Mississippi State University Libraries Mississippi State University Mississippi State University

The plantation collections include diaries, correspondence, record and account books, maps, photographs and other materials that document the history of both planters, sharecroppers and enslaved persons in Mississippi and elsewhere in the South.

For more information:

Jennifer McGillan, Coordinator of Manuscripts

   (662) 325-3071             jmcgillan@library.msstate.edu

Abbott (Liberty C.) family papers
MSS. 1. 1883-1926 (Bulk Dates: 1859-1930). 5.75 cubic feet.

The collection includes the papers of Liberty C. Abbott (1836-1894), an official and plantation owner of Howard, Mississippi, his wife Maria Abbott (1830-1912), his daughter Birdie Jones Gearhart (1869-1946), and his brother F. Marion Abbott (1844-1908), Mississippi state senator and railroad president. The papers contain correspondence, ledgers and account books, legal documents, diaries, newspaper clippings, photographs, and miscellany.

Barnes (Harris) papers
MSS. 639. 1897, 1930s-2006. circa 85 cubic feet.

Papers of MSU alumnus and agricultural journalist and photographer Harris Barnes (1918-2006), who grew up on his father's small farm in Coahoma County, Mississippi, graduated from Clarksdale High School and MSU in 1941. Barnes worked as farm manager for several plantations in Coahoma County from 1946-1969, including Baugh Plantation, Lea Plantation and King and Anderson/Oakhurst Plantation. As a journalist, he did freelance work for Progressive Farmer and also worked for Farm Quarterly, Delta Farm Press, Southeast Farm Press. As a freelance journalist, he was owner of Harris Barnes Rural Services from 1988-2006. Barnes served in key roles for the American Soybean Association, the Soybean Council of America and the Mississippi Soybean Association. His publications include The Pick of the Crop: A Collection of Recipes (Drew, Miss.: North Sunflower PTA, 1978 - Cover by Barnes); Between the Levees: A Collection of Mississippi Delta Recipes (Cleveland, Miss.: Delta Rice Promotions, 1994 - Photographs by Barnes); Cotton: A 50-Year Pictorial History (Brandon, Miss: True Exposures Pub., 2002); The Beauty of Southern Agriculture (Brandon, Miss.: True Exposures Pub., 2004); and The Good Ol' Days on the Cotton Farm (2006). Collection bulks with 201,699 images in a variety of formats, including transparencies, negatives, prints, and slides of various sizes. Other materials included are correspondence, scripts, financial materials, and clippings and publications documenting the work of Harris Barnes with publishers and individuals, his business interests, his family and Mississippi State University. Collection is unprocessed; box inventories are available. Contact Special Collections for assistance.

Brigance (Louise) collection
MSS. 614. 1860-2005. 2 cubic feet.

Brochures, catalogs, magazines, maps, music, photographs and many miscellaneous items collected by J. D. French and Louise Brigance, including materials documenting ships, ship modeling and Mississippi history. Contains broadside: "Farms for One Dollar: Chances for All, Rich and Poor.–The Best Plantations in the South, Subdivided, " published by the Southern Asylum Land Company, Hernando, Mississippi, 1867.

Buena Vista album
MSS. 633. circa 1990's-2005. 0.08 cubic feet.

Album of photographs of Buena Vista Plantation house, Vicksburg, Mississippi, taken before and after renovation. Photocopies and digital images. Loaned for copying by Rogers family.

Burkitt (Frank) papers
MSS. 162. 1888-1912. 0.16 cubic feet.

Clippings and articles from Okolona, Mississippi, newspapers including the Chickasaw Messenger concerning Frank Burkitt, editor and Populist Party candidate.

Butts (Alfred Benjamin) papers
MSS. 163. 1865-1892. 0.16 cubic feet.

Agreement with freedmen, Sept. 14, 1865, concerning work on the Caldwell Plantation, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi; 2 bonds issued by Oktibbeha County "in payment of stock of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad Company," 1 note concerning interest paid, 1892; and 1 typescript of A.B. Butts' work, "Civil Service in American Cities".

Cammack (Abner) collection
MSS. 164. 1883-1886. 0.33 cubic feet.

Records of the C.D. Benton & Company plantation store at Burnett, Louisiana include letter book, 1883-1886, with copies of correspondence relating to supplies and cotton sales; ledger of accounts, 1882-1883 and 11 loose items documenting supplies purchased, cotton stored and other transactions with share croppers and other customers in the Burch's Bend area.

Cobb (Joseph B.) estate papers
MSS. 377. 1858-1861. 0.08 cubic feet.

