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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Anonymous cashbooks (K), 1867-1902. 3 volumes. Location: F:2. Accounts for a general store in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Entries list the names of many of the prominent planters in the area and include some plantation records. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 848.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business

Anonymous Confederate civilian letters, 1863 August 27-29. 2 items. Location: Misc:A Pages from a letter-diary of a plantation owner, possibly the wife of a Confederate soldier, recording daily activities, local news, plantation work, and slave health. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2997.

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

Anonymous letter, 1807. 1 item. Location: Misc:A. Plantation letter from a Natchez, Mississippi, planter to a brother living in the East, outlining the favorable economic conditions for plantation owners in the Natchez area. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1658.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Natchez, Mississippi

Anonymous planter ledger, 1848-1849. 1 volume. Location: Misc:A. Plantation ledger, possibly kept by Abraham Lobdell, a West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana planter. Ledger records payments for services, goods, and taxes on land. Included are entries recording slave births and deaths, medical bills, gifts to the Protestant Episcopal Church, and goods sold to slaves on credit. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2905.

Arceneaux, Alexander. Papers, 1839-1895, undated 133 items. Location: C:68. Cotton planter of Port Barre, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, along with his son-in-law, Louis Fuselier. Papers consist of receipts for parish and state taxes, medical services, food supplies, and for recording brands for cattle. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1319.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Medicine