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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Colonial Dames of XVII Century: The Louisiana Society, Isaac Monet Chapter. Records, 1952-1992. 14 items, 15 volumes. Location: Misc:C, 7:25-27. Scrapbooks containing programs, publicity, photographs, and other items pertaining to the Isaac Monet Chapter, as well as some materials relating to the national organization. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3748.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge

Colwick, Kathleen Williams. Family papers, 1843-2006 (bulk 1928-1965). 1 linear foot, 13 volumes. Location: 8:64-65, OS:C. Graduate of Mansfield Female College. Papers include scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, genealogical records, and personal correspondence related to Colwick's time at Mansfield Female College and the Williams family. Also included are business records related to the family's gift store, The Bride's shop, where Colwick also worked. Mss. 5035.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Education, Business

Common Cause Louisiana Records, 1972-1991 (bulk: 1980-1990). 24.0 linear ft. Location: IMCCL. Consists of administrative and subject files for local and regional branches of a national citizen advocacy organization. Includes correspondence, newsletters, reports, printed materials, ephemera, and other records documenting group structure and activities. Records address political issues such as campaign finance reform, civil rights, nuclear disarmament, fair elections, wasteful government spending, and official corruption. For additional information, see online catalog. Mss. 4469.

Compton, Mary E. Family papers, 1858-1955 (bulk 1858-1888). 26 items, 2 v. on one microfilm reel. Location: Mss.Mf:C, C:72. Wife of George W. Compton, a planter of Walnut Grove Plantation near Cheneyville, Louisiana. Letters of Capt. Henry E. Handerson, 9th Louisiana, relate to life at Camp Bienville and the Battle of Manassas. Compton's diary documents wartime operation of the plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1299.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

Conner, Lemuel Parker and family Papers, 1810-1953, 1985 (bulk 1850-1940). 12.5 linear feet and 28 volumes. Location: AA:, A:106-117, 120-121, 98:C, OS:C, 65: Vault:34, J:24. Planter from Natchez, Mississippi. Papers include correspondence, cotton statements, legal and business papers (including slave testimony in an alleged slave uprising, 1861), plantation records, and Civil War papers of Confederate soldiers and civilians, family letters from LSU and Smith College, and First Presbyterian Church (Natchez) records. Also included are papers of Levin R. Marshall, the Sessions family, and Henry R. Chotard; 256 pieces of published sheet music (1824-1883); a minstrel show program (1879); and miscellaneous programs of Natchez concerts and music recitals. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 3, Reels 14-18. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 81, 1403, 1431, 1475, 1551, 1595, 1710, 1793, 1859, 1934, 1999.

Conner, Mary Macrery Britton. Scrapbook, 1825-1904. 1 volume. Location: O:21. Scrapbook created by Mary Macrery Britton Conner, daughter of Eliza Macrery and Audley Clark Britton and wife of Lemuel P. Conner, Jr. Scrapbook contains drawings and fabric swatches, including pieces of fabric from her own trousseau and from that of her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Frances Turner Conner. Mss. 5320.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Natchez, Mississippi

Corbin, Robert A., d. 1906. Papers, 1835-1917 (bulk 1870-1898). 1,202 items; 10 vols. Location: E:8-9. Land speculator and businessman of Louisville, Kentucky, New Orleans, and Hammond, Louisiana. Collection includes land sale and business papers. Civil War-era papers deal with Kentucky claims against the federal government. Post-1870 papers with business partnerships with Lucy I. Burgess, including purchase of the Melrose Dairy in New Orleans. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reels 6-8. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 705.

