Manuscript Resources on The Sugar Industry

This guide describes manuscript collections documenting the sugar industry in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) at LSU.  The records and personal papers of sugar planters and others whose livelihood came from growing sugar provide a wealth of documentation supporting research in agriculture, sociology, economics, history, and politics.

Researchers should also consult:

Sugar at LSU: Cultivating a Sweeter Future (Online Exhibition)

Documenting Louisiana Sugar 1845-1917

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Martin, Leonard, 1908-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1993. 1 sound cassette (1.5 hours), Index (4 pages). Location: L:4700.0281. Sugarcane farmer and great-grandson of a slave, Martin was a resident of Four Corners, Louisiana, an unincorporated community south of Franklin, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. Martin's account of the sale of his great-grandfather as a slave along with descriptions of his education; his father's career as the first African American schoolteacher in the area; work in sugarcane farming; and a dance-hall operator, Alice LeBaude. Martin also describes forms of transportation; the marriage of his white maternal grandmother to a Native American; his own marriage; work in Texas; the use of drugs in Four Corners; and his religion. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0281.

Martin, Robert Campbell, b. 1839. Papers, 1767-1932. 241 items, 75 vols. (68 ms. Vols., 8 printed vols.). Location: C:9, OS:M, O:18-19, 98. Sugar planter of Albemarle Plantation, Assumption Parish, Louisiana, and son of Robert Campbell Martin and Mary Winfred Pugh. Martin served as first lieutenant in the 26th Louisiana Volunteer Regiment during the Civil War. Papers include Pugh family property and estate records such as deeds and leases, an estate inventory, powers of attorney, and a promissory note. Other papers include a funeral notice, marriage license, muster roll, receipts, and voter registration form. Also included are record books of Albemarle Plantation, memorandum books, newspaper clippings, and printed items. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 3, Reels 7-11. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1045.

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

Martin, Sigur. Papers, 1905-1912. 236 items, 16 ms. Vols. Location: U:211, G:18. Sugar planter of Grand Point Plantation and a dealer in general merchandise and liquor in Paulina, St. James Parish, Louisiana. He later held office in the Treasury Department in Baton Rouge. Collection includes store records, accounts, invoices, and receipts, many with Baton Rouge merchants. Some items document Martin's management of a sugarcane plantation. Included are letters from the Colonial Sugars Company listing cane deliveries from tenant farmers working on Grand Point Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 460.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Business, Baton Rouge

Martin, W. L. Collection, 1831, 1863, 1869. 4 items. Location: 99:. Copy of a Benjamin Levy (New Orleans) imprint of a sugar statement for the year 1831 by Pierre A. Degelos which gives the names of the sugar planters by parishes; and three Thibodaux, Louisiana, newspapers. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1904.

Mather, George. Accountb0Books, 1782-1845. 4 volumes, 11 items. Location: G:18, MISC:M. Planter of St. James Parish, Louisiana. Account books pertain to plantation expenses, slave labor, sugar, taffia, and cotton. Volume one (1782-1845) contains some entries in French. Volume two relates to Mather's sugar operations and the taffia sold on the German Coast in present-day St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana (1798-1832). Entries in volume three contain memos on loans made and payments received (1813-1822). Entries in volume four also note cotton shipments to Liverpool and a letter in French to Tousaint Fauve of La Rochelle, France (1806-1817). Loose items consist of financial papers and three clippings. The collection is also available on UPA Microfilm 5322, (Records of ante-bellum southern plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War. Series I, Selections from Louisiana State University ; pt. 1, Louisiana sugar plantations, reel 8. Mss. 283, 568.

Mather, Joseph. Diary, 1852-1859 (bulk 1855-1856). 1 vol. Location: V:68. Superintendent of Aurora Plantation, St. James Parish, Louisiana. Diary relates the day-by-day activities on a sugar plantation, noting the weather, work done at various times of the year, condition of crops, and health of slaves and stock. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 285.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, African Americans

Maury Brothers. Ledger, 1851-1856. 1 vol. Location: M:20. James and Ruston Maury were New Orleans, Louisiana commission merchants. Ruston Maury conducted company business in Liverpool, New York, Charleston, and Richmond. Ledger records company income, expenses, and accounts of company partners. Accounts of cotton, sugar and corn shipped to England and the northern United States. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4676.

McCutchon, Samuel, 1820-1874. Family Papers, 1832-1890 (bulk 1832-1874). 104 items, 8 vols. (5 ms. vols., 3 printed vols.). Location: U:158, P:19, Misc:M. Manager of Ormond Plantation, Saint Charles Parish, Louisiana, and manager (1866-1874) for the Young, Toledo and Company in Belize, British Honduras. Collection includes diaries documenting the operation and management of the sugar plantation and saw mills. Papers include business letters, record books, inventories, newspapers, broadsides, and plans. Includes papers and descriptions of plantation life in Belize. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 1, Reels 5-6. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1049, 1087, 1060, 1109.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Business

McLean, Shirley, 1941-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1993. 1 sound cassette (45 minutes), index (3 pages). Location: L:4700.218. Resident of Four Corners, an unincorporated community south of Franklin, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, and daughter of Louis Comeaux, sugarcane farmer. McLean relates her childhood memories of life on a sugarcane farm, work and recreation on the farm, sugarcane harvesting, local schooling, relations with African Americans, and French language usage. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.218.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Women, African Americans

Meek, A. J. Photograph collection, 1989-1990. 3 items. Location: M:26. Baton Rouge photographer and Professor of Art at LSU. Collection includes photographs of a fire resulting from an explosion at the Exxon Chemical Plant in Baton Rouge; Mississippi River at flood stage at Baton Rouge; and Enterprise Plantation Sugar Mill in New Iberia, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4726.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, LSU

