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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Keary, Patrick F. Letter, 1850 Jan. 8. 1 letter. Location: Misc. Patrick F. Keary of Catalpa Grove Plantation near Cheneyville, La., writes Juan Y. de Egana, commission merchant of New Orleans, relating the loss of seven slaves to cholera and giving a list of supplies needed at the plantation. Mss. 3913.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Keller family. Plantation records, 1858-1937 (bulk 1908-1923). 9 items, 17 volumes, 1 microfilm reel. Location: MISC:K, P:16, MSS.MF:K. The Keller family owned Welham Plantation and operated a store in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes antebellum slave record books (1858-1860), plantation and store ledgers, cashbooks, daybooks, and receipts. Slave record books are on microfilm. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3010.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, African Americans

Kelly, Lou M. Reminiscences and Letters, [1905], 1925. 3 items. Location: E:4. Lou Kelly lived at Ranson Plantation, St. Charles Parish, La. Kelly's reminiscences and letters pertain to an African American labor riot in St Charles Parish in 1880. Kelly wrote the reminiscences in 1905 for author Helen Pitkin Schertz's fictionalized account of the riot. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4796.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, Literature

Kendrick, Benjamin. Papers, 1806-1894 (bulk 1810-1840). 0.7 linear ft. (611 items). Location: U:170. Cotton planter and slaveholder of the Feliciana parishes, Louisiana. In 1823 he moved from St. Francisville (West Feliciana Parish) near Jackson (East Feliciana Parish) and in 1830 he established Asphodel Plantation there. Collection includes legal papers, bills, receipts, and correspondence. Papers document medical care for family members and slaves; and include letters from New Orleans merchants and a letter from a Missouri slave dealer (1836). Some materials relate to David J. Fluker of East Feliciana Parish, Kendrick's son-in-law. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reels 11-12. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 906.

Kenner family. Papers and diaries, 1844-1892 (bulk 1844-1856). 49 items; 8 vols. Location: C:30, J:5, . Sugar and rice planters of Oakland Plantation, Jefferson Parish; and Roseland Plantation, St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. Papers consist of personal correspondence, a diary, and two memorandum books. Included are Civil War letters of Lieutenant Philip Minor Kenner. Plantation diaries and correspondence of Charles Oxley, husband of Martha Kenner, record activities at Roseland Plantation. Available on microfilm 5735 and 5322: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B Reel 10 and Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reel 5 For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 775.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Civil War