Manuscript Resources on African American History

This guide describes manuscript collections documenting African American history in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections at LSU. It includes the papers of African Americans and their families; oral histories done with African Americans; and other collections that document African American history in one way or another. In the early period, these collections include documentation of slavery, the slave trade, abolitionism, and apologies for slavery. In the modern period, they include collections that document issues like civil rights, integration, and race relations.

Indeed, the experience of African Americans before and during the Civil War is often documented through the papers of others--among them, planters who bought and sold them as slaves and Union soldiers who commented upon them in letters and diaries. LSU has such resources in abundance. Papers of early African Americans themselves are more difficult to find. But Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley had a relatively large population of free persons of color, some of whom did leave papers. They worked as artisans in cities like New Orleans or Natchez, or were planters and even slaveholders themselves. LSU's collections of the papers of free persons of color include the papers of William Johnson of Natchez, now famed as a diarist and commentator on Southern mores.

Displaying 121 - 160 of 755. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.

Carson, William Waller. Family records, 1845-1930. 1 vol. Location: F:23. Residents of Tennessee and Mississippi. Family records include genealogical listings, biographical and autobiographical sketches, and correspondence, all pertaining to the history of the Carson and related Waller, Green, Hutchins, and other families. Included is information about plantation life, slavery, and the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2919.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, African Americans

Carter, Felix. Family papers, 1957. 2 items. Location: Misc. A program for a meeting of the Bunkie Service Association (1957) and a 3-page manuscript of advice on Christian conduct of life for an African-American Baptist congregation were removed from the family Bible of Felix Carter and Charity Dokes. Mss. 3849.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, African Americans

Cartwright, Samuel A. (Samuel Adolphus) and family. Papers, 1826-1864. 67 items, 2 manuscript volumes. Location: U:109, Vault. Physician of Natchez, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Cartwright was a Confederate army physician, and at one time a professor of diseases of the African American in the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana. Papers include correspondence, photoprints, and a European travel diary. Correspondence relates to politics, slavery, and education in the South, including letters from Jefferson Davis and other prominent individuals. Included is a treatise on 'camp dysentery' written by Cartwright. For further information, see online catalog. Filed under Cartwright, Samuel Adolphus. Papers in Archives USA. Mss. 2471, 2499.

Cartwright, Samuel A. (Samuel Adolphus). Letter, 1849 August 8. 2 items. Location: MISC:C. Physician of Natchez, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Cartwright was a Confederate army physician, and at one time a professor of diseases of the African-Americans in the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana. Letter to Doctor Q. A. B. Quesenbery discusses the treatment and prevention of cholera. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3234.

Referenced in Guides: Education, African Americans, Medicine

Cartwright, Samuel A. (Samuel Adolphus). Prescription, 1833. 1 item. Location: MISC:C. Physician of Natchez, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Cartwright was a Confederate army physician, and at one time a professor of diseases of the African-Americans in the Medical Department of the University of Louisiana. Prescription for cholera. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 672.

Carver, George Washington, 1864?-1943. Letter: to Harry Ittner, 1933 March 8. 1 item. Location: Vault. African American educator and agricultural scientist, and director of the Research and Experiment Station at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. Letter by Carver to Ittner discusses Ittner's studies at Antioch College (Ohio), and comments on Carver's interests in music, motion pictures, and theater. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3412.

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.

Chaney, Thomas R. Papers, 1863-1916 (bulk: 1893-1900). 0.3 linear feet. Location: U:310, OS:C. Papers consist primarily of business correspondence, but also include photographs, plantation map, and a commemorative booklet printed after Chaney’s death.  The majority of the correspondence is from Benjamin Pring to Chaney reporting on the operations at Oneida Plantation in St. James Parish. Mss. 5162.

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

Chaplin, Breazeale, and Chaplin. Papers, 1806-1925 (bulk 1860-1905). 7 linear ft., 61 volumes. Location: B:55-63, K:34-35, OS:C, 98:. Law firm of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Phanor Breazeale was an attorney, president of the Natchitoches Parish school board, a newspaper editor, and a U.S. congressman. Collection includes correspondence and related papers of Chaplin, Breazeale, and Chaplin. Also includes business and some official papers of Phanor Breazeale reflecting economic, political, and similar matters in the Natchitoches area. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 952, 967, 1028.

