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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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

Weeks, David. Family Papers, 1782-1957 (bulk 1830-1870). 10,106 items, 15 vols. Location: 70, J:6, X:76, Mss. Mf.:W . The Weeks and related Conrad, Moore, and Gibson families were planters of New Iberia, Louisiana, and other areas in south Louisiana. Papers document the sugar plantation economy; cotton planting; slaves and free African American laborers; railroad building; state and national politics; education; and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Includes early papers of Charles N. Conrad, U.S. senator; political correspondence of John Moore, U.S. congressman; and a microfilmed inventory of The Shadows in New Iberia. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution to the Civil War, Series I, Part 6, Reels 1-20. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 528, 605.

West Indies land and property records, 1798-1883. 14 items. Location: Map Cage: Map Case 14, Drawers 5-6. Selected public documents reflecting land tenure mainly in the Parish of Vere, Jamaica, principally for George Radcliff, a sugar planter (1809-1839). Other documents pertain to lands in the West Indies and include a conveyance (1798) for the sale of a plantation, slaves, and livestock on the island of Antigua and a mortgage and lease for two coffee plantations in the colony of Berbice, British Guiana (1813). Additionally, one item documents the surrender of the charter of the Levant Company (1825), a group of British merchants trading in the eastern Mediterranean area, particularly with Turkey. Part of the West Indies Collection. Mss. 622.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Women, Business

Whipple, William. Papers, 1794-1958 (bulk 1920-1958). 2.25 linear ft., 15 volumes. Location: R:3-4, OS:W. Sugar technologist and professor of steam engineering at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. Printed material, which comprises the majority of this collection, correspondence, photographs, and records of the Cinclare Center (sugar) Factory of West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Printed items relate to cotton production, sugar manufacturing, the sugar industry, engineering, and the U.S Military. Photographs include images of sugar mills, travel to Cuba, the Panama Canal, and the Mississippi River floods of 1912 and 1927. Of particular interest is a picture postcard of an African-American man hanging from a road sign in West Baton Rouge Parish. Mss. 1899.

White, Maunsell, ca. 1780-. Letterbook, 1845-1850. 1 ms. vol. Location: Mf.:W., Misc.:W. Sugar planter of Deer Range Plantation, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Letterbook containing family and business letters dealing with sugar planting, processing, and slavery; politics; support for a university in Louisiana; and the planning and construction of the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge. Original letterbook is located at the University of North Carolina Library. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2888.

Williams, A. M. Letter, 1847 July 21. 1 letter. Location: Misc.: W. A. Sugarcane planter of the Attakapas District, La. Charles P. Leverich was a commission merchant for Leverich & Co. of New York, N. Y. and New Orleans, La. In a letter to Charles P. Leverich, Williams discusses his sugarcane crop. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3775.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Business