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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Wood, William W. Account books, 1835-1866, 1886. 2 vols. Location: H:23. Purvis, Wood, and Company were cotton commission merchants of New Orleans. Fragmentary ledger of Purvis, Wood and Company containing accounts and a list of planters and their addresses in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas; and a cashbook of Silas and W. W. Wood containing records of personal and business expenditures. Included in the cashbook are work sheets for laborers showing location and amount of timber cut and statements of account for supplies with James Dunning and Solomon Johnston. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1103.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans 1866-, Business

Woodland Plantation inventory, 1966. 1 item (11 pages). Location: Misc.:W. Plantation located in Mississippi. Itemized inventory of household goods of Woodland Plantation appraised by Merritt Shilg for Morton's Auction Exchange, New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2173.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans 1866-, Business

Woodland Plantation photographs, circa 1920-1960. 2 copy prints. Location: 65:5. Two copy prints present images of Woodland Plantation in Plaquemines Parish, La. One shows a man standing in front of the decayed slave quarters while the other shows the front of the main house. Mss. 3322.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Wright, Charles L. Papers, 1884-1970 (bulk 1907-1934). 2 linear feet. Location: 32:134, OS:W. Wright worked in the lumber industry and ran the Excelsior Cypress Co. mill at Timberton, St. James Parish, Louisiana. The mill operated from 1907 to 1927. Collection consists of correspondence and letters, financial and legal papers, photographs, and printed items. These relate to Wright and his family's personal matters, the operation of Neta Plantation (the family farm), and the Excelsior Cypress Co. For more information see online catalog. Mss. 4785.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business

Wright, Jesse D. Papers, 1831-1906 (bulk 1835-1882). 1.2 linear ft. Location: OS:W, UU:248-249. The Wright family owned lands in Louisiana and Texas. Jesse practiced medicine in Rapides Parish, Louisiana and also managed several business concerns, including a store and plantations, and was active in civic and church affairs. Correspondence mostly reflects the business concerns of the Wright family. Topics include land acquisition, property management, division of property, settling wills, and financial and legal concerns. Other items include Ester Wright Boyd's memoirs. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 99.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Business, Medicine, LSU

Wright-Boyd Family. Papers, 1812-1914. 2.5 linear ft. Location: R:23-24, OS:W, 65:61. The Wright family owned plantations in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Esther Gertrude Wright married David French Boyd, president of the Louisiana State Seminary, later LSU. Papers include correspondence, diaries, journals, memoirs, and photographs. The papers mainly document the lives of the women members of the Wright and Boyd families. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3362.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, LSU

Wynne, Michael D. Collection, 1826-1976. 6 linear ft., 13 volumes. Location: W:34-35; P:19; 5:31-32, 43; VAULT MRDF 6; VAULT:1, 25; OS:W. Resident of Lafayette, Louisiana, and collector of historical materials on south Louisiana history and culture. Collection includes papers of planters, Civil War soldiers, politicians, and professionals. It contains letters, Confederate currency, sheet music, photographs, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks documenting New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and surrounding parishes. Also included are papers of the Mayer Brass Band of Opelousas, Louisiana (1892-1909). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3053.

Young, Robert Thomas, 1812-1890. Family Papers, 1793-1927 (bulk 1830-1890). 0.5 linear ft. Location: E:35, OS:Y. Cotton planter of the Plains in upper East Baton Rouge Parish. Correspondence, legal documents, financial papers, slave lists and bill of sale, personal papers, and printed items document the lives of the Young family. Included are letters written during the Civil War by Robert's sister-in-law, Julia. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4548.

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