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Subject Guides to Manuscripts in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections

Manuscript Resources on Cajun History

In 1755, a group of French-speaking people were exiled from their homeland by British military tactics in a part of Nova Scotia then known as "French Acadia". Those Acadian immigrants who relocated to Southern Louisiana adapted to the unique challenges the region provided, to become known as the "Cajuns," an ethnic and cultural group much celebrated, and sometimes misunderstood.

The collection of manuscripts pertaining to the Cajuns that may be found in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) of the LSU Libraries is varied in nature, ranging from the large group of records compiled by the Acadian Handicraft Project to a single French Acadian Music Festival program. Oral history interviews, personal papers, cartoons, photographs, scripts, and other artifacts are present in the manuscripts groups. A range of dates from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries are present (see chronological listing).

Collections in this guide are listed alphabetically, with a chronological index after the alphabetical listing. Brief descriptions include references to sources for additional information--either the LSU Libraries' catalog, which is accessible through the Internet, or the manuscript card catalog in the Special Collections reading room of Hill Memorial Library. Still additional information on some of these collections can be found in detailed finding aids in the reading room. Increasingly, electronic copies of these finding aids can be found on the World Wide Web site for Special Collections, where you can also find information about using the collections, searching the online catalog remotely, and asking us questions.

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Manuscript Resources

21 Manuscript Resources in this Subject Guide.

  • Acadian Handicraft Project. Records. 1939-1962. 19.0 linear ft. (8,658 items, 152 vols.). Location: 7:58-63, 7: 67-68. Project launched in 1942 to preserve the language and culture of the French-speaking people of Louisiana; project was suspended around 1962. Records include correspondence, promotional materials, financial records, registers, and scrapbooks, and include papers of Louise V. Oliver documenting the day-to-day operation of the project. Manuscript music and French songs are contained in a scrapbook. Songs and some correspondence in French. Mss. 1800.For Additional Information: Library Catalog Also Referenced In: French-language     Performing arts     Women    
  • Arceneaux, William. Papers, 1964-2007 (bulk 1972-2007). 15 linear feet and 20 volumes. Louisiana higher education official. Papers consist of correspondence, business papers, photographs, printed items, and scrapbooks related to the professional, civic, and personal activities of William Arceneaux. A small amount of correspondence is in French and Spanish. For further information, see online catalog Mss. 4107.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: African Americans     Baton Rouge     Business     Civil War     Education     French-language     LSU     New Orleans 1866-     Politics     Spanish-language    
  • Beauchamp, E. F. Letter, 1872 July 3. 1 letter. Location: Misc. E.F. Beauchamp writes from Vermilionville (Lafayette), La., to his brother, John A. Beauchamp, relating family matters, his uncertain plans about farming in the area, his plans for the schooling of his children, problems with his unmotivated son and spoiled daughter, and complaints about the culture of the majority French population. Mss. 3789.For Additional Information: Library Catalog Also Referenced In: None
  • Bertrand, Alvin Lee, 1918- interviewee. Oral history interview, 1995. 5 sound cassettes (7.5 hours), transcript (276 p.). Location: L:4700.0524. LSU alumnus and Boyd Professor of Sociology/Rural Sociology. Bertrand discusses growing up in rural Louisiana and the French language and Cajun culture. Bertrand also discusses loss of the small farm way of life, agricultural mores, and the impact of mechanization on rural life in Louisiana. Bertrand describes the general layout of the LSU campus in 1936, the creation of the LSU lakes, the LSU stadium, and student social activities. He comments on the many changes he witnessed while at LSU and details his long association with LSU and the Sociology Dept. He also discusses the development of rural sociology at LSU; his own involvement in international organizations; his work as an international rural sociologist; and his research and studies on health care needs. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0524.For Additional Information: Library Catalog Also Referenced In: Education     LSU     Medicine     Transportation     French-language    
  • Bertrand, Alvin Lee. Papers, 1942-1988. 1 linear ft. Location: 43:65. Author and professor of rural sociology at Louisiana State University. Includes copies, drafts, and typescripts of articles for publication; reports on rural industrialization, development, settlement, and social impact studies in Louisiana and the American South; and addresses and speeches given at sociology conferences in the United States and around the world. Mss. 4787For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: Education     LSU    
