News & Notes

LSU acquires Claiborne Archive

Posted in Resources, Special Collections Tagged with: ,

Engraving of William C. C. Claiborne by John B. Longacre.

The LSU Libraries Special Collections recently acquired a small but important William C. C. Claiborne archive that contains very useful sources on the territorial post at Natchitoches, relations with the Creole French and Spanish and Native Americans in the Natchitoches area, and efforts to establish American rule and governmental structure in territorial Louisiana. The bulk of the eighteen item collection dates from 1805, but documents from 1805 to 1812 are included. It is comprised primarily of letters to Claiborne from and affidavits taken by Dr. John Sibley, Justice of the Peace at Natchitoches and U.S. Indian Agent.

Sibley’s letters are newsy and descriptive, and they provide both a sense of the danger and uncertainty on the ambiguous border between Spanish Texas and Louisiana and local attitudes toward the new American government, so recently established in New Orleans. For example, two affidavits forwarded by Sibley describe instances of “Spanish depredations” against citizens in which they took horses and goods. Additional affidavits record Natchitoches residents’ experiences living at and knowledge of the location of “ancient” French posts and Caddo settlements, apparently in an attempt to identify lands useful for further settlement. In a letter of 3 March 1805, Sibley relates efforts to equip the local Native Americans for farming and to win their allegiance over the Spanish, as well as the organization of the Caddo nation and fighting and alliances among its members– “the nearly thirty tribes in what I sepose to be Louisiana south of the Arkansas River.” Further, Sibley addresses topics from the need to regulate weights and measures to disputes about how to handle runaway slaves, how national politics are playing out locally, and the sense of those in the “Interior of the Territory” that they are being neglected in favor of New Orleans. He writes, “I hope they [the Legislature] will not give us reason to draw unfavorable inferences relative to their industry or capacity or reason. I think that they sepose the object of their creation was only to regulate New Orleans. We wish them to understand that we consider ourselves much neglected.”

In addition to the Sibley letters, the collection includes miscellaneous documents related to Claiborne’s family, a letter from Claiborne to his father recommending Gen. James Wilkinson (whom he describes as having served his country with fidelity), and two letters from Captain Edward Turner, Civil Commandant of the District of Natchitoches. Turner’s letters further illustrate the uneasy relations between the Creoles and the Americans. He reports the Creoles’ “wait and see” attitude about embracing the Americans, with them apparently hoping for the territory to be taken by the Spanish, and the role religion played in the mingling (or not) of the two populations. He writes, “They [Creoles] proposed to discountenance all persons settling within the district but true Romans, and they were to bind themselves to each other, to throw stumbling blocks in the way of any settler of different religious tenets- and to permit no person but a Roman Catholic to enter Church.”

This brief description gives only a hint of the rich sources in this collection. Though the documents are few in number, their writers were articulate, politically savvy, and, luckily for us, eager and able to convey a sense of the challenges of their duties and of the place in which they found themselves.

For additional information on this acquisition, contact Curator of Manuscripts Tara Laver,

Posted in Resources, Special Collections Tagged with: ,
One comment on “LSU acquires Claiborne Archive
  1. Robert Fortier-Bensen MD says:

    Chere Ms. Laver:
    How are you? I hope you are well.
    How can a researcher view the copies/ letters?
    I appreciate your time and advice.
    R. Fortier-Bensen MD

Resources & services available during COVID closures

Library buildings remain closed, but extensive services and resources are available.

Recent faculty publications


Blessinger, Kelly and Dave Comeaux. “User Experience with a New Public Interface for an Integrated Library System,” Information Technology in Libraries. Volume 39, Issue 1.

Lounsberry, Megan. “Troubleshooting electronic resources from an ILL perspective,” Technical Services Quarterly, Volume 37, Issue 3.

McDonald, Ebony. “2020 Regina Medal Recipient Christopher Paul Curtis,” Catholic Library World. 

Miles, John David.  “James Harrison and the Tensas Troubles of 1878,” Civil War Book Review: Volume 22, Issue 1 (Winter 2020).


Batte, Elizabeth; David Dunaway; Emily Frank; Sarah Mazur; and Laurie Phillips. “LOUIS Membership with Open Textbook Network Brings Incentive for Faculty OER Advocacy on Campuses,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 3 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Comeaux, Dave;  Emily Frank; and Mike Waugh. “Supporting Student Success: E-books as Course Materials,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Dunaway, David. “Bibliometrics for Faculty Evaluation: A Stastical Comparison of h-indexes Generated Using Google Scholar and Web of Science Data,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 3 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Haber, Natalie, Melissa Cornwell, & Andrea Hebert. “This worksheet works: Making the DLS Standards work for you,” College & Research Libraries News. 

Hawk, Amanda K. “Implementing Standardized Statistical Measures and Metrics for Public Services in Archival Repositories and Special Collections Libraries,” Proceedings of the 2018 Library Assessment Conference, (Association of Research Libraries, 2019): 836-843.

