Manuscript Resources on Women's History

This guide describes manuscript collections documenting women's history in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections at LSU. It includes the papers of women, women's organizations, family papers with significant bodies of women's papers in them, and other collections that document women's history in one way or another.

LSU is fortunate because it collected women's papers very early, perhaps without systematically trying to do so. Women's voices, often buried in plantation collections and Civil War papers, have emerged from obscurity only in recent decades. Researchers coming to LSU can study the letters and diaries of plantation mistresses and teachers, the papers of women writers, and the papers of black women, among other sources. A number of our women's collections have been recently microfilmed by University Publications of America in its series on Southern Women and their Families, making these collections more widely accessible. 

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Bussie, Fran. Papers, 1972-2013 (bulk 1975-1997). 0.25 linear ft. Location: X:79, OS:B. Frances “Fran” Martinez Bussie was born on May 6, 1935, in New Orleans, Louisiana, lived most of her life in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was a lobbyist for women’s, disabled, and aging rights. The collection consists of correspondence, photographs, awards, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera documenting primarily her political life and achievements. Mss. 5235.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Women, Education, Baton Rouge

Butler family. Papers, 1663-1950 (bulk 1813-1915). 16.5 linear ft. Location: S:2-S:11, OS:B, 65:, Vault:2. Cotton and sugar planters in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Papers include letters, personal papers, financial and legal documents, photographs, and printed items. Papers discuss the Civil War; plantation life; Thomas Butler's judicial and political career; and antebellum life in the Gulf South states. Included is correspondence from prominent Louisiana residents and others. Letters from Anna Butler who lived in the White House (1849-1850) Collection also contains manuscript and published music, including the music of John Thuer. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 5, Reels 13-27. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893, 965, 1026, 1076, 1217, 1240, 1309, 1353, 1381, 1640, 1649, 1913, 1938.

Butler, Anna and Sarah. Correspondence, 1838-1861. 1.5 linear ft. Location: S:23. Anna and Sarah Jane Duncan Butler were the daughters of Louisiana Judge Thomas Butler and Ann Butler. They lived at The Cottage in West Feliciana Parish near St. Francisville. Letters from friends and family reflect the social life and customs of antebellum Louisiana. Letters written by Anna and Sarah from home and during travels chronicle their social and private lives, describe local activities, and allude to national events. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 5, Reel 1. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 581.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

Butler, Edward. Family Papers, 1809-1950 (bulk 1904-1945). 10 linear ft. Location: U:282-290, M:19, OS:B. Cotton planter of West Feliciana Parish, La. Correspondence, personal papers, business records, printed material, and photographs reflect the personal activities and plantation operations of the Butler and related Mathews families, with a focus on Edward Butler and his immediate family. Noteworthy are two letters discussing a sick slave (Dec. 29, 1817) and runaway slaves (Aug. 15, 1835). Letters also discuss student life, World War II experiences, and yellow fever in New Orleans (Aug.-Oct. 1837). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4315.

Butler, Louise. Papers, 1892-1950. 2.25 linear ft., 1 volume. Location: S:17-19, OS:B. Granddaughter of Judge Thomas Butler of The Cottage, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Writings consist of poetry, short stories, and historical sketches of West Feliciana Parish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 51, 523, 1069.

Butler, Margaret, 1821-1890. Correspondence, 1847-1880. .5 linear ft. Location: S:24. Daughter of Louisiana judge Thomas Butler and Ann Ellis Butler. She lived at the Cottage in West Feliciana Parish near St. Francisville. The Butlers were sugar and cotton planters. Letters from family and friends reflect the life of the Butler family in the antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction periods. Antebellum letters depict plantation life and religious life in the Episcopal church. Several family members served in the Confederate army and corresponded with Margaret, describing the life of army personnel. Later letters illustrate social and economic conditions after the war. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 5, Reel 2. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1068.

