Manuscript Resources on Baton Rouge History

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was first discovered and named by the French explorer Iberville in 1699, almost three centuries ago. In the eighteenth century, it was ruled successively by the French, British, and Spanish. Incorporated in 1817, Baton Rouge became the state capital in 1849, though it lost that status during the Civil War and would not regain it until 1882.

This guide to manuscript resources on Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, of which it is a part, includes a wide variety of materials on the history of the area, among them the papers of Baton Rouge families; the records of businesses and organizations; photographs; newspapers; maps; and oral histories. Although Louisiana State University has been a major part of Baton Rouge for many years, collections relating to LSU are included only if they also relate explicitly to Baton Rouge--for example, the papers of an LSU professor who was also active in community organizations and whose papers documented those organizations. Similarly, the papers of individuals in state government are not included unless they also relate explicitly to Baton Rouge.

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Brooks, F. M. and Son. Business records, 1892-1894. 1 ms. vol. Location: M:15. Retail druggist of Baton Rouge. Record book containing copies of prescriptions from local medical doctors. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2506.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, Medicine

Brooks, Overton. Papers, 1898-1970 (bulk 1936-1961). 23.5 linear ft. 36 vols. Location: 35:67-77, 31:81, 50:81 P:15, OS:B, vault:3, 21. Baton Rouge and Shreveport, Louisiana, WWI veteran, attorney and U.S. congressman from Louisiana. Correspondence pertains largely to Brooks' congressional career, particularly his membership in the House Armed Services committee and the House Science and Aeronautics committee. Collection also contains photographs and diaries. Included in the correspondence are political and personal letters from Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson and items related to Brooks's own war service. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2492, 2520.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge, 20th Century Wars

Brown, Reddin. Papers, 1835-1838. 5 items. Location: OS:B. Resident of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Papers pertain to the mortgage of land and slaves, and include a land conveyance, an appraiser's certificate, and other legal documents. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 668.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, African Americans

Brown, Sarah Goodwin. Collection, 1840-1944. 31 items. Location: U:181. Materials documenting the history of Baton Rouge and Clinton, Louisiana. Included are two letters referring to the enlistment of a Northern school teacher in the Confederate army. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1573, 1986.

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

Brown, Silas H. Letter, 1863 May 22. 1 item. Location: Misc:B. Civil War soldier. Letter written at an unnamed army camp in Baton Rouge to his family. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4573.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Brunot, James M., d. 1856. Family Papers, 1827-1877. 27 items. Location: E:52, OS:B. Lawyer of Baton Rouge. Letters from Brunot to family members in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, deal with the death and estate of his brother Felix; economic development in Baton Rouge; and Louisiana inheritance laws, among other topics. A printed letter (1873) in French from the General Union of the French Societies of Mutual Aid in the United States supports republican government in France. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1242.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, French

Buckner, George W. Letterbook, 1866-1890. 1 ms. vol. Location: M:19. Baton Rouge lawyer. Letterpress copybook. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2212.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Buhler, John Christian and family. Papers, 1805-1952 (bulk 1824-1931). 437 items, 1 manuscript volume. Location: C:49, OS:B. Planter of Winters Plantation in Buhler's Plains near Baton Rouge. Collection includes family correspondence, chiefly of John Christian Buhler, John Robert Buhler, Mary Edith Buhler, Hester S. Simmons, and Jane (Jennie) Gillespie Buhler. Letters concern politics, notable persons, and social and economic conditions. Financial documents include a copy of an act of sale (1852) of a parcel of land by John Buhler and his wife to the town of Baton Rouge, now the site of Magnolia Cemetery. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1192, 1210, 1238, 1311, 1333.

Buhler, John Robert, 1829-1886. Papers, 1843-1914. 6 ms. vols. Location: H:17. John Robert Buhler was the son of John Christian Buhler, a planter of Buhler's Plains near Baton Rouge. After his marriage to Mary Reynolds, they lived at Independence Plantation, home of his grandparents, the Smiths, near Natchez, Mississippi. Papers include three volumes of a diary containing entries (1847-1849) reflecting family and social life on Independence Plantation and providing information on events in and around Natchez, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge. Includes another diary containing manuscript poems (1881-1914) by Mary Edith Buhler, an autograph book, and a notebook containing poems by Buhler. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1311.