Hebert, Andrea and Jodi Duet. “’I’m Really Confident I Can Find the Exact IKEA Pillow’: A Qualitative Look at the Search Self-Efficacy of Graduating MLIS Students,” Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian.

Lounsberry, Megan. “No Textbooks Allowed! (Unless You’re a Graduate Student!): Louisiana State University Pilots an ILL Textbook Service. Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve, 28 (3/4): 61–73.

Miles, John David. “Colfax, Kate Grant, and the Domestication of Reconstruction’s Violence,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 2 (Spring 2019).

Miles, John David. “The Loyalty of West Point’s Graduates Debated,” Civil War Book Review. Volume 21, Issue 1 (Winter 2019).

Miller, Marty. “Curriculum, Departmental, and Faculty Mapping in the Visual Arts Department,” Art Documentation, Volume 38, Issue 1 (March 2019): 159-173.

Morgan, Randa L. “Libraries and Gardens: Growing Together.” Catholic Library World, Volume 90, Issue 1 (September 2019): 68.

O’Neill, Brittany; and  Allen LeBlanc. “Evaluating Trends in Instruction Scheduling Management: A Survey of Louisiana’s Academic Libraries,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Russo, Michael, “The Moon Belongs to Everyone:  ResearchGate and Subscription Databases Compared.”  Louisiana Libraries. Volume 81, Issue 3, (Winter 2019).

Russo, Michael, “Information Literacy through Service Learning” in Library Collaborations and Community Partnerships: Enhancing Health and Quality of Life.  Fannie M. Cox, Henry R. Cunningham, and Vickie Hines-Martin, eds., 2019.

Simms, Sarah; Hayley Johnson. “Hidden in Plain Sight,” 64 Parishes (Magazine of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities). Issue 4 (Summer 2019).

Simms, S., & Johnson, H. Subtle activism: Using the library exhibit as a social justice tool, Alexandria, Volume 29, Issue 1-2 (2019).

Ziegler, Scott; and Cara Key. “More Than a Pretty Interface: The Louisiana Digital Library as a Data Hub,” CODEX: Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL. Volume 5, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2019).

Ziegler, S.L. “Digitization Selection Criteria as Anti-Racist Action,” Code4Lib Journal. Issue 45 (2019).

Ziegler, S.L. and Steve Martin. “A Hidden Gem Becomes a Fertile Mining Ground: Historic Prison Admission Books and Data-Driven Digital Projects,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography Volume 143, Issue 3 (October 2019): 363-373.


Hebert, Andrea. “Information Literacy Skills of First-Year Library and Information Science Graduate Students: An Exploratory Study,” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Volume 13, Issue 3 (September 2018).

Miller, Marty. “Sacred vs. Profane in The Great War: A Neutral’s Indictment: Louis Raemaekers’s Use of Religious Imagery in Adoration of the Magi and Our Lady of Antwerp.” Catholic Library World, vol. 89, no. 1, Sept. 2018, pp. 20–32.

Rasmussen, Hans. “The Life and Death of Raquette in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans,” Sport History Review 49 (May 2018): 23-38.

Wilder, Stanley. “Delayed Retirements and the Youth Movement among ARL Library Professionals,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Wilder, Stanley. “Hiring and Staffing Trends in ARL Libraries,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Wilder, Stanley. “Selected Demographic Trends in the ARL Professional Population,” Research Library Issues, no. 295 (2018).

Ziegler, Scott; and Richard Shrake. “PAL: Toward a Recommendation System for Manuscripts,” Information Technology and Libraries, Vol. 37, No. 3 (2018).


Caminita, C.; Cook, M.; and Paster, A. (2017). Thirty years of preserving, discovering, and accessing U.S. agricultural information: Past progress and current challenges. Library Trends, 65(3), 293-315.

Dauterive, Sarah; John Bourgeois; and Sarah Simms. “How little is too little? An examination of information literacy instruction duration for freshmen.” Journal of Information Literacy, 11.1 (2017): 204-219.

Fontenot, Mitch; Emily Frank; and Andrea Hebert. “Going Where the Users Are: Three Variations on a Theme,” Louisiana Libraries, Fall 2017.

Hawk, Amanda K. “Highflying Crowdfunding: Creating a Successful Partnership with a Campus Donor,” Archival Outlook, July/August 2017: 12-13, 19.

Hebert, Andrea; and Marty Miller. (2017). Using FSA-OWI photographs to teach information and visual literacy. Louisiana Libraries, 79(3), 19–25.

Johnson, Hayley. “#NoDAPL: Social Media, Empowerment, and Civic Participation at Standing Rock,” Library Trends, Fall 2017.


Special Collections Hours

Contact Special Collections

Public Services Desk: (225) 578-6544

Reference Desk: (225) 578-6568

Fax: (225) 578-9425


Submit a reference question

RSS Feed RSS - Special Collections Posts