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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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.

Waters, Robert H. Papers, 1861-1880. 38 items. Location: Misc. Robert H. Waters was a businessman of Boston, Mass., having interests in the firms of Felton & Waters, R.H. Waters & Co., and the Bay State Sugar Refinery. These records primarily concern his association with John F. Banchor and Abigail P. Banchor, as well as other business affairs. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4245.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Business

Webre-LeBlanc Family Papers, 1820-1986 (bulk 1912-1936). 0.5 linear ft. Location: 40. The Webre and LeBlanc family members owned and operated many plantations and general stores in south Louisiana. The Desire LeBlanc Plantation was known for producing perique tobacco, and his daughter Alcidie was a sugar farmer with her husband Louis S. Webre. Edward C. Webre was one of the first graduates of the Audubon Sugar Institute, and Frank Sevin worked for the Webre-Steib Co. Ltd. which operated the Golden Ridge Plantation. The Webre-LeBlanc Family Papers consist of correspondence, receipts, photos, ledgers, and genealogy information. These papers document the Webre-LeBlanc family ties and business interactions from 1820 to 1968. Mss. 4145.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Business