Meeker Sugar Refining Company. Records, 1911-1916. 2 volumes. Location: 53:13. The Meeker Sugar Refinery was located in Meeker, Louisiana, and began operating at the end of 1911. Built and formed by Chicago investors, the refinery was the central factory for Rapides and Avoyelles Parish sugar farmers. Unlike other sugar mills, it had the ability to process sugar cane into white sugar. The refinery closed in 1981. Meeker Sugar Refining Company records include a cash book and a journal. Entries include many transactions with the Chicago area office and area sugar farmers. Early entries also document construction of the company's buildings in 1911 and 1912, including the boarding house, laboratory, and office building. Mss. 4011.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Business

Memorandum on Henry Finley, J. Y. Alarid and C. F. Graham, 1889 October 22. 1 item. Location: Misc:A. Memorandum names Henry Finley as constable and mentions warrants awaiting enforcement. Memorandum also reports on the cotton, corn and syrup produced by J. Y. Alarid and his expectation for compensation. C. F. Graham is reported to have returned to his cotton farm to resume planting. Alternate title: Anonymous memorandum. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1155.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar

Miller, Warren. Scrapbooks and memorabilia, 1909-1947. .5 linear ft. Location: M:24. New Orleans attorney and civic leader. Two scrapbook volumes, photographs, Sugar Bowl programs, and phonographic recordings of college songs document Miller's civic activities and his involvement with the founding of the Sugar Bowl college football game. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3612.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Performing arts, New Orleans 1866-

Minor family. Papers, 1774-1914 (bulk 1774-1891). 24 items, 1 printed volume, 1 microfilm reel. Location: T:35, OS:M, MSS.MF:M. Planters of the Concord Plantation and governor of the Spanish district of Natchez. Collection includes correspondence related to plantation and family matters in Mississippi and Louisiana; a sugar producer's license; a printed item signed by President John Adams; and a will. Includes land titles for and personal correspondence of the Stephen, William J., and Henry C. Minor families of Natchez and Terrebonne Parish. Some letters in Spanish and French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 859, 947.

Minor family. Photograph collection, 1885, undated. 6 unique copy prints, 9 35mm negative strips. Location: MISC:M, E:65. William J. Minor was a sugar planter of Terrebonne and Ascension Parishes, Louisiana. His father, Stephen Minor, owned a plantation and a home in Natchez, Mississippi. Ayres P. Merrill was the U.S. Minister to Belgium. Collection contains formal portraits of William J. Minor, John Minor, Mrs. Minor (probably the wife of William J. Minor), and Ayres P. Merrill II. Included are photographs depicting Oakland, the Minor family home, and Elmscourt, the Merrill family home, also in Natchez. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3173.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, Natchez, Mississippi

Minor, Henry C. Papers, 1846-1956 (bulk 1918-1956). 1,263 items, 86 volumes (85 printed volumes, 1 manuscript volume). Location: T:8-9, X:87-88, F:5. Sugar planter of Southdown Plantation, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Papers relate to the estate of Henry C. Minor and contain letters, maps, photographs, reports, and items reflecting the management, reorganization, and financing of sugar plantations, including the Southdown Plantation, especially during the 1930s. Many materials relate to sugar technology and the revival of the Louisiana sugar industry in the 20th century through the introduction of fungus resistant P.O.J. sugarcane. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1509, 1607.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

Minor, Rebecca A. G. Papers, circa 1860-1870. 786 pages (on 1 microfilm reel). Location: MSS.MF:M. Wife of William J. Minor and executrix of his estate. Case files of Rebecca Minor against the United States, filed in the U.S. Court of Claims, for the seizure by Union military authorities of sugar, molasses, and supplies at Hollywood and Southdowns plantations, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 857.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, Civil War

Minor, William J. and family. Papers, 1779-1898, 1941 (bulk 1830-1870). 410 items, 37 volumes, 1 microfilm reel, 70 microfiche. Location: U:229, H:2, MSS.MF:M, VAULT:1, OS:M, MICROFICHE 2729. Sugar planter of Southdown and Hollywood Plantations in Terrebonne Parish and Waterloo Plantation in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Minor was president of the Agricultural Bank of Natchez, Mississippi. Collection includes plantation records; banking papers; and personal correspondence of the Stephen, William J., and Henry C. Minor families of Natchez and Terrebonne Parish. Some letters in Spanish and French. Some items available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 3, Reels 1-4. Some items available on microfiche. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 519, 594.

Moore, John, 1788-1867. Letter, 1823 August 23. 1 item. Location: Misc:M. Sugar planter, judge, and politician of St. Mary, St. Landry, and Iberia parishes, Louisiana. Moore was a member of the Louisiana and U.S. House of Representatives; and built Magnolia Ridge and later owned Shadows-on-the-Teche in New Iberia. Letter from Opelousas, Louisiana, addressed to Messrs. Gales & Seaton, editors of the National Intelligencer, Washington, D.C. It refers to an enclosed subscription payment of five dollars to be paid each to Benoit Vanille (?) and Clement A. Mudd. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2343.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Politics, Plantations, Business

Moore, John, 1788-1867. Family Papers, 1831-1880. 47 items. Location: W:31. Sugar planter, judge, and politician of St. Mary, St. Landry, and Iberia parishes, Louisiana. Moore was a member of the Louisiana and U.S. House of Representatives; and built Magnolia Ridge and later owned Shadows-on-the-Teche in New Iberia. Papers consist of legal and business papers and correspondence of Moore, his daughters, and his sons-in-law. Included are bills of lading, crop production statements, slave documents, mortgages, and promissory notes. The collection also includes land grants (1860) for acreage in Opelousas, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2973.

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