Burden, Dan. Papers, 1860-1898. 8 items. Location: Misc.:B. Resident of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Business and legal papers, including a probate court record relating to claims against the succession of Oscar Barber (1879) and copy of the lease of Myrtle Grove Plantation by Mary A. Pike to Dan Burden (1898). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 255.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge

Burden, Ione and family. Papers, 1823-1980 (bulk 1900-1975). 13 linear ft. Location: P:39-45, OS:B. Louisiana State University (LSU) administrator and Baton Rouge philanthropist. Along with her brothers, Pike and Steele Burden, Ione Burden donated family land to establish the Burden Research Plantation and the LSU Rural Life Museum. Papers include correspondence, legal documents, financial papers, photographs, and scrapbooks of Ione Burden and her brothers. Collection documents Baton Rouge community events, family history, and Burden family philanthropic activities. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3063.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Burns, Paul Y. Papers, 1953-2011, (bulk: 1970-2011). 4.3 linear ft. Location: Y:104-108, OS: B. Member of the faculty at LSU School of Forestry and an active member in several community service organizations. The papers of Paul Y. Burns reflect his commitment to social and economic equality for all individuals regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. The collection is comprised of files of several community service organizations of which he was an active member, and in some cases a member of the board.  Material consists of minutes, newsletters, reports, correspondence, newspaper clippings, flyers and photographs related to the work of these groups to improve race relations in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mss. 5183. 



Bussie, Fran. Papers, 1972-2013 (bulk 1975-1997). 0.25 linear ft. Location: X:79, OS:B. Frances “Fran” Martinez Bussie was born on May 6, 1935, in New Orleans, Louisiana, lived most of her life in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was a lobbyist for women’s, disabled, and aging rights. The collection consists of correspondence, photographs, awards, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera documenting primarily her political life and achievements. Mss. 5235.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Women, Education, Baton Rouge

Bussie, Victor. Papers, 1953-2012 (bulk 1976-2011). 0.3 linear foot, 1 volume. Location: X:78, OS:B. Victor Bussie was born on January 27, 1919, in Montrose, Louisiana, and served as the president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO from 1956 to 1997. He and his wife, Fran, became dominant forces in the Louisiana labor movement during the twentieth century. The collection consists of correspondence, photographs, federal government memorabilia, and articles documenting his personal and political life. Mss. 5237.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge

Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin). General orders no. 98, 1862 Nov. 20. 1 item. Location: E:74. The order corrects a previous official report that stated that the 7th Regiment of the Vermont Volunteers lost its colors at the Battle of Baton Rouge. Clarifying that it was not its regimental colors but rather its camp colors that the regiment lost, the order states that the colors will be restored to the regiment. Part of the United States Army Collection. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2312.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Bynum Family. Papers, 1814-1969 (bulk: 1913-1969). 1 linear foot, 26 v. Location: E:103-105, OS:B. Residents of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Papers contain correspondence, writings, diaries, financial records, and printed material, relating to family matters, social activities, World Wars I and II, Louisiana State University student life, and local and state government. There is also a scrapbook of the Female Orphan Association of Baton Rouge (1848-1861). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3104, 3174.

C. R. Graham and Co. account books, 1846-1848. 2 vols. Location: G:6. Merchants of West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Ledger and daybook of C. R. Graham and Co. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 479.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

Cabell, William Nicholas. Letters, 1936-1948. 1 microfilm reel; 35 mm. Location: Mss.Mf:C. Supervisor of the composing room of the BATON ROUGE STATE TIMES. Personal letters written to family members describe Baton Rouge in detail. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4547.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Cadwallader, Richard C. Collection, 1941-1945. 5 looseleaf binders, 6 printed vols. Location: 7:57-58. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, attorney. Printed materials pertaining to military administration during World War II including procedure regulations, technical manuals, book files, and handbooks. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2770.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, 20th Century Wars

Cale, John G. (John Gustav), 1922-. Papers, 1966-1968. 98 items, 1 vol., on microfilm. Location: Mss. Mf.:C. Thematic index cards and bound typewritten seminar paper list titles of manuscript and printed music of Henri and Joseph Amedee Fourrier in the LSU Library and the Baton Rouge School for the Blind. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2304.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Education, Baton Rouge, LSU

Cale, John G. (John Gustav), 1922-. Abstract, 1967. 1 item. Location: Misc.:C. Genealogical data on the Henri Fourrier family of Baton Rouge taken from a paper by Cale, which he gave at an American Musicological Society meeting in New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2304.

Canaday, Nicholas. Papers,1960-1982 (bulk 1960). 31 items. Location: Misc:C. Professor of English at Louisiana State University and a citizen activist. Photocopies of newspaper clippings and letters about desegregation and the public schools in Baton Rouge and statements and speeches by Canaday as leader of the Citizens' Committee and the Organization for Public Education Now (OPEN). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4773.