  • Breaux, John B. Papers, 1933, 1938, 1963, 1970-2004 (bulk: 1987-2004). Approx. 781 linear feet . Location: Room B6, Map Cage, Vault:54. Correspondence, briefing books, bills, reports, testimony transcripts, research files, news releases, printed materials, audio-visual and electronic files, photographs and memorabilia documenting the political and U.S. Congressional career of Louisiana Representative (1972-1986) and Senator (1987-2004) John B. Breaux, and the work of his office. In addition to Senate and House files, contains materials related to his campaigns, the Democratic Party, and the Washington Mardi Gras. Topics include, among others, flood control, abortion, transportation, energy, the environment, taxes, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and healthcare, consumer protection, wetlands conservation, base closures in Louisiana, commerce, trade, and agriculture policy, especially for sugar and rice. For additional information, see the online catalog. Mss. 4922.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: Baton Rouge     New Orleans 1866-     Business     Education     LSU     Medicine     Sugar     Transportation     Religion     Politics     20th Century Wars     African Americans     Women     French-language     Spanish-language    
  • 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. Mss. 4953.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: French-language     LSU     Women    
  • Comeaux, Louis, 1911-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1993. 1 sound cassette (45 minutes), Index (3 pages). Location: L:4700.0744. Retired sugarcane sharecropper and life-long resident of Four Corners, an unincorporated community south of Franklin, Louisiana. Recollections of Comeaux's childhood as the son of a cane farmer. He recalls his work in an Avery Island salt mine; farming as a sharecropper; the routine of sugarcane planting and harvest; cane syrup production; farm labor; and early transportation. Comeaux also recalls traditional Cajun foods including couche-couche and cracklins; the boucherie; and social conditions in Four Corners. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0744.For Additional Information: Library Catalog Also Referenced In: Sugar     Transportation    
  • Coquille, Walter, 1886-1957, Papers. 489 items, 3 audio cassette tapes, 1 printed vol. Professional radio and stage entertainer, salesman, and politician of New Orleans. Coquille was born at Smoke Band, Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Collection contains items of Coquille's career including letters, notes, scripts, stories, cartoons, photographic prints, audio cassette tapes, and printed items. Most items are related to the Cajun culture and dialect. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3094.For Additional Information: Library Catalog Also Referenced In: Politics    
  • Day, Anita G., Digital Prints. 2000. Forty (40) 5 inches X 7 inches digital prints, matted to 11 inches X 14 inches. Location: 91:3. The collection consists of 40 digital prints of images created at the 1999 Festivals Acadiens, an annual cultural event that began in 1972. The Lafayette Jaycees, along with the help of Rubber Boots, Inc., organize the principal components of Festivals Acadiens, including four separate festivals: Festival de Musique Acadienne; La Vie Cadienne Wetlands Folklife Festival; Heritage Pavilion, and; Bayou Food Festival. These festivals are held in Girard Park in Lafayette, Louisiana. The 1999 festival, during which these images were created, was held from Friday, September 17, through Sunday, September 19. These prints were part of the exhibition, "Preservation as Public Spectacle: Festivals Acadiens," displayed in Hill Memorial Library in 2000. Mss. 4993.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: French-language     Performing arts    
  • Ericson, Jean M., b. 1915. Photograph collection, circa 1890-1920. 22 copy prints. Location: 65:5. These photographs document rural and farm settings in south Louisiana and some Acadian French subjects. Mss. 3706.For Additional Information: Library Catalog Also Referenced In: None
  • Francis A. de Caro and Rosan A. Jordan, 1956-2009, undated (bulk 1966-2003) 13 linear ft. Location: 11:19, 15:15-21, OS:F. De Caro and Jordan were folklorists, authors, and Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, La.) professors. The collection includes personal and professional correspondence, writings, exhibitions, photographs, printed items consisting of brochures, handbills, newspapers, and posters; and topical files that document de Caro's folklore class at LSU, his work with the Louisiana Folklife Commission, and Jordan's work with the women's movement. Writings as well as exhibitions comprise material primarily related to folklore within Louisiana and British colonial life in India. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3197, 4089, 4164.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: African Americans     Baton Rouge     Education     LSU     Literature, Reading, and Writing     New Orleans 1866-     Performing arts     Plantations     Politics     Religion     Women    
  • La Houssaye, Sidonie de, 1821-1894. Papers, [between 1880-1894]. 21 vols. And 4 microfilm reels. Location: F:17, Mss. Mf.:L. French Louisiana author of Franklin, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. Manuscript drafts of short stories (in French) written by Madame Sidonie de la Houssaye : Volumes 1 and 2: L'etoile d'argent. Volume 2: Le fort de Keronec; Une paire de gants; Une poupee d'autrefois; Les fleurs et les bijoux de la grand'mere; Rose Blanche; Les petits vagabonds; Volume 3 Mythologies des petits enfants; Volume 4: George Gerard.For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 105.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: New Orleans to 1861     New Orleans 1866-     Literature, Reading, and Writing     African Americans     Women     French-language    
  • Liddell, Moses and St. John Richardson. Family Papers, 1813-1919 (bulk 1838-1870). 6.5 linear ft., 39 vols., 11 mf reels. Location: U:200-209, OS:L, G:21, 98:, Mss.Mf:L, microfiche 2729. Planters of Woodville, Mississippi and Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, Confederate officers. St. John Richardson Liddell was Moses Liddell's son. Bulk of the material is that of St. John Richardson Liddell, Confederate officer and son of Moses Liddell. Papers consist of plantation records, personal correspondence, slave lists, business and legal papers, account books, notebooks, plantation diaries, and persecution of Jews. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 531.For Additional Information: Library Catalog Also Referenced In: African Americans     Civil War     Jews     Natchez, Mississippi     Plantations    
