This guide describes manuscript collections documenting plantation society and economy in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) at LSU. The plantation records and personal papers of planters, factors, merchants, and others whose livelihood came from plantations provide a wealth of documentation supporting research in plantation economy, slavery, and the social history of Southern landholding elites.

The collections described below touch upon all facets of plantation life. They include the papers of tutors, preachers, lawyers, and doctors who provided services to planters. They include the letters of Northerners who visited plantations in the antebellum period and wrote home about them, and those of Union soldiers who marched past plantations and sometimes plundered them. While the majority of collections are from the prewar years, there are substantial holdings on postbellum plantations as well. The sugar and cotton plantation records in LLMVC are among its most noteworthy and famed collections, and among the earliest collections that LSU acquired.

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Wilton Plantation sugarhouse plan, circa 1830-1870. 1 item. Location: OS:W. Sugar plantation owned by the Bruce, Seddon, and Wilkins Company near Convent, St. James Parish, Louisiana. Floor plan of a sugarhouse shows the location and dimensions of rooms and equipment. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2763.

Referenced in Guides: Sugar, Plantations

Wilton Plantation letter, 1863 April 1. 1 item. Location: Misc.:W. Cotton plantation apparently located in Louisiana and apparently owned by W. C. Wagley of Lake Providence. Letter from the plantation manager to Wagley reports on progress of picking and ginning operations under federal government contract and contraband labor. Information is provided about disposition of abandoned plantations and relations with freedmen. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2983.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, African Americans

Wise, James Calvert. Papers, 1860-1917. 1.75 linear ft., 2 volumes. Locations: UU:154-155, K:37, OS:W, Vault:1. Native of Maryland who settled in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. During the Civil War he organized the Red River Rebels, which became part of the First Louisiana Regiment. Wise owned Grand Bend Plantation on the Red River. Collection contains Wise's personal, political, business, and military papers. Printed items include Confederate tax forms, currency, a notice to planters and freedmen from the U.S. Army, and papers related to the Republican party. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3239.

Witherell, W. Frank. Papers, 1839-1958 (bulk 1860-1889). 6 linear ft. Location W:129-135, F:19, OS:W. Native of New York, West Point graduate, businessman and entrepreneur, in business with his uncle, W. H. H. Witherell, a New Orleans commission merchant and dealer. Correspondence related to the wholesale trade in hides and mining ventures in the West comprises the majority of this collection. Early papers relate to W. H. H. Witherell's dealings in Natchez and offer insight into the attitudes of West Point cadets towards the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (1860-1865). Items associated with the hide trade include, shipping records, invoices, bills of lading, bank drafts, and receipts. Additional papers pertaining to mining enterprises contain assay certificates, invoices, contracts, deeds and reports on mines. Also included is material related to extending telephone service west of the Mississippi River and a plantation journal recording daily work activities, and sugarcane production for Magnolia Plantation, Plaquemine Parish, La. (1877-1880). Mss. 1498, 1503, 1555, 1776.

Wood, William W. Account books, 1835-1866, 1886. 2 vols. Location: H:23. Purvis, Wood, and Company were cotton commission merchants of New Orleans. Fragmentary ledger of Purvis, Wood and Company containing accounts and a list of planters and their addresses in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas; and a cashbook of Silas and W. W. Wood containing records of personal and business expenditures. Included in the cashbook are work sheets for laborers showing location and amount of timber cut and statements of account for supplies with James Dunning and Solomon Johnston. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1103.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans 1866-, Business

Woodland Plantation inventory, 1966. 1 item (11 pages). Location: Misc.:W. Plantation located in Mississippi. Itemized inventory of household goods of Woodland Plantation appraised by Merritt Shilg for Morton's Auction Exchange, New Orleans. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2173.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, New Orleans 1866-, Business

Woodland Plantation photographs, circa 1920-1960. 2 copy prints. Location: 65:5. Two copy prints present images of Woodland Plantation in Plaquemines Parish, La. One shows a man standing in front of the decayed slave quarters while the other shows the front of the main house. Mss. 3322.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations

Wright, Charles L. Papers, 1884-1970 (bulk 1907-1934). 2 linear feet. Location: 32:134, OS:W. Wright worked in the lumber industry and ran the Excelsior Cypress Co. mill at Timberton, St. James Parish, Louisiana. The mill operated from 1907 to 1927. Collection consists of correspondence and letters, financial and legal papers, photographs, and printed items. These relate to Wright and his family's personal matters, the operation of Neta Plantation (the family farm), and the Excelsior Cypress Co. For more information see online catalog. Mss. 4785.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Business

Wright, Jesse D. Papers, 1831-1906 (bulk 1835-1882). 1.2 linear ft. Location: OS:W, UU:248-249. The Wright family owned lands in Louisiana and Texas. Jesse practiced medicine in Rapides Parish, Louisiana and also managed several business concerns, including a store and plantations, and was active in civic and church affairs. Correspondence mostly reflects the business concerns of the Wright family. Topics include land acquisition, property management, division of property, settling wills, and financial and legal concerns. Other items include Ester Wright Boyd's memoirs. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 99.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Business, Medicine, LSU

Wright-Boyd Family. Papers, 1812-1914. 2.5 linear ft. Location: R:23-24, OS:W, 65:61. The Wright family owned plantations in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Esther Gertrude Wright married David French Boyd, president of the Louisiana State Seminary, later LSU. Papers include correspondence, diaries, journals, memoirs, and photographs. The papers mainly document the lives of the women members of the Wright and Boyd families. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3362.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, LSU