Referenced in Guides: Education, Baton Rouge, African Americans, LSU

Cannon, Andrew and family Papers, 1829-1868, undated (1850-1862). 110 items. Location 11:15, OS:C. Andrew Jerome Cannon family of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, employee at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. Correspondence related to professional, personal business, and family life in Baton Rouge, as well as the Civil War. Financial papers consisting of bills, invoices, promissory notes, and receipts are also present. For further information, see online catalog, Mss. 4979.

Carnegie, S. Steve. Papers, 1929-1969. 8.5 linear feet. Location 91:43-47. Contract civil engineer and resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Papers include engineering files, correspondence, subject files, personnel files, and photographic materials which document civil engineering and construction projects in Baton Rouge and other Louisiana towns. Towns include Amite, Baldwin, Bogalusa, Crowley, Independence, Morgan City, Plaquemine, Port Allen, Rayne, St. Martinville, Slidell, Sulphur, and Vinton. Projects include sewerage and sanitation works, highway construction, subdivision plans, parks, and public facilities. Photographic materials consist of photographic prints, negatives, and 16mm motion picture films depicting engineering and construction work and Carnegie's personal life. Some films depict flooding in Baton Rouge, hurricane Camille, and LSU football. Mss. 2531.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Baton Rouge, LSU

Carondelet, Luis Héctor barón de. Papers, 1791-1819 (bulk 1792-1796). 11 items. Location: MISC:C, VAULT:32, VAULT MRDF 10. Francisco L. H. Carondelet, Spanish governor of Louisiana from 1792 to 1797. Letters address the debts of Nicolas Forstall and Guillermo Armand and securing a passport for Ygnacio Maria Spiller. Official issues include the boundary between Avoyelles and Rapides districts and completion of an inventory of military records. Included is a copy of sixteen rules of commerce by Carondelet and Andres Lopez Armesto governing the trade of the Spanish colonies (1793). In French and Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 59.

Referenced in Guides: Spanish, New Orleans 1866-, Baton Rouge, French

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.

Cavalleria rusticana opera scrapbook, circa 1936-1937. 1 volume. Location: T:98. Contains a program for the opera Cavalleria rusticana and a recital of modern dance, performed during the 1936-1937 Louisiana State University Opera Season by the School of Music and the Dance Center, sponsored by The Baton Rouge Grand Opera Association. Scrapbook also contains black and white photographic prints (portraits) of the opera's cast, including Marcella Uhl as Lola. Mss. 5380.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Cazayoux Family Papers, 1929-1999 (bulk 1939-1979). 1.3 linear ft., 7 v. Location: UU:289-291, J:24, OS:C. Catholic family of Baton Rouge, La., includes Rev. Clair Cazayoux, a Jesuit priest, teacher and, and missionary; Gene Cazayoux, Catholic brother; librarian Vivian Cazayoux; and Drs. Francis and Robert Cazayoux. Papers consist of correspondence, sermons, church publications, travel pamphlets, speeches, and scrapbooks, reflecting careers, education, and the Catholic Church. Collection also offers insight into the political events and social conditions in Ceylon and India, and the U.S. military involvement in Korea during the 1950s and early 1960s. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4827.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, Education, Baton Rouge

Cazes, Bertrand. Papers, 1863-1864. 4 items. Location: Misc.:C. The collection consists of four documents, mostly in French, pertaining to the purchase, sale, and storage of cotton by Bertrand Cazes in Natchitoches Parish, Avoyelles Parish, and West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Mss. 5311.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Chadbourne, Danville S. Letters, 1862-1863. 13 items. Location: C:72. Private in the 22nd Maine Infantry in the Civil War. Chadbourne's letters relate his experiences while stationed in Louisiana as part of General Nathaniel Banks' army at Baton Rouge, Donaldsonville, Morgan City, Washington, and Port Hudson. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1128.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Chandler, Thomas W. Papers, 1983-1985. 2.8 linear feet. Location: 48:22-23, OS:C. The collection contains materials gathered for Chandler’s landscape architecture thesis analyzing one-hundred ninety identified residences in Spanish Town, the oldest neighborhood in Baton Rouge, La. (established 1805).  The thesis was completed in 1985. The materials consist of completed and uncompleted questionnaires used to survey residents, audio tapes of interview with residents, color photographic prints and negatives of the residences, black & white photographic negatives and contact sheets, and black & white photographic prints used as illustrations in the thesis. Printed materials include items created for an exhibition associated with the thesis, three Spanish Town newsletters, and a “presentation copy” of the thesis itself.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

Chase, George W., Correspondence. 4 items. Resident of Baton Rouge (1846) and later of Danville, Maine. Letter to Chase by Andrew White describes his journey from New Orleans to General Zachary Taylor's headquarters at Matamoros, Mexico (1846). Baton Rouge letters from other Chase associates deal with local people and events. Topics in these letters include the new Jesuit College and visits to Baton Rouge by presidents Zachary Taylor and James K. Polk. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1310, 1398.