Cordier, Marie Noel. Slave Mortgage, 1858-1860. 5 items. Location: Misc.: C. Freewoman of color who resided in New Orleans, Louisiana. A mortgage and receipts (in French) concern the conveyance of slaves, and a document from the Office of Mortgages of the City of New Orleans in the Parish of Orleans (in English) states no other mortgages standing in the name of Marie Noel Cordier. Mss. 5254.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Business, African Americans, French

Cornish, Reverend John Hamilton, 1815-1878. Papers, 1855-1888. 157 items. Location: W:51. Protestant Episcopal Rector of St. Thaddeus' Church, Aiken, South Carolina. Collection includes correspondence of Cornish, his sons, his daughters, and other family members. Correspondence concerns church affairs, education of the sons at Sewanee Theological Seminary and other institutions, travel, and personal relationships. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3365.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, Education

Cotton, William Davis and Family. Papers, 1852-1989. 1 linear ft., 4 vol. Location: S:136, OS:C, H:14. Collection contains correspondence and papers belonging to the Cotton Family. This includes the Civil War correspondence of Dr. Drury P. Gibson and his sister Mary Gibson Cotton, correspondence between George Spencer Cotton and his fiancée Lizzie Davis (1888-1890), and correspondence, photographs, and printed items belonging to William Davis Cotton, attorney of Rayville, La, and former president of LSU Alumni Federation (1969-1989). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4780.

Cox, Ellen M. Collection, 1850s. 1 ms. vol. (365 pages). Location: 65:29. Bound sheet music published principally in Paris and purchased from New Orleans dealers. Includes a copy of Jerusalem composed for Louis Moreau Gottschalk and published in New York City (1855). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2384.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Performing arts, Women

Crawford, David d. 1834. Letters, 1834 [183?]. 2 items. Location: Misc:C. Lawyer of Mobile and Mount Pleasant, Alabama. Letters written to his wife and mother discuss his poor state of health; his commitment to his profession; and the behavior of slaves, particularly the misconduct of a female slave resulting in the need to dispose of her. Also included are bank records of the Bank of Mobile falsified in order to cover an accounting error. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3666.

Referenced in Guides: Women, African Americans

Crawford, Octavia J. Herbarium volume, 1844-1845. 1 volume. Location: M:13. Volume contains copied poems and scientific and historical notes on selected flora from Jackson, Louisiana. There are entries (usually identifying genus, class, and order) for varieties of rose, hollyhock, butterfly weed, narcissus, catkin, nettle, daffodil, larkspur, tomato leaf, acerose leaves, hawthorn, muscadine leaf, and gum leaf. Also included in many of the volume's entries are pressed flowers and dried botanical specimens that Octavia J. Crawford collected. Mss. 5354.

Referenced in Guides: Women

Crean, Mary Walsingham. Manuscript, circa 1881-1885. 1 item. Location: Misc.:C. Manuscript by Mary Walsingham Crean titled, 'Is he Knave or Fool--this Mr. Wilde?' For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 244.

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

Creighton, M. G. Letter, 1837. 1 item. Location: Misc.:C. Family letter from M.G. Creighton of New Orleans, La., to her aunt in Philadelphia, Pa. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1399.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Women

Crosby, Dixie Hammond. Family Papers, 1890-1992 (bulk: 1937-1965). 159 items, 3 v. Location: 34:, OS:C. Family papers of Mack Gerald Crosby, Dixie Lillie Myrtle Hammond Crosby, and their daughter Dixie Lee "Dee" Crosby Brown. Mack Crosby and Dixie Hammond were both from Baton Rouge, La. and attended Louisiana State University in the 1930?s. Mack Crosby served in the United States Air Force for over thirty years. This collection includes correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, and, newspaper clippings relating to family affairs, work, and military service. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4805.

Crump, Anna. Record book, 1931-1955. 1 volume. Location: H:25. Resident of Haynesville, Louisiana. Record book contains monthly expenses including phone, light, and water bills; payments for groceries and chicken feed; tax payments on her properties; and regular purchases of the Haynesville News. Crump logged her income each month consisting of lease and royalty checks from the United Gas Co., Pure Oil Co., Ashland Oil Co., Sohio Oil Co., and Sun Oil Co.; sales of butter, eggs, berries, and figs; government subsidy checks for cotton production; rent from boarders and tenant farmers for her "home place" and the "McLeod place"; and timber and cotton sales. In journal entries, she also wrote notes on the oil exploration on her properties, trips to Shreveport for personal medical examinations, and her gifts and tithes to the Presbyterian Church. Crump noted the birthdays and ages of Clinton and Dorris Crump, without explicitly mentioning whether these were her children. Mss. 4970.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women