Chase, John Churchill. Cartoons, 1927-1962. 10.6 linear feet. Location: 6:1-3. John C. Chase (1906-1986) was a New Orleans native and political cartoonist. The collection includes of 153 original 15 x 20" drawings of cartoons published in newspapers from 1949 to 1962. The cartoons reflect the political career of Huey P. Long, in addition to Louisiana and national politics. In addition to original drawings, the collection also contains five scrapbooks containing newsprint copies of the cartoons clipped from the original newspapers. Mss. 1414, 1549, 1568, 1806.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, African Americans, Long Family

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

Claiborne, William C. C. (William Charles Cole). Letter book, 1804-1811 (bulk 1804-1805). 3 items, 1 vol. Location: OS:C, VAULT:4, MSS.MF:C. Governor of the Territory of Orleans, first governor of the State of Louisiana. Correspondence concerns Claiborne's administration, relations with Native Americans, problems with the importation of slaves, Louisiana bank, Spanish land grants and land surveys in the Natchez District, and Catholic disputes in the district of Saint Bernard. Legislative act provides reimbursement for damaged houses and slaves killed or executed during the slave insurrection (April 25, 1811). One item in French. Letter book available on microfilm. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 71, 603, 965.

Claiborne, William C. C. (William Charles Cole). Letters and depositions, 1799-1846. 20 items. Location: Vault: 61, MISC:C. William C.C. Claiborne was governor of the Louisiana Territory from 1803 to 1812, and the state of Louisiana from 1812-1816. Letters and depositions discuss various aspects of territorial business including native and slave affairs, resident opinion, and political intrigue within the region. Other correspondence relate to Claiborne's family and his political and military connections. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 5018.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, African Americans

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, Daisy Kidd. Papers, 1841-1975. 1 linear ft. Location: 9:77-78, OS:C, Vault. Baton Rouge resident. The collection consists of personal papers, printed items, photographs, and badges relating to the activities of Daisy Kidd Clark, family members, and the genealogy of the Kidd family and allied Betz and Gruenwald families. Personal papers and printed items also include material that relates to the Delta Omicron fraternity, the American Hemerocallis Society, and the independent Order of Odd Fellows. Notable is a the sale of a sale of a ten-year-old mulatto girl who had been born to a slave imprisoned in the Louisiana Penitentiary, East Baton Rouge (May 4, 1861) and a 19th century Japanese print. Mss. 3304, 3905.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans

Clark, Samuel M. D. Papers. 1835-1837 8 items. Location: Misc.:C, OS:C. Jeweler and Justice of the Peace of West Baton Rouge Parish, La. Mortgage of land and slaves (1837), sale of land (1835), receipts for pre-emption rights (1836), appraisers certificate (1836). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Referenced in Guides: Business, African Americans

Clarkson, Thomas. Letter, 1842 July 16. 1 item. Location: MISC:C. English abolitionist. Clarkson mentions that his book addressed to the clergy of the United States was published only for America and is recognized as one of his best works. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2425.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Politics, African Americans

Clement, George. Family Papers, 1863-1876 (bulk 1863-1867). 13 items and 1 ms. vol. Location: Misc.:C, M-18. French-speaking farming family of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes financial papers, legal documents, personal papers, and a time book (1878) recording hours worked by agricultural laborers. Largely in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1148.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans, 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

Clinton and Port Hudson Railroad Company. Papers, 1812-1859 (bulk 1838-1839), undated. 0.25 linear ft. Location: UU:73, OS:C. Railroad company in East Feliciana Parish, La. Papers include notarized copies of legal documents (chiefly mortgage documents, but also court judgments) and miscellaneous financial documents (receipts, bills, checks, and deposit slips). Of particular interest is a property appraisal document (April 19, 1842) that lists the first names of slaves. Appraisal document is for a legal case involving James Drummond and the Clinton and Port Hudson Railroad Company. Part of the East Feliciana Parish Archives Collection. Mss. 1100.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Business, African Americans

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

Coleman, Viola, Collection, 1945-2008 (bulk: 1945-1947). 44 items. Location: Misc:C. Midland, Texas physician and Louisiana civil rights pioneer. Contains photocopies of correspondence, news clippings, and video transcript detailing Coleman's lawsuit for admission into LSU's medical school in 1946. For more information see online catalog. Mss. 4997.

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.

Concordia Parish inquest case file, 1857. 4 items [transcriptions]. Location: Misc. Transcription by the Historical Records Survey of case papers in the courthouse in Vidalia, Louisiana, for an inquest in the death of the slave Samuel at Forest Home Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2032.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Confederate song sheet, 1861. 1 item. Location: E:Imprints. Song sheet of a "Southern Wagon" printed on an unused leaf of a blank receipt book, used for the sale of slaves in the 1850s. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2752.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, African Americans

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.

