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

Ashland Plantation record book, 1852. 1 vol. Location: M:19. W. C. Wade was an overseer of Ashland Plantation, Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Ashland Plantation was owned by the sugar planter and politician, Duncan Farrar Kenner (1813-1887). Record book containing daily entries which describe activities on Ashland Plantation. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reel 13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 534.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

Ashton Plantation auction broadside, 1859 December 8. 1 item. Location: EPHEMERA COLLECTION SUBGROUP III. Cotton plantation in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, consisting of 1,800 acres on Bayou Macon and the Mississippi River. It was owned by Dr. William Webb Wilkins until his death (ca. 1859) after which it was auctioned to help settle his succession. Broadside printed to advertise the public auction of Ashton Plantation, which was ordered by the Fourth Judicial Court of St. James Parish, where Wilkins' estate was probably settled. The item briefly describes the real and personal property to be sold. Also listed on the broadside to be sold are ninety-eight slaves and their ages. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reel 10. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3729.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Assumption Parish records, 1841-1920 (bulk 1841-1891). 84 items. Location: U:6, 98:. Miscellaneous legal papers stating the value of a sugar plantation and slaves, with a copy of a lease for a house, lot, and billiard table in Napoleonville, La. (1841); subpoenas in a legal suit concerning St. Elizabeth Church (1852); and a broadside titled "Synopsis of Steamboat Laws" (1867). A printed invitation to attend a meeting of the Republican Executive Committee in Donaldsonville (1887), a broadside of the regular Democratic ticket for delegates to the state nomination convention and Assumption Parish officials (1891), and issues of The Assumption Pioneer (January 23, February 13, 27, 1909) are included. Mss. 14.

Avart, Valentine Robert. Document, 1806. 1 item. Location: Misc.:A. Notarized copy of a land conveyance for a plantation sold by V. Robert Avart to Lancelot Pearson at public auction. The plantation near New Orleans was given to receivers by its former owner, Charles Latours. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 18.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans to 1861, French

Bacon, Edmund, 1776-1826. Letters, 1802-1820. 14 items. Location: B:16. Virginia native, lawyer, and cotton planter educated in Augusta, Georgia, and Litchfield, Connecticut. He settled in Savannah, then moved to Edgefield, South Carolina. Letters to Bacon's sister Agnes and her husband Colonel Joseph Pannill of Loftus Heights, Mississippi, pertaining to legal, business, and agricultural matters; family and local news; difficulties with Creek Indians in the area; and travel. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2178.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women