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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Hunter, Robert and Sarah Jane. Letters, 1846-1847. 9 items. Location: Misc:H. Letters exchanged between R. [Robert] A. Hunter while serving in the Louisiana State Senate, and his wife, Sarah Jane, residing either on their plantation or their summer home in the "Pine Woods" in Rapides Parish or in Alexandria. In addition to love letters, correspondence includes description of political activities and also his service as an officer in the Mexican War. She relates news of family, friends, crops, and other local happenings. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4072.

Hyslop, John. Correspondence, 1868. 2 letters. Location: Misc.: H. Two letters written to John Hyslop of Manchester, England. In the first letter written to his parents, James Douglas Hyslop relates his experiences while traveling in the United States, in search of employment. He tells about his illness, working on the railroad, mining for gold in California, and working at Harlem Plantation (Aug. 1, 1868). In a letter to John Hyslop, John M. Davidson informs him that his son, James, died of yellow fever (Sept. 6, 1868). Both letters were written from Harlem Plantation in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Mss. 5218.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Medicine

Iberville Parish (La.) Parish Court. Probate sale, 1837 February 14. 1 item. Location: Misc:P. A broadside for a probate sale to take place March 1837 in the Parish of Iberville (Louisiana) for the estate of Robert Loyd. The items to be auctioned include the undivided half of a plantation, livestock, and slaves. Slaves are listed by name and their age. The item is signed by John Dutton, Parish Judge. In English and French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4892.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Acadiana, African Americans, French

Inman, B. R. (Benajah R.), b. 1820. Family Papers, 1808-1888. .2 linear ft. (68 items). Location: B:50. Planter of Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Inman inherited Smithland Plantation in 1863 from his aunt, Nancy Quine. Collection includes financial records; legal materials; correspondence; and miscellaneous and printed items. The financial and legal records document Smithfield Plantation and a dry goods store on it. Business letters to John Lee, a purchasing agent in New Orleans, deal with the price of cotton and other commodities. Slave bills of sale and labor contracts with sharecroppers are included. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reel 11. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Innerarity, John. Papers, 1800-1854. 48 items. Location: B:50. Vice Consul of France at Pensacola, Florida, and a member of the firm John Forbes and Company, which engaged in trade with Native Americans along the Gulf Coast. Correspondence documents shipment of goods, accounts, and purchases of slaves for a plantation in Georgia.Letters relating to Innerarity's French consular service (1835-1853) discuss land claims, political appointments, and the Mexican War. Some items in French and Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1271, 1273.