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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Loyd, Gladys Means and family. Papers, 1904-1975. 462 items, 10 volumes. Location: UU:215, P:18, 98:L. Schoolteacher of Ida (Caddo Parish) and St. Joseph (Tensas Parish), Louisiana. Papers include correspondence and genealogical notes on Ida, Louisiana, families; photograph albums on plantations, including Hundred Oaks Plantation in Baton Rouge; and scrapbooks on the history of Ida and Tensas Parish. Collection also includes ledgers of the Ida Hardware Store owned by James Taylor Means. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3224.

LSU Pershing Rifles Records, 1940-1978 (bulk 1963-1971) Location 11:1-2.

The Pershing Rifles is a national military honors society for ROTC cadets and midshipmen that participates in military drill exercises. It was established in 1894 at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. At LSU, the Pershing Rifle Corps detachment was established in 1940.

The seven boxes of materials contained in these records were donated by a former member of LSU’s Pershing Rifle Corps. The collection is comprised of photographs, news clippings, magazines, instruction manuals, posters, bylaws, Gumbo yearbook page photocopies, scrapbooks, a guidon flag and a unit patch. All items date from the mid-twentieth century.

Referenced in Guides: Education, Baton Rouge, LSU, 20th Century Wars

Lusher, Robert Mills, 1823-1890. Papers, 1846-1853. 21 items. Location: Misc. Educator, public official, and Grand Worthy Patriarch of the Louisiana Sons of Temperance. Letters addressed to Lusher, written from Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and other places in Louisiana, several by members of the Alexander Dimitry family. Letters relate to the Louisiana Sons of Temperance and to professional and personal matters. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3376.

Lyon Lumber Company Records, circa 1903-1938. 58 linear ft., 3 manuscript volumes. Location: J:28, OS:L, IMLLC (offsite; collections in remote storage require a minimum of 48 hours notice for retrieval). Lumber company with a home office in Chicago and a sawmill in Garyville, Louisiana. Records include invoices, price lists, inventories, correspondence, and other business and financial materials. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1461, 1502.

Lytle Mississippi River steamboat prints, ca. 1900. 15 items (enlargement prints). Location: OS:L. Baton Rouge photographer. Mississippi River steamboat photographs, seven of which are signed by A. D. Lytle. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1995.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Baton Rouge

Lytle Studio (Baton Rouge, La.). Baton Rouge Civil War cartes-de-visite, circa 1863-1865. 8 cartes-de-visite. Location: MISC:B. Identified and unidentified cartes-de-visite. One is of Thomas Rotch Rodman, a captain of the 38th Massachusetts Volunteers Infantry Regiment of the United States Army. Another carte-de-visite is of George W. Brightwell, a private of the 118th Illinois Volunteers Infantry Regiment of the United States Army. Other subjects are unidentified. Some cartes-de-visite were created by Andrew D. Lytle, T. Keddy, and Bogel and Sheppers. Mss. 5321.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Lytle, Andrew D. Album photograph collection, circa 1862-1902. 213 items. Location: UU:263. Baton Rouge photographer. Prints made from Lytle's photograph album; the original photographs are dated circa 1862-1902. Includes views of public and domestic architecture in Baton Rouge and other Louisiana towns; steamboats; cadets at LSU; and other local people and settings. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3708.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Baton Rouge, LSU

Lytle, Andrew D. Badges, [1824], 1881. 2 items. Location: Misc. Baton Rouge photographer. Silk badges commemorating Lafayette's visit to Cincinnati, Ohio (1824) and the Army of Northern Virginia Monument at Metairie Cemetery (1881). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge

Lytle, Andrew D. Collection, circa 1862-1904. 302 items. Location: 11:11. Baton Rouge photographer. Collection consists of photographs of gunboats; buildings in and around Baton Rouge and Clinton, Louisiana during and after the Civil War; Louisiana State University's old Baton Rouge campus; the old Louisiana State Penitentiary; inauguration of Governor Murphy Foster; floats and participants in the Baton Rouge firemen's parades; Centenary College; and Silliman Female Collegiate Institute. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893, 1254.

