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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Vincent, Thomas M. and family. Papers, 1824-1932. 1.25 linear ft. Location: W:38-39, OS:V, VAULT MRDF 6, VAULT:1. U.S. Army officer in the Seminole Wars and Civil War. Letters of Thomas M. Vincent and Laura Lancaster (1857) pertain to his military career, family matters, and the education of his son, Thomas Norris Vincent. Also includes letters of recommendation for admission to West Point, including two from William T. Sherman. Other correspondents include Julia Dent Grant and Ida Tarbell. Early papers (1824-1856) relate to Joseph B. Lancaster and the Lancaster family and reflect social events, education, and family matters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3116.

Waddill Family Papers, 1835-1994 (bulk 1861-1866). 0.5 linear ft. Location: E:18. George Daniel Waddill, a Baton Rouge druggist, was the son of Abel Waddill, Baton Rouge magistrate. George served as a hospital steward in the Civil War. Joanna Fox, later his wife, served as a nurse. Papers contain correspondence, including Civil War correspondence of George Waddill; genealogical information on the Waddill and Bessonett families; and an autograph book of Elizabeth McMichael. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4578.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War, Baton Rouge, Medicine

Wall Family. Papers, 1829-1921. 0.2 linear ft. Location: V:47. Collection is primarily correspondence between members of the Wall family of Clinton, Louisiana, particularly Mary Winans Wall and her son, Wesley Wall. Much of the correspondence relates to the family's experiences during the Civil War, including the deaths of three family members and the long imprisonment of Wesley at Camp Douglas in Chicago. Letters discuss personal news, mutual friends, daily life in Clinton, and Mary's efforts to have Wesley released during the Civil War. In addition to the correspondence, there is a school merit certificate, an essay written by Wesley, and a legal document from probate court in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, certifying that Isaac Wall is licensed to officiate marriages. Mss. 5243. 

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, Civil War, Education

Wall, Mary B. (Mary Berthelot). Papers, 1887-1990. 14 linear ft. Location: 91:23-29, OS:W. Louisiana poet, a founder of the National Federation of the State Poetry Society, and co-founder of the Louisiana State Poetry Society. Mary married Evans Spencer Wall, Jr., also a writer. Correspondence, legal and financial records, poetry, printed items, and photographs documenting Mary B. Wall's life and literary activities from 1911 to 1990. The bulk of the collection consists of Berthelot family correspondence. Also present are a few legal documents of Joseph Albert Berthelot and a family tree for the Welch family. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4438.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Literature

Ware, Eleanor Percy and Catharine Ann Warfield papers, 1835-1876 (bulk 1835-1849). 19 items, 8 volumes. Location: E:51, H:16. Eleanor Percy Lee (nee Ware), poet and novelist of Natchez, Mississippi. Her sister, father, and daughter were also authors. Writings and correspondence of Eleanor Lee include six manuscript volumes of novels, prose, and poems. Collection also includes loose poems, family photographs, and sheet music. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reels 31-32. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1416, 1576, 1971.

Warner, Thomas E. and family. Papers, 1891-1962. 0.2 linear ft.; 2 volumes; 1 microfilm reel. Location: UU:149; O:22; MSS.MF:W; 98:W; MAP CASE 2, DRAWER 14. Thomas E. Warner, Mary Henkel Warner, and family lived in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Manuscript materials include a Women's Christian Temperance Union minute book, a gas station ledger, and photographs (one of Ku Klux Klan members). Poetry, stories, and other writings about Mary Henkel Warner are available only on microfilm. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3283.

Watson, J. (Joseph). Correspondence, 1826-1846 (bulk 1826-1828). 13 items. Location: Misc.:W. Mayor of Philadelphia. Earliest correspondence (1826-1828) refers to the recovery of five free black children kidnapped in Philadelphia and sold as slaves in Louisiana and Mississippi. Other items include a letter of Clara Baxter of New Orleans proclaiming her dislike of the city. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 32. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1872.

Webb, Maria Stuart, ca. 1786-1846. Succession documents, 1846, 1848. 4 items. Location: Misc. These four documents concern the death of Maria Stuart Webb, a native of London, England, who died in Lafayette, Jefferson Parish, La., on October 25, 1846. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4346.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Women

Webb, William, Sr. Papers, 1835. 2 items. Location: Misc.:W. Resident of New Orleans, Louisiana. Mortgage of slaves of William Webb, Sr. to William Porter, to whom Webb was indebted, and certification of the mortgage by the bureau of mortgages in New Orleans. The mortgage indicates that the slaves mortgaged were Effy, aged 30, Lucinda, aged 26, and Lucinda's two children, Mississippi and Janus, aged ten and six respectively. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 443.

Weigel, Henry S. and family. Letters, 1942-1944. 1.5 linear ft. Location: 5:26. Officer in the U.S. Army Infantry Corps in World War II, and resident of Amite, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Weigel's letters pertain to his military training; his wartime service in England; the progress of the war in Europe and Africa; and reactions to the Allied invasion of France in 1944. Letters of his wife, Merle Elizabeth Morrison Weigel, concern civilian life in Amite, rationing, wartime civilian service activities, social life, and child rearing. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3012.

Referenced in Guides: Women, 20th Century Wars

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