Bynum Family. Papers, 1814-1969 (bulk: 1913-1969). 1 linear foot, 26 v. Location: E:103-105, OS:B. Residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Papers contain correspondence, writings, diaries, financial records, and printed material, relating to family matters, social activities, World Wars I and II, Louisiana State University student life, and local and state government. There is also a scrapbook of the Female Orphan Association of Baton Rouge (1848-1861). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3104, 3174.

Byrd, Winnie Evans, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1993. 2 sound cassettes (2 hours), transcript (77 p.), index (19 p.). Location: L:4700.0302. LSU alumnae; member and officer of Delta Delta Delta sorority. Byrd discusses her decision to become a teacher and her experiences as a student at LSU, including her involvement in student politics; the impact of WWII on the student body; ROTC parades; graduation in the Greek Theater; involvement with Tri-Delta alumnae; and T. Harry Williams, Professor of History at LSU. Byrd also discusses the University's decision to allow the construction of sorority houses and describes each step in the construction process of the Tri-Delta sorority house. She also gives her views on the role of sororities in the 1990s and impressions of LSU. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0302.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Education, LSU

Caffery, Donelson, 1835-1906. Family letters, circa 1879, 1897. 2 letters. Location: Misc. Donelson Caffery was a planter in St. Mary Parish, La., state senator for St. Mary Parish (1892-1894), and U.S. senator from Louisiana (1893-1901). Letters recount recent developments in the Caffery family (circa 1879) and Donelson Caffery's paternal family history (1897). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4268.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Plantations, Women

Caldwell workbook, 1966. 1 item (229 sheets) mimeographed. Location: B:14. Workbook compiled by Mrs. John Q. Anderson. A first (or rough) draft of the compiler's notes, with index, dealing with the Caldwell lineage. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2214.

Referenced in Guides: Women

Cameron, Giulia Valda. Letters, 1891. 3 items. Location: Misc. Concert singer. Letters by Alfred Mapleson, of A. Mapleson and C. Siecinoski's Operatic and Concert Agency, London, apparently an agent for Giulia Valda Cameron. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1541.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women

Campbell, Zoe J. Diaries, 1856-1866. 5 items; 10 volumes. Location: P:1, Misc: C. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reels 4-5. Resident of New Orleans; daughter of James and Zoe Lambert Campbell and sister of Lambert Campbell, a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. Diaries document expenses, condolence visits, and piano lessons. Beginning in May 1861, they deal with the Civil War, including events in occupied New Orleans. Papers also include a funeral announcement for Campbell and a personal letter. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1274.

Cannon, Andrew and family Papers, 1829-1868, undated (1850-1862). 110 items. Location 11:15, OS:C. Andrew Jerome Cannon family of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, employee at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. Correspondence related to professional, personal business, and family life in Baton Rouge, as well as the Civil War. Financial papers consisting of bills, invoices, promissory notes, and receipts are also present. For further information, see online catalog, Mss. 4979.

Capell, Eli J. (Eli Jackson), 1814-1888. Family Papers, 1840-1932 (bulk 1886-1900). 1.3 linear ft., 16 v. Location: E:47-48, F:11, OS:C, Mss.Mf:C. Planter of Pleasant Hill Plantation, Amite County, Mississippi. Capell also operated a store near Rose Hill, Mississippi. Correspondence and business records of the Capell family and related Crawford family. Business, plantation, and legal papers include letters, accounts, and invoices with cotton factors and memorandum books of cotton and merchandise sold; labor contracts and laborersÆ record book; land deeds; and records from the Rose Hill store. Family correspondence from Crawford relatives (1880-1899) relates geographic, economic, race relations, health, and social conditions in parts of Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Montana, and letters to Capell daughters concern news of friends, personal relationships, and social activities (1865-1879). Available (with some omissions) on microfilm: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 4, Reels 3-5. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 674.