  • Louisiana Folklife Program. Project files. 1973-2011 (1979-2007) . 44 linear ft. of manuscript materials; 3 linear ft. of video tapes; 30 linear ft. of audio recordings. Location: 63:1-35; 33:9-13;109:26-31; OS:F; L:45-50; 115:24-30; L:2a-4a. The Louisiana Division of the Arts is an agency within the Office of Cultural Development in the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. The Division of the Arts was created in 1977 to support established and individual artists and to stimulate public participation in the arts in Louisiana. The mandate of the Folklife Program is to identify,document, preserves and present Louisiana's traditional cultures. Records of the Louisiana Folklife Program include correspondence, field recordings and oral histories, and project files of its various programming efforts, publications, and projects designed to document and promote the folk ways of Louisiana. Included are the records of projects funded by the Program and for which the Program received funding, including the Louisiana Folklife Festival, folklife surveys of the state's regions and parishes, participation in the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife, the New Populations Project, the Louisiana Voices educational program, and others. Mss. 4730.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: African Americans     Baton Rouge     Education     French-language     German-language     Performing arts     Religion     Spanish-language    
  • Louisiana Folklore Society. Records, 1956-2011. 2 linear ft. Location: UU:262. Organization of folklorists, academics, teachers, and others interested in the study, preservation, and promotion of Louisiana folk culture. The records include correspondence, programs, minutes, financial records, and subject files relating to organization projects, publications, and meetings. Mss. 4168.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: African Americans     Education     Literature, Reading, and Writing     Performing arts     Religion    
  • Miro, Estevan Rodriguez, 1744-1795. Letters, 1782-1791. 20 items [typed copies]. Location: Misc.:M, Vault MRDF 3, Vault:1. Governor of Spanish colonial Louisiana. Letters from Miro to Alexandre de Clouet, Commandant of Attakapas and Opelousas, and to St. Marc Darby and Juan de la Villebeuvre, government officials at Opelousas pertaining to administrative matters including successions, road repairs, and a decree restricting the movement of Acadians. In French and Spanish with English translations. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 298.For Additional Information: Library Catalog Also Referenced In: Politics     French-language    
  • Mouton, J. Andre, b. 1892. Papers, 1928-1975. 263 items, 7 vols. (6 ms. Vols., 1 printed vol.). Location: N:8, 79:117, OS:M. Native of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. Mouton worked for the Southern Pacific and Illinois Central railroads, the Moore-McCormack Steamship line, and the New Orleans Dock Board. The bulk of the collection consists of invitations, public relations materials, and photographs pertaining to Mouton's speaking engagements and his involvement in clubs and organizations. Scrapbooks (1929-1965) contain clippings. Diaries (1959-1972), some written in Salinas County, Arkansas, discuss gardening, participation in church and recreational functions, speaking engagements, family news, and the weather. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3828.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: Transportation    
  • Post, Lauren Chester, 1899-1976. Papers, 1899-1977. 10 linear ft. Location: 7:11-19, W:10, OS:P, 65:. Native of Rayne, Louisiana, professor of geography at San Diego State University, author of "Cajun Sketches" (1974) and "Louisiana As It Is" (1969). Correspondence, an autobiography, research materials, published and unpublished works, newspaper clippings, recordings of folk music, interviews, photos, and other material related to Post's books and research on Cajun folklife and other topics. Mss. 2854.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: 20th Century Wars     Education     Literature, Reading, and Writing     Performing arts    
  • Stephens, Edwin Lewis, 1872-1938. Correspondence, 1889-1940. 304 items. Location: A:37, OS:S. Graduate of LSU and New York University, Professor of Science at Louisiana Normal School at Natchitoches, and president of Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Lafayette (1900-1938). Papers pertain to secondary and higher education in Louisiana, and consist of letters and related items from Thomas D. Boyd, president of LSU; Colonel E. S. Benton, onetime Commandant at LSU; and James H. Dillard, professor Latin at Tulane University. Mss. 965.For Additional Information: Library Catalog     PDF Finding Aid Also Referenced In: Education     LSU    
  • Taylor, Cecil G., 1909- interviewee, Oral history interview. 12 sound cassettes (14 hours), Transcript (590 p.). LSU French professor, assistant to the president, dean of arts and sciences, and chancellor. In a series of 8 interviews, Taylor describes his career as a French professor and administrator at LSU. He describes his family background, his education at the University of North Carolina, and his French language studies and Cajun French. He also describes Baton Rouge beginning in the 1930s, Huey Long and Louisiana politics, and the desegregation of education in Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0071.For Additional Information: Library Catalog Also Referenced In: Baton Rouge     Education     LSU     Politics     African Americans