Manuscript Resources on Acadian 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).

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Acadian Handicraft Project. Records. 1936-1962. 9.5 linear ft. Location: 7:98-106, OS:A. Project launched in 1942 to preserve the language and culture of the French-speaking people of Louisiana; project was suspended around 1962. Project launched in 1942 to preserve the language and culture of the French-speaking people of Louisiana. Records consist of general office files, program files for festivals and exhibitions, and records relating to the promotion, the production and sale of handicrafts. Some itmes are in French. Mss. 1880.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Women, Acadiana, French

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.

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.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, Education, Acadiana, French, Medicine, LSU

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. 4787

Referenced in Guides: Education, Acadiana, 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.

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. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4953.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Acadiana, French

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.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Transportation, Acadiana

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.

Referenced in Guides: Performing arts, Acadiana, French

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.

Referenced in Guides: Acadiana

Francis A. de Caro and Rosan A. Jordan, 1956-2009, undated (bulk 1966-2003) 13 linear ft. Location: 11:19, 15:15-21. 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.

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