Carey, Cora E. and family. Papers, 1866-1971 (bulk 1866-1909). 0.3 linear feet; 2 volumes. Location: W:33, Vault:1, OS:C. Journalist and organizer of Southern Women's Literary Clubs, of Holly Springs, Mississippi; creator of the 'Mr. Punch' column in the New Orleans Times-Democrat. Papers include correspondence about Mississippi and Louisiana women's clubs; and items from Longfellow, George Washington Cable, and Francis Willard. Later family correspondence includes that of Hamilton F. Richardson, tennis star. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reels 33. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2987.

Referenced in Guides: Women, New Orleans 1866-, Literature

Carman, Juliette. Letter, ca. 1880. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Stonewall, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. Letter from Carman to a friend living in Kansas relating information concerning the proposed consecration of the recently completed Protestant Episcopal Church near Stonewall and camp meetings organized by John Nelson, minister of the Methodist Church. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1088.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women

Carmouche, Annie Jeter. Papers, 1853-1964. 0.3 linear ft. Location: W:18, H:24, VAULT:6. Annie Jeter Carmouche spent her childhood in Virginia and New Orleans and lived in Saint Landry and Bossier Parishes, Louisiana, during and after the Civil War. She married Emile A. Carmouche. Collection includes family letters, papers, and tablets containing Carmouche's memoirs. Correspondence relates to social life, the Civil War, and family events. The memoirs recall Carmouche's childhood, the Civil War, and the postwar period. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 5. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2878.

Carpenter, George H., 1849-1892. Family Papers, 1806, 1835-1964 (bulk 1844-1899). 2.6 linear ft., 21 mss. vols., 84 printed vols. Location: A:28-31, OS:C. Dentist who resided with his family in Slaughter and Clinton, East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Family papers also contain items of Carpenter's father-in-law, John Y. East, and his family. Among these papers are family letters, including the John A. Collins family; legal and business papers of John East; poetry; sermons; and biographical writings. Printed material consists of newspapers clippings; maps; Colt historical prints; political handbills; Huey P. Long political broadsides (1930); and various books. Volumes include items of Mary East. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2317.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Politics, Women, Medicine, Literature

Carruth, Elizabeth. Papers, 1848-1871. 15 items. Location: E:4. Elizabeth and Jesse L. Carruth lived in Saint Helena Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes a parish tax receipt, notes signed by Jesse Carruth, and letters (1860-1870) to Elizabeth Carruth from relatives and friends in Jasper County, Texas, concerning personal news, crop conditions, and social conditions. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 5. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 714.

Referenced in Guides: Women

Causey, R. J. Correspondence, 1863. 4 items. Location: Misc:C. Letters from Causey's wife comment on a riot near Tickfaw involving African Americans, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana; Confederate farm taxes; and transportation difficulties of sending cotton to Baton Rouge. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2133.

Cavalleria rusticana opera scrapbook, circa 1936-1937. 1 volume. Location: T:98. Contains a program for the opera Cavalleria rusticana and a recital of modern dance, performed during the 1936-1937 Louisiana State University Opera Season by the School of Music and the Dance Center, sponsored by The Baton Rouge Grand Opera Association. Scrapbook also contains black and white photographic prints (portraits) of the opera's cast, including Marcella Uhl as Lola. Mss. 5380.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Cazayoux Family Papers, 1929-1999 (bulk 1939-1979). 1.3 linear ft., 7 v. Location: UU:289-291, J:24, OS:C. Catholic family of Baton Rouge, La., includes Rev. Clair Cazayoux, a Jesuit priest, teacher and, and missionary; Gene Cazayoux, Catholic brother; librarian Vivian Cazayoux; and Drs. Francis and Robert Cazayoux. Papers consist of correspondence, sermons, church publications, travel pamphlets, speeches, and scrapbooks, reflecting careers, education, and the Catholic Church. Collection also offers insight into the political events and social conditions in Ceylon and India, and the U.S. military involvement in Korea during the 1950s and early 1960s. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4827.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, Education, Baton Rouge