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

Lytle, Andrew D. Family collection, circa 1824-1981 (bulk 1880-1915).  2.5 linear ft., 25 volumes, 50 artifacts. Location: 5:, 17:, OS:L. Photographer of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This collection contains family papers, printed items, photographs, and artifacts relating to the Andrew D. Lytle family and the related Dickinson family. Family papers relate to family matters and genealogy. Printed items include newspaper clippings, prayer books, poetry, and picture postcards. Postcards were produced as souvenir postcards and depict scenes in Louisiana, Colorado, Ohio, and Winnipeg, Canada. Some postcards depict African-Americans as childlike (circa 1905). Photographs are in multiple formats that were produced professionally consisting of individual portraits and group photographs, including LSU cadets (1910-1911). Of note is a scene of a large African American group gathered at a river for a baptism (circa 1905). A variety of objects comprise the artifacts. They include jewelry, an evening bag, textiles, buckles, a flute, pins, and ribbons. Several artifacts represent chapters of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias. Mss. 5207.

Lytle, Andrew D. Photograph collection, circa 1862-1903. 134 unique images. Location: UU:263, 69:34, 69:46-49. Baton Rouge photographer. Prints made from glass plate negatives include interior and exterior views of architecture in Baton Rouge, Donaldsonville, Burnside, Clinton, Jackson, and Norwood, Louisiana; steamboats; a Baton Rouge firemen's parade; and cadets at LSU. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2600.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Madame Butterfly opera scrapbook, circa 1935-1937. 1 volume. Location: T:2. Contains chiefly black and white photographic prints (with some hand-coloring) of the cast of the opera Madame Butterfly (Madama Butterfly), presented by the Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Music from 1935 to 1936. Performers include Virginia Gaines as Madame Butterfly and Marcella Uhl as Suzuki. Additionally, scrapbook contains an advertisement for the School of Music's production of the opera Faust, starring Frances Greer as Marguerite (circa 1937), and two clippings. Mss. 5382.

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

Madden, Roberta M. Papers, 1968-2010. 11 linear ft. Location: 91:7-12. Baton Rouge-based businesswoman and activist. Papers include correspondence, subject files, publications, and other records related to her professional career and tenure as a leading local, state, and national advocate for women's rights and other progressive social and political causes. Mss. 5022.

Madison, Lewis. Certificate of freedman Jim Allen, 1841 March 5. 1 item. Location: Misc:M. Justice of the Peace for Jefferson County, Kentucky. Jim Allen was a freedman. Certificate attesting that Jim Allen was held in the Jefferson County jail as a runaway slave from November 1839-February 1840. The document certifies that Allen had been held and discharged from a New Orleans jail in August 1839, having 'free papers.' The certificate is addressed to B. Bryan, jailor, in Baton Rouge, where Allen's freedman status was verified again. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3659.

Maginnis, John. Papers, 1965-2014 (1984-2014). 4.5 linear ft. Location: Y:132-136; Vault:1; OS:M. Louisiana journalist, publisher, and political commentator. Papers consist of research files, news clippings, newsletters, columns, correspondence, and photographs. Research files include news clippings and court documents pertaining to gubernatorial campaigns and Edwin Edwards' indictments. Writings are comprised of all of Maginnis' newspaper columns from 1984-2014. Printed material consists of the Louisiana Political Fax Weekly, later LaPolitics Weekly, from 1993-2014 and 30 issues of the Catholic High School newsletter, Bear Facts. Photographs include those used in Maginnis' books and publications. Mss. 5185.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge, LSU

