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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Marshall, George B. (George Benoist). Family Papers, 1807-1900 (bulk 1850-1880). 0.5 linear ft. Location: B:41, J:7. Sugar and cotton planter of Crescent Plantation, Cheneyville, Rapides Parish, Louisiana, and captain in the Confederate army. Collection includes records, daybooks, bills, receipts, and other documents related to the plantation. Includes a 1866 record of fines imposed on African Americans for breaking the peace. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reels 12-13. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 969.

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

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