Chaffraix, D. A., Mrs. Papers, 1892-1904 (bulk 1899). 18 items, 5 ms. vols. Location: O:4, Misc:C. Social and civic leader in New Orleans. Chaffraix was associated with the Chinchuba Deaf-Mute Institute near Mandeville, Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Papers include record books related to benefit performances at the institute. Included are broadsides of the Protestant Episcopal Children's Home and the Chinchuba Deaf-Mute Institute (1899). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1249, 1258.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, New Orleans 1866-, Education

Chalmers, James R. (James Ronald), 1831-1898. Letter, 1861 [sic.1862] January 3. 1 item. Location: Misc:C. Confederate general and United States congressman. Letter to Major General Braxton Bragg written while Chalmers was a colonel in the 9th Mississippi Regiment acknowledges on behalf of the officers of the unit receipt of a barrel of golden syrup from Mrs. Bragg. Available on microfilm 5735: University Publications of America Confederate Military Manuscripts Series B, Reel 3. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2699.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War

Chalmette, Azelie Delino, de. Azelie Delino and Ignacio Delino de Chalmette Papers, 1801-1952 (bulk 1823-1852). 47 items. Location: E:52. Plantation owners of New Orleans. Most of the collection consists of correspondence and other papers of Azelie Delino de Chalmette. Included are letters from family members, F. Godefroy of the West Indies, the Delahoussaye family, Jean Saint-Avid of Paris, and M. Cruzat of New Orleans. Letters from Ignacio Delino de Chalmette written to John Forbes & Company of Mobile, Alabama, concern Bernard de Marigny's involvement with the company. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1245.

Champion, E.W. Letter, 1838 Jan. 1 Location: Misc.: C. In her letter to friends and family in West Springfield, Mass., E.W. Champion describes social activities in Savannah, criticizes Abolitionists and remarks on the death of Elijah Lovejoy. She comments on Southern food and weather, and relates news of family members in Savannah and New England. Mss. 3964.

Referenced in Guides: Women

Chandler, John Benjamin. Petition, 1849. 1 item. Location: Misc.:C.  A printed petition submitted to the First District Court of New Orleans on behalf of John Benjamin Chandler, the son and heir of Rachel Bannister. In his petition, Chandler claims Joseph Landis, the executor of the estate sold his inheritance of property and slaves in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, and misused of the proceeds. Mss. 5282.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Women

Chelette, Atala. Family Papers, 1819-1919 (bulk 1841-1899). 160 items. Location: B:18. Family of free people of color of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. A woman named Angélique, her children Pierre Edmond and Louis Onsime, Mary Athalie Joson (also called Josin), L. Martin Joson, and Joseph and Marie Rosalie Perot were free people of color associated with the Chelette family. Includes a true copy of the act of manumission for Angélique, described as a mulatto woman, by Louis Fort and his will, personal papers of Joseph Perot, a free man of color, and personal and business papers of Emanuel and Atala Chelette. Also includes letters from family members that moved to Texas. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 6. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 979.

Referenced in Guides: Women, African Americans

Chemin, Camille. Letter, 1938. 2 items. Location: Misc. French author and resident of Paris, France. Letter and calling card from Camille Ce [pseudonym]. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 965.

Referenced in Guides: Women, French, Literature

Chenel, Louis E. and family. Papers, 1665-1989. 15 linear ft. Location: 95:, OS:C. Chenel farmed tung trees and raised cattle in Covington, Louisiana; invested in property in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana; and formed LEC Inc. to manage his business concerns. His daughter, Denise Chenel Vallon, was involved in running LEC Inc. Papers document the lives and business concerns of the Chenel family and the artistic career of Denise Chenel Vallon. Unproc. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4631.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Business

Chinn, Jane McCausland. Civil War reminiscence, 1863. 1 item [16 pages, typescript copy]. Location: Misc. Mistress of Fair Oaks Plantation, West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, and widow of Cabell Breckinridge Chinn. Reminiscences taken from her diary record encounters with Union soldiers and the burning of grain stores. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2647.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Civil War

Civil War New Orleans orphanages receipts, 1863. 2 items. Location: Misc:C. Handwritten receipts of payment from the U.S. Army, Department of the Gulf, to the Female Orphan Asylum and St. Vincent's Infant Asylum, two orphanages run by the Catholic Church in New Orleans. The items reflect the nature of interaction between Federal occupation forces and the local population. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3913.