Daine, Marie J. F. R. Judgment, 1829. 2 items. Location: Misc.:D. New Orleans Parish Court judgment and receipt for court costs in favor of petitioner, Marie Jacqueline Feliciana Rigaud, versus her lawful husband, J. B. Daine, for desertion and permission to contract another marriage. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1147.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Women

Dalrymple, C. G. Letter, 1847 June 5. 1 item. Location: Misc:D. Resident of Monroe County, Mississippi, and the wife of a cotton plantation overseer. Letter to Dalrymple's brother and sister in North Carolina describing her life on a small cotton plantation, land settlement in the area, the activities of family members, local attitudes towards violence, and her psychological state. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2966.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women

Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948. Papers, 1917-1936. 4 items. Location: Misc:D. A U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Ambassador to Mexico, and editor of the Raleigh, North Carolina newspaper, News and Observer. Letters describe construction at the Boston Navy Yard, the American economy during WWI, Woodrow Wilson's role at the Versailles Peace Conference, Roosevelt's Agricultural Adjustment Act and its effects on farm prices and the rural economy. An excerpt of a speech by Daniels discusses the service of women during WWI. Letter relating advantages of Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Shipping Board to the conduct of the War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2389.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Women, 20th Century Wars

Dardenne, Eugenie. Land document, 1856 March 24. 1 item (4 leaves). Location: Misc:D. Land conveyance recording the sale of slaves and one-third of the ownership of Dardenne Plantation, a sugar plantation in Iberville Parish, Louisiana. The sale was made to John A. Dardenne. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

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

Dart, Elisabeth K. (Elizabeth Kilbourne). Collection, 1774-2005. 5.5 linear feet. Location: 121:8-10, OS:D, Vault:5. Resident and local historian in St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Wrote about West Feliciana subjects including the Railroad, biographies of notable figures, and tours for Grace Cemetery. Collection contains manuscript and research materials used for exhibits, lectures, tours, and writing on West Feliciana Parish. Manuscripts include deeds, correspondence, accounting records, legal papers, court cases, and receipts. Other records include published materials, copies of original materials, scrapbooks, photographs, notes, and exhibit text. Mss. 5023.

Daughters of the American Revolution. Baton Rouge Chapter. Records, 1931-1985. 10 vols. Location: 53:. Scrapbook volumes contain publicity and business records, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, programs, and other printed items. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4086.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge

Davion, Marguerite Cloutier. Document, 1824. 1 item. Location: Misc. Resident of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Act of cession in the succession proceedings of Marguerite Cloutier Davion. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 849.

Referenced in Guides: Women

Davis, Jefferson. Family correspondence collection, 1868-1907. 12 items. Location: Misc.:D, vault:1. U. S. congressman (1845-1851, 1857-1861) from Mississippi, U. S. Secretary of War (1853-1857), and president of the Confederate States of America (1861-1865). Correspondence relates to genealogy, personal affairs, and letters of recommendation for an African American coachman. Correspondents include Jefferson Davis, his wife, Varina Davis and daughter, Margaret Davis Hayes. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 250, 893.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Women, African Americans

Davis, Varina Howell. Letter, 1881 March 12. 1 item. Location: Misc.: D, Vault: 1. Wife of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America. Letter from Varina Davis to a Mr. Bigelow comments on the status of Jefferson Davis's hand injury, the attractiveness of Mississippi, and her daughter's visit. Original housed in the vault is restricted. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3929.

Referenced in Guides: Women

Davis, Varina Howell. Photograph, 1849. 1 item. Location: Vault:39. Wife of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. 1 1/6 plate studio portrait cased daguerreotype of Varina Davis, possibly taken at Natchez, Miss., circa 1949. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1678.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War

Dawson, Sarah Morgan. Letter and Photograph, 1899, undated 2 items. Location: Misc.:D. Letter from Sarah Morgan Dawson to a friend, offering the use of her library. The photograph was taken on a holiday in North Carolina in August 1899. For further information, see online. Mss. 1703.

