News & Notes

Reading Room exhibit features recently processed collections

Posted in Exhibitions, Special Collections Tagged with: , , ,

Visitors to the reading room at Hill Memorial Library can now view a selection of materials from several recently processed collections. These collections, while small, contain a wealth of information for researchers, and provide an example of the many new resources becoming more readily accessible at Special Collections. The display also places a spotlight on African-American history, from the antebellum period through the early 20th century. Selections include:

William Newton Mercer Inventory and Slave List, Mss. 5210

While slave lists are common to the antebellum plantation records in LSU Special Collections, less frequently seen are inventories that include slaves’ surnames. Many slaves did use surnames that were passed on through generations of families, and often retained if sold to a new owner. In most cases, these names were not recorded. At large plantations, however, the sheer number of slaves sometimes prompted their use in record keeping. One such inventory is found in a booklet entitled, “List of Negroes,” dating to 1846, which records slaves at three of William Newton Mercer’s plantations. A physician and native of Maryland, Mercer established a medical practice in Natchez, Mississippi, and owned numerous properties including Buckhurst, Ellis Cliffs, and Ormande plantations in Adams County. Alongside names, ages, and family relationships, the book lists surnames for some, mostly male, slaves.

William Newton Mercer slave list

William Newton Mercer Inventory and Slave List, Mss. 5210

Martin Morris Correspondence, Mss. 3699

Martin Morris Correspondence

Martin Morris Correspondence, Mss. 3699

Martin Morris, a native of Napoleonville, Louisiana, served as an army corporal in the 812th Pioneer Infantry during World War I. African-American soldiers were most often relegated to these types of service units, where individuals were trained in both regular infantry tactics as well as “pioneer” duties: performing construction and engineering work such as building fortifications, camps, and roads. The 812th was one of 16 Pioneer regiments with black enlisted personnel, formed as replacements for white units converting to regular infantry.

While in training at Camp Grant, near Rockford, Illinois, Morris wrote home to family members in Louisiana, expressing an ambivalence toward the army that was common among African-American soldiers. In a September 7, 1918 letter to his father, Morris describes his desire to “make a man” of himself, and comments that “this is a very fine place here, a man is a man. I mean a colord [sic] man is as much as a white one,” but “not as much in some respects.” Other letters describe military life, playing in the 812th Infantry band, and Morris’ health, as he addresses fears about frequent outbreaks of the pandemic “Spanish flu,” which led to a quarantine at Camp Grant.

Samuel Parkhurst Ward Papers, Mss. 3540, 3699

The Samuel Parkhurst Ward Papers consist primarily of account books belonging to Ward, a doctor, Indiana native, and resident of St. Landry Parish. Similar to customer accounts for store goods or merchandise, these ledgers track patients, medical visits, and records of medicine dispensed by Ward. Numerous entries mark medical visits to slaves, listed under overseers’ accounts. These brief descriptions give insight into medical care for slaves prior to and during the Civil War. Other materials in this collection, which range from 1859-1906, include clippings and notes on politics, local community news, and remedies for livestock diseases.

Fournier Family Photograph Album, Mss. 3540

In addition to these written inventories, a number of photographs are among newly processed collections adding visual depth to manuscript sources. The Fournier Family Photograph Album contains nearly three dozen photographs belonging to the Fourniers, an African-American family. Although little is known of the family’s history or photographs’ origins, the album, consisting mostly of tintype portraits from the later 19th century, gives us vivid images from this time in Louisiana’s past.

Fournier Family Photographs

Fournier Family Photograph Album, Mss. 3540

Posted in Exhibitions, Special Collections Tagged with: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

LSU Senior Gift

On Display

In the News

Made in New Orleans
“Hill Memorial Library showcases ‘Made in New Orleans: The Past in Print’,” The Daily Reveille

Made in New Orleans
On exhibit: ‘Made in New Orleans’ at LSU Hill Memorial Library, March 19-June 8,” inRegister

Letterform Characters
“Hill Memorial Library exhibit explores history of typeface,”  The Daily Reveille

Through the Valley of Death
“Hill Memorial Library debuts WWI exhibit,” The Daily Reveille

Investigating Sherlock
“LSU’s Hill Memorial hosts Sherlock Holmes exhibit,” The Daily Reveille

Jazz Fest 101: A Showcase of Student Oral History Research
“Hill Memorial Library displays ‘Jazz Fest 101,’ explores festival’s past,” The Daily Reveille

A Voyage to the Floating World: Japanese Illustrated Books and East-West Cultural Exchange in the Nineteenth Century
“On Exhibit: A Voyage to the Floating World,” inRegister

Advancing Scholarship & Learning for 80 Years: LSU Press and The Southern Review
“Hill Memorial Library Displays History of LSU Press, Southern Review,” The Daily Reveille

A la Militaire” – The Battle of New Orleans
“Hill Memorial opens ‘A la Militaire,'” The Daily Reveille

Cooperative Extension at LSU
“AgCenter: Louisiana resource for 100 years,”
The Advertiser


I Remember: An Art Show of Environmental Significance
“Time for oil and gas industry to come to the table on coastal restoration,” BR Business Report

The Relentless Pursuit of “Equal”
“Integration Exhibit Opens,” LSU Daily Reveille

Centuries of Style
“Style Stories,” The Advocate

“Clothing as Social History,” nola.com

Of Kin & Cane
LSU Daily Reveille

Blacks in the Red Stick
LSU Daily Reveille

Louisiana for Bibliophiles
The Advocate

Change(less): Photography and the Ephemeral Made Permanent
DIG Magazine

Special Collections Hours

Contact Special Collections

Public Services Desk: (225) 578-6544

Reference Desk: (225) 578-6568

Fax: (225) 578-9425

Email: special@lsu.edu

Reference via e-mail

RSS Feed RSS - Special Collections Posts