Civil War quartermaster receipt, 1863 September 3. 1 item. Location: Misc.C. Quartermaster receipt for purchase of materials for the Female Orphan Asylum in New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3365.

Clapp, Thomas. Document, 1841.1 item. Location: Misc. Certification by the recorder of mortgages for New Orleans that there is no mortgage in Clapp's name recorded against a African American woman named Maria. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 72.

Clark, Charles and family. Papers, 1829-1973 (bulk 1851-1936). 1.1 linear ft. Location: UU:254, 65:2, OS:C. Judge of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California; married to Emma Fowler of New Orleans, Louisiana. Papers of the related Fowler, Nutt, Macbeth, and Clark families. They consist of personal and family correspondence, legal papers of Nathaniel W. Fowler and John Slidell, writings, photographs, printed items, ephemera, and the travel journal of Charles Clark. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3982.

Clark, Gladys, b. 1918. Papers, circa 1890-2004 (bulk 1940-1997). 0.75 linear ft. Location: 128:. An accomplished spinner and weaver in the Acadian tradition, Clark received numerous awards during her career. The collection includes correspondence, photographs, and printed materials that document her artistic works and awards received, including a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1997. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4953.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Acadiana, French

Clifton, Elizabeth. Negroes' account for cotton, 1840 March 16. 1 item. Location: Misc:C. Document drawn up by John Bell, acting Justice of the Peace, Dallas County, Alabama, on behalf of Elizabeth Clifton listing names and money paid to African Americans by the estate of William C. Clifton for cotton raised on their own 'patches'. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3666.

Referenced in Guides: Women, African Americans

Coco family. Papers, circa 1885-2009 (bulk 1964-2008). 12 linear ft., 1 compact disc. Location: AA:, OS:C, X:4-13. Residents of Mansura, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. Materials include personal and professional correspondence, printed items, personal papers, recordings (available for access on compact disc), and photographic items. Personal correspondence pertains primarily to the lives of Merlin, Lucy, Greg, and Linda. Major topics include family life and local matters in Mansura, the education of Greg and Lucy, and Greg's enlistment in the U.S. Army and activities in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Professional correspondence documents mostly Greg's career as a park ranger in Gettysburg. Printed items, personal papers, and photographic items pertain chiefly to Coco family history and the lives of the aforementioned Coco family members. Recordings were created by Greg while in Vietnam and document his experiences there. Mss. 5019.

Cohn, Margie de Bretton and Family. Papers, 1945-1982, undated (bulk 1945-1968). 1 linear foot. Location: E:122. Primarily papers of Maggie deBretton Cohn and daughter Margie, both of Baker, La. Includes writings, correspondence, and miscellaneous files related to Maggie deBretton Cohn's writing, and Margie deBretton Cohn's English translation of an 1828 German text describing travelling through the Mississippi River Valley. Letters to Margie while a student at LSU are included, as well as religious writings by other family members and items related to the family's 1964 donation of the Laurens Henry Cohn Sr. Memorial Plant Arboretum to the Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 4472.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, Baton Rouge, LSU, Literature

Colbert, Elenor Robinson, 1940-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1993. 1 sound cassette (45 minutes), Index (2 pages). Location: L:4700.222. Resident of Four Corners, an unincorporated community south of Franklin, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. Colbert's great-grandmother was a slave. Colbert describes working in cane fields as a child; customs of family gatherings, the burial of umbilical cords of newborns, and cutting hair on Good Friday; the challenges of plantation life; christening and baptism traditions; and natural remedies. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.222.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, African Americans, Medicine