Magnolia Mound sale document, 1837, 1841. 2 items [photocopies]. Location: Misc. Plantation in Baton Rouge. Sales agreement records terms of transfer of property from owners Bernard and Jean-Baptiste Dubreuil Villars to Achille Murat. Included is a document recording the cancellation of the contract in 1841. Copied from the original in the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court's office. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3059.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Baton Rouge

Magruder, Benjamin Scott Collection, Hilda Moss Papers, 1921-1972 (1926-1940). 2.5 linear ft. Location: 109:24, OS:M. Baton Rouge, La., social worker. Papers relate to the administration of public relief aid in Louisiana under the direction of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration during the 1930s. Printed material and scrapbooks also report on WPA work programs, World War II, and the LSU Board; and they reflect the Louisiana political environment, particularly during the Huey P. Long era. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4425.

Manship, Douglas L. Papers, 1960-1963. .5 linear ft. Location: 10:43. Journalist of Baton Rouge, president of Capital City Press, and founder of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. Drafts of editorials broadcast on WBRZ-TV, and letters in response to the broadcasts. Letters particularly concern Manship's stance on the debate sparked by bills presented in the State Legislature on racial integration of public schools in Louisiana. Drafts of House Bills nos. 1-8 (1960) by T. T. Fields of Union Parish, Bryan J. Lehmann of St. Charles Parish, and Risley C. Triche of Assumption Parish are included. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4681.

Map showing the subdivision of Sharlo into tracts "A", "B", "C", "D", "E", and "F" for Sharlo, 1974 January 21. 1 item. Location: OS:C. A of the Sharlo area in East Baton Rouge Parish (La.) detailing the subdivision of the land into tracts. Each tract (labeled "A" through "F") is mapped out using individual coordinates with respective area provided in both square footage and acreage. Other information includes a small "Vicinity map," a curve data chart, and a total tract acreage chart. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4846.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, LSU

Marsh, Edward N. Civil War Letter, 1862, December 18. 1 item. Location: OS:M. Edward N. Marsh was a private in the 52nd Massachusetts Infantry, which was organized at Greenfield, Mass., in October 1862. The 52nd arrived in Baton Rouge to occupy the city on December 17, 1862. In a letter to his brother and sister, Private Marsh describes the scene in Baton Rouge, including his unit's landing, soldiers' taking items from homes, the town's deserted appearance, and the conditions of "contrabands," slaves who fled to the Federal encampments in Baton Rouge. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4891.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Baton Rouge, African Americans

Marston, Henry and family. Papers, 1818-1938 (bulk 1850-1890). 2,104 items, 59 volumes. Location: U:220-222, U:267, G:19. Planters of East Feliciana Parish and Red River Parish, Louisiana. Collection includes diaries; plantation records; legal documents; personal correspondence; bank records; and Civil War papers. Diaries comment on public health, yellow fever epidemic, race relations, labor and the political participation of African Americans. Other volumes record activities of the Clinton & Port Hudson Railroad and the Silliman Female Collegiate Institute. Papers of son , Bulow, reflect his activities as planter, steamboat operator, and warehouse owner. Available (with some omissions) on microfilm 5735 and 6061: University Publications of America, Confederate Military Manuscripts, Series B, Reel 13 and Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 2, Reel 14, or For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 624.

Martin, Sigur. Papers, 1905-1912. 236 items, 16 ms. Vols. Location: U:211, G:18. Sugar planter of Grand Point Plantation and a dealer in general merchandise and liquor in Paulina, St. James Parish, Louisiana. He later held office in the Treasury Department in Baton Rouge. Collection includes store records, accounts, invoices, and receipts, many with Baton Rouge merchants. Some items document Martin's management of a sugarcane plantation. Included are letters from the Colonial Sugars Company listing cane deliveries from tenant farmers working on Grand Point Plantation. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 460.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations, Business, Baton Rouge

Marx, Mary Robertson. Collection, 1863-1970, undated. 1,462 items. Location:10:48-49. Resident of Baton Rouge. Clippings of newspaper and magazine articles and other printed items pertain mainly to the Civil War, World War II, and other historical subjects; and to Louisiana history, politics, culture, and social events. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2796.

