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.

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Bordis & Co. Records, 1866. 3 items. Location: OS:B. Records include an agreement with freedmen drawn on an official form of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands and two payroll receipts for laborers employed on the Monot Plantation, Assumption Parish, Louisiana. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 965.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans

Boston Museum (1847-1903). Playbill, 1861. 1 broadside. Location: E:Imprints. Abolitionist playbill reading: First nights of Dion Bourcicault's greatest production! Illustrating American character! American scenes! and Southern homes! entitled the Octoroon or--life in Louisiana, ...this Saturday afternoon, Dec. 14, 1861. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1558.

Boudar, Thomas. Document, 1845. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Resident of New Orleans. Bill of sale (copy) for slaves sold to Marie Louise Paris of St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana by Boudar. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 25.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, African Americans

Boudousquie, Charles. Document, 1840. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Sale of slaves to Charles Roussel, signed by a notary, with seal. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 34.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French

Bourcier, Catherine Silly. Document, 1840. 1 item. Location: Misc.:B. Widow of Fran?ois C. Bourcier. A document signed by the recorder of mortgages in New Orleans, certifying the non-encumbrance of a slave belonging to Madame Catherine Silly. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 36.

Bourgeois, Pierre. Family Papers, 1771-1821. 3 items. Location: Misc.:B. Papers include a land transfer (1771), a property sale (1775), and a petition regarding ownership of slaves (1821). Partly in French and in Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 37.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, African Americans, French

Bowman, James P. Family papers, 1806-1926. 2615 items; 100 ms. vols., 6 printed vols. Location: B:19-24; J:18-19; OS:B; 98:. Planter of Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana. Records and papers documenting the administration of Rosedown. Includes papers of William R. Bowman, Episcopal clergyman; and of James P. Bowman, Robert H. Barrow, Eliza Bowman Lyons, Catharine Rucker Turnbull, and Daniel Turnbull. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 4, Reels 8-19. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1372, 1382.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, African Americans

Boyd, David French. Papers, 1833-1934 (bulk 1860-1899). 9 linear ft., 10 microfilm reels. Location: D:12-19, MF.MSS:B, OS:B, MAP CAGE: DRAWER 34 (BACK WALL). Confederate officer, president of the Seminary of Learning at Alexandria, Louisiana, and president and professor at Louisiana State University (1884-1886). Papers contain correspondence, including correspondence with William T. Sherman; writings about Civil War figures; academic papers; photographs; financial papers; and printed items. Manuscript volumes consist of school notebooks; memorandum books; diaries, including a Civil War diary; morning reports from Kentucky Military Institute and Locust Dale Academy; and a minute book of the Demosthenian Society. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 40, 99, 794, 890, 893, 1400, 1612, 4234.

Boyd, David French. William T. Sherman letters (part of the David French Boyd papers), 1859-1891. 0.3 linear ft., 1 microfilm reel. Location: U:179, MSS.MF:B, Vault:26. Civil War officers, educators. Letters refer to higher education, political issues, rights of freedmen, Ku Klux Klan activities, and the jetty system in New Orleans. Civil War letters concern Boyd's imprisonment. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 890, 893, 3362.

Boyer, Albert P., Mrs. Papers and account books, 1885-1907. 0.8 linear ft. (47 items; 4 vols.). Location: E:51, O:67. African American undertaker of New Orleans. Papers include promissory notes; statements of account; bills for coffins and caskets; cashbooks; a journal reflecting accounts for funeral expenses; and a ledger containing client and burial society accounts. Available on microfilm 5750: University Publications of America Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries Series E, Reel 1. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1258.