Stephen, 1787-1867. Correspondence, 1817-1877. 158 items, 2 vols. Location: S:120. Planter and banker of Natchez, Mississippi. Correspondence includes letters from friends and family concerning social, political, and economic problems of Reconstruction. Papers include legal documents, bills, and receipts. A daybook includes lists of slaves present at Homochitto Plantation. Included is a diary of W. P. Duncan, son of Stephen Duncan, Jr., describing his travels in France and Italy. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 6061 as the Stephen Duncan Family Papers, Mss. 1403, 1793: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 4, Reel 5. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1403, 1431, 1551, 1595, 1793.