Referenced in Guides: Women

Dawson, Sarah Morgan. Manuscripts, 1908. 2 items. Location: Misc.:D. Two manuscript narratives from an unfinished volume of Reminiscences and Miscellanies recalled by her during the last years of her life at the request of her children. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1703.

Referenced in Guides: Women

Dayries, B. E. Family correspondence, 1829-1848. 8 items. Location: Misc. Residents of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Correspondence of members of the Dayries family, principally Mrs. Dayries, from Mont-de-Marsan, capital of Landes, France. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1724.

Referenced in Guides: Women, French

De Beguer, Emma. Letter, 1869. 1 item [photostat]. Location: Misc.:D. Resident of Baton Rouge. Personal letter by Miss de Beguer to a friend. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 778.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge, French

De Grummond, Jane Lucas. Papers, 1834-1990 (bulk 1893-1990). 35 linear ft. 3 printed vols. Location: UU:172; 98; 109:40-53; O:13. Professor of Latin American history, LSU. Research materials used for the editing of the Journal of John G. A. Williamson, first diplomatic representative of the United States to Venezuela. Venezuelan newspapers, clippings, and periodicals illustrating politics and public opinion in 1958. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2463.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Women, LSU

De la Roche Family Papers, 1834-1839. 4 items. Location: Misc. Papers include an account of Pierre de la Roche with T. F. Laville, a petition to the Probate Court in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, by the widow of Pierre regarding her husband's estate, and a letter from Madame Pierre de la Roche to her attorney. Letter in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 106.

Referenced in Guides: Women, French

Depoux letter, [1834]. 1 item [typescript copy]. Location: Misc. Letter describing the circumstances of the attempted assassination of Mme. de Pontalba by her father-in-law, who in turn killed himself. Typescript of an original at Tulane University. In French, translated. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 949.

Referenced in Guides: Women, French

Derr, Lucile Elizabeth. M. A. thesis, 1927. 1 item [on microfilm]. Location: Mss. Mf.:D. Copy of Lucile Elizabeth Derr's master's thesis, "Administration of Estevan Miro, 1784-1791," (University of California Graduate School, Jan. 1927). Also included is an appendix of translations from the original Spanish documents (1781-1791). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3381.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Education

Despau, Marie S. C. Document, 1799. 1 item. Location: Misc.:D. Request of Marie Carriere Despau for separation from her husband, Guillaume Despau of Opelousas, Louisiana. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 112.

Referenced in Guides: Women, French

Devall-Hyams Family Papers and Photographs, 1824-1977 (bulk 1906-1913, 1918). 1.5 linear ft., 1 v. Location: T:31-32, J:20. Louisiana sugar planters. Collection consists of personal correspondence, legal documents, genealogies, and family photographs. Papers reflect family matters, personal activities, financial affairs, land transactions, and to a lesser extent the sugarcane crop at Orange Grove Plantation. Letters of Lillie Dickinson, Susie Devall comprise a large portion of the correspondence (1904-1913). Letters by Benjamin Devall concern military life in Georgia during World War II (1918). Photographs include an unidentified African American sugarhouse worker (undated). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4242.

Dezerie account, 1839. 1 item. Location: Misc. Receipted statement by Elizabeth A. Preston for hauling one load of plank to Grand Coteau, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, for Dezerie. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 114.

Referenced in Guides: Women

Diary, 1835-1837. 1 vol. Location: M:19. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 33. Governess from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at Belfield Plantation near Natchez. Diary records reactions to plantation life, amusements, visits to neighbors, and expressions of discontent with the South. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 533.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Natchez, Mississippi

Diary, 1899-1900. 1 vol. Location: Misc:D. Woman from Butler County, Nebraska. Diary entries discuss travel and visits in Nebraska, Illinois, and Crowley, Louisiana. She describes vegetation of Southwestern Louisiana; rice mills; social activities; revivals; and lectures. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 8. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4010.

Referenced in Guides: Women