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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Sugar imprints collection, 1765-1860. 27 items. Location: E:Imprints. British and French imprints pertaining to the sugar industry. Included are bills of lading for sugar shipped from Port-au-Prince; and ordinances and decrees issued by the French royal council and the national convention of French Republicans. Also included are acts of Parliament pertaining to production; a statement of the value of sugar exports from Great Britain; and a pamphlet illustrating production methods. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2880.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, French

Sugar plantation postcards, circa 1900. 4 picture postcards. Location: 65:5. Two of three photolithographic postcards of sugar workers cutting cane identify Florida as the location, while a photographic postcard documents a sugarcane press in Tobago. Mss. 4144.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar

Sumner, William Graham. Papers, 1876. 2 items. Location: Misc.:S. A correspondent in New Orleans writes Sumner lamenting the end of Reconstruction in Louisiana with the collapse of republican institutions and the poor condition of African-American sugar plantation workers (Nov. 17, 1876). Stephen Whitney writes Sumner from Woodland Plantation inviting him to visit to see a sugar plantation in operation (Nov. 18, 1876). Mss. 3858.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Politics, Plantations, New Orleans 1866-

Taussig, Charles William. Collection, 1667-1922. 1 linear foot. Location: 111:22, OS:T. Charles W. Taussig was an author and businessman. He served as the chairman of the board of Sucrest Corporation (formerly the American Molasses Company) of New York, New York. The collection contains manuscripts and printed materials pertaining to the planting, production, and processing of sugarcane; domestic and international trade and commerce in sugar, molasses, and rum; the slave trade and slave labor. Mss. 2220, 2284.

Taylor, Miles, 1805-1873. Family Papers, 1821-1954 (bulk 1821-1890). 200 items. Location: U:236, 99. Congressional representative, lawyer, judge, and sugar planter of Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Taylor's son, Thomas, was a sergeant in the 8th Louisiana Volunteers in the Civil War. Collection includes family letters, photographs, manuscript writings, genealogical and biographical materials, and reprints of speeches Taylor made in Congress (1856-1857). Mrs. Taylor's mother lived in Natchez and the collection includes letters between the two of them; and Civil War letters from Thomas Taylor as a prisoner of war in Saratoga Springs, New York. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reels 18-19. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1378, 1448, 1636, .

Taylor, William, d. circa 1850. Diary, 1838-1842. 1 vol., 1 microfilm reel. Location: Mss. Mf.:T, Vault:25. Planter of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana and cousin of General Zachary Taylor. Plantation diary describes the routine activities and operations of his sugar and cotton plantations, Lakeland and Briers plantations. Taylor records the visits of many relatives and friends, including the family of Zachary Taylor. He also discusses local politics. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 899.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Politics

Thibaut, James. Account book, 1878-1879. 1 vol. Location: M:20. Commission merchant of St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. Account book records sugar and molasses sold for various plantations in Louisiana, listing names of plantations and consignees; and contains written reports on the conditions of crops, health, weather, and the Mississippi River. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 421.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Business

Thomas Butler Family Photographs and Plantation Journal, 1844-1907, 1952, 1961, undated (bulk:1844-1907). 0.3 linear feet. Location: S:16. The Thomas Butler family were cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, and resided at The Cottage. Collection consists of a plantation journal for Grand Caillou and Le Carpe Plantations, Terrebonne Parish, ca. 1844-1866, and photographs of family members and home interiors. The journal, kept during Thomas Butler and later Richard E. Butler's ownership of the plantations, contains financial accounts and a list of overseers' names (1842-1859), as well as slave registers that record births, deaths, and parents of children. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 4347.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, African Americans

Thurston, George N. Family Papers, 1843-1907. 64 items, 3 vols. Location: C:45. Mississippi River steamboat captain for the New Orleans Ice Company, and a sugar planter at Baskerville Plantation, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. Papers include personal and business letters related to Thurston's work, and diaries and account books kept by his wife, Mary Thurston, concerning the household and plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1124.

Tower, Luther Field. Diary, 1845-1846. 2 vols. Location: H:20. Clerk for a New Orleans. La., cotton exchange. Diary provides a daily account of local weather conditions in New Orleans, the arrival and departure of cargo ships, cotton and sugar prices, the cotton trade, local military and political celebrations, Tower's attendance at Protestant church services, concerts and opera performances, and prominent visitors to New Orleans. Entries for November and December of 1845 describe the trial of Dr. W.A. Scott, minister of the First Presbyterian Church in New Orleans. Entries also note the progress of the Mexican War and the funeral of U.S. President Andrew Jackson. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 765.