Conrad, Archelus M. Papers, 1861-1890 (bulk 1861-1865). Ca. 100 items. Location: E:41, OS:C. Union officer in command of a Corps d'Afrique Engineers company in Louisiana in the Civil War. Papers include military orders, muster papers, charges of military crimes, and other items relating to the 97th Engineer Regiment. It also includes a carte-de-visite showing Conrad in New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4126.

Conrad, Charles Magill, 1804-1878. Letter, 1854 October 2. 1 item. Location: Misc. Louisiana attorney, congressman, U.S. senator, secretary of war, and delegate to the Confederate Congresses. Letter to William G. Webster, regarding the abolitionist views of a 'Mr. Bacon' and the questionable suitability of one of his sons as tutor to Conrad's sons. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3377.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Education, African Americans

Consolidated Association of Planters of Louisiana. Papers, 1791-1912 (bulk 1827-1882). 9,703 items, 84 vols. Location: U:27-43, F:12-14, OS:C, vault:1, 51-52. Land bank of sugar planters designed to aid planters in securing better credit facilities. Financial records including banking papers; account books; legal documents; land and slave sales; diaries; letter books; plantation records; and correspondence. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 82, 724.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business, African Americans

Constitutional Convention broadside, 1868. 1 item [photographic reproduction]. Location: OS:C. Broadside has extracts from the reconstructed Louisiana constitution on civil rights and public education, and includes vignette portraits of African-American legislators and members of the Convention. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3023.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Education, African Americans

Contraband slaves cartoon, 1862 ca., undated 1 item. Location: E:Imprints. Anonymous cartoon shows contraband slaves fleeing from their master to the sanctuary of Fort Monroe, Virginia. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3032

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, African Americans

Cooley, E.C., and Robert J. Cooley. Labor contract, 1867. 1 item. Location: OS:C. Labor contract freedmen working on the Cooley Plantation, Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 149.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

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

Cotton, Elijah B. Slave bills of sale, 1856. 2 items. Location: Misc:C. Copies of acts of conveyance of slaves to Elijah B. Cotton of Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, by John C. Razan of Thibodaux, Lafourche Parish, and Daniel Blum of Ascension Parish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans

Council of Trade and Plantations. Letter book, 1700-1721. 1 ms. Vol. (31 pages). Location: M:21. British colonial trade council. Letter book containing letters, memorials, and reports to the Lords Commissioners of the council. Included are entries concerning the logwood cutters of the Campeche peninsula, the African slave trade, and colonial manufacturing. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 680.

Referenced in Guides: Business, African Americans

Cox, Owen B. Papers, 1844-1882, undated 21 items [on microfilm]. Location: Mss. Mf.:C. Planter and merchant of Clinton and Briarfield, Mississippi. Papers include slave sale documents; family letters; two Jefferson Davis documents; and a contract (1879) and a letter (1882), both pertaining to the management of Briarfield Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3041.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, African Americans

Crane, Andrew E. Papers, 1835-1917. 1,016 items, 6 volumes. Location: U:45-47, F:16, OS:C. Carriage maker in New Orleans and planter in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Early papers (1835-1845) pertain to Crane's business interests as a carriage maker. Other materials relate to Crane's purchase of a plantation in St. James Parish (1849) and to a partnership (circa 1864) with C. R. Kuneman to cultivate a plantation. Correspondence (1874) with William Little of Galveston, Texas, discusses timber interests. Later material relates to Zachary Crane and the St. Michael Corporation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 89, 1361.

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

Croom family. Bills of sale and currency, 1825, 1839, 1863. 3 items. Location: Misc:C and Vault:4. Two slave bills of sale and one piece of 1863 Louisiana currency. The first bill of sale is dated 14 Dec. 1825, and regards the sale of a slave named Solomon to Isaac Croom for $475.00. The second bill of sale, dated 2 Sept. 1839, regards the sale of a slave named Lucy by Charles Croom to Isaac Croom for $667.00. The currency is one $20 bill, No. 1329, issued by the state of Louisiana, Shreveport, March 10, 1863. Signatures appear on the bill as well. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4883.

Referenced in Guides: Business, African Americans

Cucullu, Simon. Papers, 1853. 3 items. Location: Misc:C. Papers documenting the sale at auction of land and slaves of the succession of Simon Cucullu to Joseph and M. Cucullu, including certificates of the sale and mortgage of the property. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 537.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French

Pages