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Helluin (Pierre F.) Papers

(Mss. 4649)


Summary

Biographical/Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

Letter Summaries

Summary

Size: 1 volume.

Geographic locations: Louisiana; France.

Inclusive dates: 1838-1995.

Bulk dates: 1838-1855.

Languages: English; French.

Summary: Letters written from Napoleonville, La. by Pierre Firmin Helluin to his nephew Louis Helluin in France between 1838-1855 reflect the personal and economic life of Helluin's family in Louisiana. Letters are transcribed in English and in French, and the originals were photocopied. The volume also contains genealogical information written by descendant George Pugh and church records from the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

Biographical/Historical Note

Pierre Firmin Helluin, born in Franqueville, Department of Somme, France, established himself in Napoleonville, Louisiana in 1820. By 1838, he owned land and a commerce store. In 1829, he married Marie Antoinette Virginie Hickman (1815-1850) with whom he had thirteen children. Seven children survived infancy.

Scope and Content Note

The letters of Pierre Firmin Helluin are written primarily to his nephew in France, and the manuscript volume contains one letter to his brother also living in France. The letters pertain to family news of births and deaths, but also reflect the social and economic climate of Louisiana during the period, including comments on impending bank crises, economic development in Napoleonville, education in Louisiana, and American medicine. The volume consists of a genealogical and explanatory note by descendant George Pugh, typescript transcriptions in French and English, manuscript transcriptions in French, photocopies of the original letters and information from the Diocese of Baton Rouge Church Records.

Letter Summaries

  • Pierre Firmin Helluin to Louis Helluin, 12 July 1838. Letter discusses Paris at the height of Napoleon; the Parisian National Guard; the purchase of land near Napoleonville; investment plans; and a friend in Paris.
  • Pierre Firmin Helluin to Louis Helluin, 26 December 1840. Letter discusses an offer for Louis to replace Pierre's brother-in-law in his business; advice to stay in Paris; living "like bears" in Louisiana.
  • Pierre Firmin Helluin to Louis Helluin, 20 June 1842. Letter discusses a business drought and Pierre's financial difficulties; New Orleans uprising against paper money; and impending bank crisis.
  • Pierre Firmin Helluin to Louis Helluin, 21 December 1846. Letter discusses Louis's marriage; Pierre's business failure; high cost of education; and boarding school curriculum.
  • Pierre Firmin Helluin to brother, 23 June 1847. Letter discusses death of Louis's child; infant mortality in Pierre's family; croup; Louisiana agriculture; and trade on the Mississippi River.
  • Pierre Firmin Helluin to Louis Helluin, 8 February 1850. Letter concerns the death of Pierre's wife; ignorance of American doctors and limitations of American science; obituary in local gazette; and surviving children left for him to raise.
  • Pierre Firmin Helluin to Louis Helluin, 30 October 1851. Letter discusses the death of Louis's father-in-law; the closing and sales of Pierre's business and properties; marriage of eldest daughter and subsequent move to St. Charles Parish.
  • Pierre Firmin Helluin to Louis Helluin, 26 June 1855. Letter discusses grandchildren; marriage of youngest daughter; children's education; limits of American education; Creole attitudes towards education; and the "primitive stage" America was in.