Trinity Plantation. Records, 1903-1913. 3 ms. vols. Location: L:6. Sugar plantation near Rosedale, Iberville Parish, Louisiana. Journals and ledger record expenses and creditors. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2653.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar

Tucker Brothers. Mortgage, 1861. 1 item. Location: Misc.: T. George Washington Tucker joined with Paschal E. Tucker and Sarah L. Tucker Douglas to form a copartnership in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, on Dec. 17, 1859. This mortgage on a sugar plantation in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, includes all plantation property and buildings, including fifty-five slaves who are listed by name and age.  Mss. 5254.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Business, African Americans

Turnbull, Daniel Family Papers, 1803-1913. (bulk 1832-1871). 74 items. Location: C:96. Daniel Turnbull was a sugar and cotton planter and founder of Rosedown Plantation in West Feliciana Parish. The collection contains correspondence, legal papers, and financial records of the Turnbull family, including Turnbull's daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and James P. Bowman, and concern the operation of family plantations Rosedown and Bayou Grosse Tete, as well as to the family's experiences during the Civil War, the destruction of DeSoto Plantation, and Turnbull's war claims. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4973.

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

Turnbull-Allain Family Papers, 1784-1941 (bulk 1820-1890). 15 linear ft. Location: C:98-112, OS:T, 99:T. The Turnbull and Allain families were cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana, West Baton Rouge, and Iberville parishes, Louisiana. Papers include correspondence, legal and financial documents, and plantation records. Included are a large number of Braille writings of Helene Allain, some written while she studied and taught at the Louisiana Institute for the Blind in Baton Rouge. Plantation papers include lists of slaves and laborers. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 19-34. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4261.

Turnbull-Bowman family. Papers, 1771-1956 (bulk 1795-1910). 8 microfilm reels; 5.5 linear ft. Location: MSS.MF:T; X:19-23; OS:T. The Turnbull and Bowman families were cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Financial papers, correspondence, legal documents, personal papers, sheet music, printed items, and photographs of members of the Turnbull and Bowman families, cotton and sugar planters of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Some papers of the related Pirrie and Gray families are included. Early documents reflect involvement of members of the Turnbull family in the fur trade in colonial Louisiana. Most papers reflect planting activities. Papers also include the sermons of William R. Bowman (1800-1835), rector of Grace Episcopal Church in St. Francisville. Some items in Spanish and French. Mss. 4452.

Turnbull-Bowman-Lyons Family Papers, 1797-1955 (bulk 1820-1910). 3.5 linear ft. Location: C:113-115, OS:T. Sugar and cotton planters with properties in West Feliciana Parish, Iberville Parish, Pointe Coupee Parish, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Correspondence, plantation management papers, financial papers, legal documents, personal papers, and printed and graphic materials documenting the lives of members of the Turnbull, Pirrie, Lyons, Bowman, Barrow, Stirling, and Fort families. Correspondence discusses plantation, slave, financial, and social matters, and includes antebellum letters. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 34-38. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4026.

Uncle Sam Plantation papers, 1805-1914 (bulk 1880-1911). 12.5 linear feet, 183 volumes, 6 microfilm reels. Location: UU:217-228, P:11-13, OS:U, MSS.MF:U. Plantation built by Samuel Fagot of St. James Parish, Louisiana, in the 1840s; it produced sugar cane and was known as Constancia Plantation prior to 1864. The plantation store operated circa 1875-1914. Collection includes business records, correspondence, slave and free labor records, and plantation store records and scrip. Later papers include payroll accounts and labor statistics for Cypress Knee Plantation. Some correspondence in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 408, 602, 1252.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Business, African Americans

Viosca, Percy, Jr. Photograph collection, circa 1920-1960. 904 black and white negatives; 782 gelatin silver prints; 259 resin coated paper prints. Location: 145:56-57. While employed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Percy Viosca documented the coastal Louisiana landscape between 1921 and 1932. He traveled the state for his work that included mosquito control; riparian and marshland studies; flood control; taxonomic work with native Louisiana irises, newts, and snakes; culture of crawfish; and environmental impact of oil refinery practices. The images in this collection document locations on or near the Louisiana coast and a few sites inland. All images refer to water quality, water control, or environmental conditions affecting water quality. Mss. 4948.

Wailes, Levin, 1768-1847, Letter, 1812 Feb. 25. 1 item. Location: Misc.:W. Register of the Land Office of the United States, Territory of Orleans (1810-1822). Letter to U.S. Representative William W. Bibb [Georgia], written from Opelousas, Louisiana, discusses an inexpensive and successful method of raising and processing sugar then being employed in the Bayou Teche-Attakapas region of Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2946.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Politics

Wartelle, Pierre Gabriel,1787-1869. Family Papers, 1811-1976. 2 linear ft., 10 v. Location: UU:322-323, OS:W, O:62-63. French ex-patriate, New Orleans businessman, and sugar and cotton planter of St. Landry Parish, La. Collection consists of legal documents, account books, correspondence, printed material and personal papers that pertain to the business interests, plantation operations, and history of the Wartelle Family and Moundville Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 5025.