Chatsworth Plantation store records, 1865-1893. 0.7 linear ft. Location: 33:33. Plantation in Louisiana purchased by the Gardere family in 1866 and managed by Fergus Gardere until 1895. Gardere also operated a cotton gin in partnership with Joseph Staring in the 1880s. Papers relate to the operation of the store and plantation at Chatsworth, and to the Gardere and Staring families. They include store ledgers recording accounts and payrolls. There is also material from a plantation journal in French and English. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4589.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge, French

City of Baton Rouge and Louisiana State University Coordinating Committee. Records, 1958-1973. 0.1 linear ft. Location: MISC:C. Established on July 26, 1972 by the Baton Rouge City Council. Records include correspondence, meeting minutes, agendas, resolutions, and memoranda of the Committee mainly related to the creation of bicycle paths around campus. Mss. 5368.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Baton Rouge, LSU

Claiborne, William C. C. (William Charles Cole). Order, 1814 Feb. 18. 1 item [photocopy]. Location: MISC:C. Governor of the Territory of Orleans, first governor of the State of Louisiana. Order to Charles Tessier, commander of the militia regiment of Baton Rouge, directs him to bring his men to New Orleans to join U.S. military forces there. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2674.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, New Orleans to 1861, Baton Rouge

Clark, Samuel M. D. Ledgers and papers, 1826-1869. 46 items, 3 vols. Location: M:25, C:76. Jeweler in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, in the 1820s, and Justice of the Peace for West Baton Rouge Parish in the 1840s and 1850s. Collection includes three ledgers containing jewelry business and Justice of the Peace records. Miscellaneous materials include receipts, court records, and oaths. Partly in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3169.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Business, Baton Rouge, French

Coates, Charles E. and Ollie Maurin. Family Papers, 1862-1980 (bulk 1937-1972). 17.5 linear ft. Location: 12:15-23, OS:C. LSU professor of Chemistry. Correspondence, printed items, photographs, and writings of Charles Coates; and papers documenting Charles Coates and Ollie Coates involvement in Baton Rouge theater and pageantry. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3579.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Education, Baton Rouge, LSU

Coates, Raymond, 1875-1965. Manuscript music, 1953, 1956, undated 9 items. Location: 65:82. Composer and music teacher of Baton Rouge. Seven compositions of Raymond Coates, a composer and music teacher of Baton Rouge, La., and two copies of Felix Mendelssohn's "Concerto for the Violin" (Op. 64). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2382, 2406.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Education, Baton Rouge

Coco family. Papers, circa 1885-2009 (bulk 1964-2008). 12 linear ft., 1 compact disc. Location: AA:, OS:C, X:4-13. Residents of Mansura, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. Materials include personal and professional correspondence, printed items, personal papers, recordings (available for access on compact disc), and photographic items. Personal correspondence pertains primarily to the lives of Merlin, Lucy, Greg, and Linda. Major topics include family life and local matters in Mansura, the education of Greg and Lucy, and Greg's enlistment in the U.S. Army and activities in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Professional correspondence documents mostly Greg's career as a park ranger in Gettysburg. Printed items, personal papers, and photographic items pertain chiefly to Coco family history and the lives of the aforementioned Coco family members. Recordings were created by Greg while in Vietnam and document his experiences there. Mss. 5019.

Cohn, Margie de Bretton and Family. Papers, 1945-1982, undated (bulk 1945-1968). 1 linear foot. Location: E:122. Primarily papers of Maggie deBretton Cohn and daughter Margie, both of Baker, La. Includes writings, correspondence, and miscellaneous files related to Maggie deBretton Cohn's writing, and Margie deBretton Cohn's English translation of an 1828 German text describing travelling through the Mississippi River Valley. Letters to Margie while a student at LSU are included, as well as religious writings by other family members and items related to the family's 1964 donation of the Laurens Henry Cohn Sr. Memorial Plant Arboretum to the Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission. For further information see online catalog. Mss. 4472.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Women, Baton Rouge, LSU, Literature

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