Mascarella, Patrick, 1942-, interviewee. Oral history interview, 1992. 1 sound cassette (1.5 hours), Transcript (55 pages). Location: L:4700.0139. Priest at Christ the King Chapel, on the LSU Campus, Baton Rouge. Topics include the dismissal of the Claretians (a religious order) at Christ the King, student involvement at Christ the King, the role of the Catholic student center, and the establishment of a religious studies department at LSU. Father Mascarella also discusses his relations with the Claretians, Father Michael Cody, Father Richard Greene, and Bishop Joseph V. Sullivan. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0139.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Baton Rouge, LSU

Mather, James. Papers, 1809, 1813. 2 items. Location: Misc. Receipted bill from V. Mitchell to James Mather (New Orleans) and a portion of a letter addressed to J. Mather (Baton Rouge). For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 283.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Baton Rouge

McBeth letter, 1864 November 16. 1 item. Location: Misc. Union army soldier in the Ordnance Office at headquarters of the Department of the Gulf, New Orleans. Letter comments on the Confederate military situation around Baton Rouge at the end of 1864. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2202.

McDonogh, John. Land Sale, 1808 Oct. 7. 1 item. Location: Misc.:Mc. Land sale between John McDonogh and Daniel Clark for property in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mss. 5252.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge

McGrath, John, 1835-1924. Family Papers, 1785-1924. 208 items; 15 ms. vols.; 9 printed vols. Location: S:27; O:21; OS:M; 99:M; Mss. Mf.:M. Journalist who worked on the New Orleans Picayune and the Baton Rouge Gazette. McGrath was a Confederate veteran who later founded the Baton Rouge Daily Truth and Weekly Truth. Papers include correspondence (among it McGrath's Civil War letters to his wife); an anonymous Confederate soldier's diary; legal documents; and scrapbooks relating to the interests and activities of McGrath's three daughters. Collection also includes accounts for St. Joseph's Church in Baton Rouge. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3281.

McHatton, Pike and Company. Record books, 1857-1860. 3 volumes, 3 microfilm reels. Location: O:34, MSS.MF:M. Commission merchant company of Baton Rouge and a lessee of the Louisiana State Penitentiary when the penitentiary was located in Baton Rouge. Volumes contain business papers regarding the penitentiary. Items include invoices, warrants, receipts for cash and clothing received by discharged convicts, checks, payrolls of officers and guards, and statements of articles charged on prison books. Included are other items related chiefly to the purchase of raw materials, particularly cotton and wool. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 992.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge

McHugh, John A. Family Papers, 1850-1874. 5 items. Location: MISC:M. Resident of Baton Rouge. Papers include a tax receipt (1850), oath of allegiance to the United States (1863), Confederate States of America bond certificate (1864), a railway timetable (1869) and a description (1874) of Mr. Basilisco's fruit and cake store on Third Street in Baton Rouge, La. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 893.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Civil War, Baton Rouge

McHugh-Randolph political broadside and poem, circa 1910s. 1 item. Location: Misc.:M. Political broadside regarding a Baton Rouge Parish, La., election in which two of the primary candidates were McHugh and Randolph and commenting on the political maneuvering associated with the election. Also mentioned are two political opponents, Ratcliff and [William W.] Garig, who sought to take advantage of the dissension in the McHugh and Randolph camps. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3510.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge

McIlhenny, John S. Papers, 1876-1996 (bulk 1928-1989). 4 linear ft., 1 volume. Locations: 75:, OS:M. Son of John A. (Avery) McIlhenny and Anita McIlhenny. Philanthropist of academia and scientific research and donated to many organizations, including the Louisiana State University (LSU) Foundation and Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Papers document his personal life, philanthropic and professional endeavors, and educational pursuits. Materials include correspondence, printed items, photographic items, stamps, coins, and artwork. Mss. 4962.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Education, Baton Rouge, French, LSU

McKittrick, David L. (David Lawrence). Papers, 1854-1911. 0.5 linear ft. Location: K:37, UU:139. Dentist of Baton Rouge. McKittrick was also involved in the farming business partnership of McKittrick & Keller. Papers pertaining largely to McKittrick's dental practice include patient records. Other materials include a pocket diary with memoranda and account information, and a ledger containing the 1871-1872 accounts of the Baton Rouge Broom Factory. Business entries, including labor contracts and cotton records, of the partnership of McKittrick & Keller are recorded in a manuscript volume. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3814.

Referenced in Guides: Business, Baton Rouge, Medicine

McKowen-Lilley-Stirling Family. Papers, 1797-1921 (bulk 1877-1901). 829 items (on microfilm). Location: MSS.MF:M. Thomas William Lilley founded Springfield Plantation in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. His daughter Edith married John Stirling. John McKowen, an Irish immigrant, was a resident of Jackson, Louisiana. Papers include Lilley-Stirling legal documents and financial papers; McKowen family correspondence; and legal papers, and medical correspondence of John C. MacKowen, a Louisiana physician. Other papers relate to McKowen's property in Anacapri, Italy. Some items in Spanish, Italian, French, and German. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4356.

McLaurin (James W.). Case Records, 1939-1942 (bulk 1941-1942). 1 vol. Location: J:25. Physician of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Records includes patient demographic information, examination observations, diagnoses, descriptions of operations performed, anesthetics administered, and post-operative progress notes. For further information, see onlilne catalog. Mss. 4779.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, Medicine

Menard, James. Letter, 1829 April 10. 1 item. Location: Misc.:M. Letter by James Menard of Baton Rouge, La., endorses the recommendation of Charles C. Comme as notary. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 303.

Referenced in Guides: Baton Rouge, French

Mestayer, Marcelite (Segura). Photographs and newspaper clippings, 1929, circa 1990, undated. 19 copy prints [3.5 x 5 in.], 20 copy prints [5 x 7 in.], 4 photocopies. Location: 65:60. Resident of New Iberia, La., and a student at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La. Of these photographs, 20 are unique images. Photographs were copied from Mestayer's college scrapbook (1929-1930). They include images of Mestayer, an LSU agricultural parade, young men in black face, the LSU marching band, campus buildings, and the experimental television station in Shreveport, La. Newspaper clippings describe the agricultural fair where Mestayer was elected "Goddess of Agriculture." Mss. 4365.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Baton Rouge, LSU

Miller, Ben R., Sr. Papers, 1920-1983 (bulk 1950-1979). 22 linear ft. Location: 46:5-14, 47:1, OS:M, MAP CAGE. Attorney and judge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and active member of the American Bar Association. Papers address the legal profession, legal reform, and the evolution of the state and federal judiciary systems. Materials include correspondence, legal papers, memoranda, statements, reports, notes, photographs, and printed materials. Mss. 3785.

Mills, Percy Joseph, 1934-, interviewee. Radio interview, 1975. 1 sound cassette (50 minutes), Index (2 pages). Location: L:4700.0047. Banker, politician, and native of Baton Rouge. Mills represented Caddo Parish in the state legislature (1968-1972). He became the executive director of the Louisiana Superport in 1972. Interview broadcast as part of WJBO's radio program, 'Topic Today.' Mills discusses his political and civic experience including his announcement to run for secretary of state and his views on the responsibilities of the office. Mills comments on voter participation, recent political campaigns, and the status of the Louisiana Superport. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4700.0047.

Referenced in Guides: Politics, Baton Rouge

Missionary work record book, 1881. 1 manuscript volume. Location: N:1. Record book of Christian missionary work completed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Records include numbers of sermons preached, families visited, and prayer meetings held. Home church and denomination are unstated. Mss. 5358.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Baton Rouge