Photocopies from the Lowndes County Courthouse of the estate papers of Joseph B. Cobb, humorist and author of Mississippi Scenes. Among the topics are a rebellion on one of Cobb's plantations and the hiring of dogs to catch run-away Cobb slaves. Cobb was a Unionist and a Whig.

Delta and Pine Land Company records
MSS. 101. 1886-1982. 104.33 cubic feet and 53 volumes.

Correspondence, annual reports, minutes, financial records, maps, oral history interviews, publications and other records documenting the history of the Delta and Pine Land Company. While headquartered in Scott, Mississippi, the company was owned by a British firm throughout most of its history, and at various times it had offices in Arizona, California, and Texas. Advertised during one period as the world's largest cotton plantation, Delta and Pine Land Company grew a variety of crops and became famous for its research and development of cotton varieties. Among the major subjects in the collection are agriculture, cotton seed research, the tenant farming system, the National Cotton Council, the New Deal, the Mississippi River flood of 1927, the Mississippi Delta, and various agricultural organizations. Correspondence, annual reports, minutes, financial records, maps, oral history interviews, and other records documenting the history of the Delta and Pine Land Company. Includes records about African-American tenant farmers.

Dockery (William Alfred) family papers
MSS. 507. 1881-1980 (Bulk Dates: 1887-1906). 1 cubic foot.

The papers comprise primarily correspondence of the family of William A. Dockery (1865-1936), owner of the Dockery plantation in Mississippi.

Drane papers
MSS. 190. 1850-1853, 1955. 0.33 cubic feet.

Letters of Lowndes County, Mississippi, pioneer Stephen A. Brown and his father-in-law, Richardson Owen, from Alabama and Arkansas, 1851, 1853; two undated letters to "Dear Lucy from Father"; "Ramblings", a 1955 reminiscence by Mrs. Effie Robinson Drane of Choctaw County, Mississippi, concerns the Alexander Samuel Robinson family plantation at Bywy, Choctaw County, Mississippi. "Cemetery Record, Mayhew, Mississippi", compiled by Ellen Drane Mauldin. Typed copies.

Glass negative collection
MSS. 399. 1915-1927 and undated. circa 11 cubic feet.

Collection of images in glass and film negative format, produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) at its branch laboratory at Tallulah, Louisiana, under the direction of entomologist B.R. Coad. The images document the U.S.D.A.'s boll weevil eradication experiments using first lead arsenate, and then calcium arsenate. "Methods of applying calcium arsenate by air and by airplane and by ground machines were worked out at Tallulah. Many investigations were carried on there in the effort to find other means of combating the boll weevil". The bulk of the images document investigations carried out at Tallulah, including those done at Shirley, Algodon and other plantations, and at other Louisiana locations. Some 52 images depict experiments which were done in Mississippi at: the Delta and Pine Land cotton plantation at Scott; Warren Plantation at Rosedale: Scotland Plantation at Beulah: Virginia Plantation at Lobdell; Dunleith Plantation at Dunleith. Other places included are: Panther Burn Plantation at Luna Landing, Arkansas; farms at Roosevelt, Hearn, Ozona, Victoria, Texas and Mexico. Many images were not identified by place. The images show many different types of agricultural machinery, especially cotton industry machinery. Also included are air photographs relating to airplane dusting operations, which depict cotton fields, individual residences, scenes around Louisiana and Mississippi places, and plate tests on clouds. Some miscellaneous images include views of research plots, plant toxicity studies, the Tri-Parish Fair at Tallulah, a convention of entomologists, the Delta and Talullah laboratories; a Louisiana picnic given by the Levee Board for African-American levee workers after the levee held back the waters during the 1922 flood. Collection comprises 1018 glass negatives and 502 film negatives.

Herring (Todd A.) collection
MSS. 658. 1691-2010 and undated. 18 cubic feet.

Letters, travelers' accounts, estate records, slave lists, business records, military records, waybills, photographs, rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, publications, artifacts and audiovisual materials collected by Dr. Todd A. Herring. The collection extensively documents Mississippi and Louisiana plantation culture and history with extensive documentation of Natchez and Adams County, and towns and communities in Jefferson, Claiborne and Wilkinson Counties. A smaller series documents North Mississippi and Alabama history including Columbus, Aberdeen, Holly Springs, Oxford and other towns. Other materials document Oktibbeha and Clay Counties persons, families and topics, family history, early American history, world history and the professional and personal activities of Herring. Collection is arranged in 13 series and preserved and described by Dr. Herring. Additions expected.

Knox (James) diary
MSS. 274. 1848-1851. 0.04 cubic feet.

The diary of James Knox (1786-1864), which begins in March 1848 and ends in February 1851, records the weather and the daily operations of his plantation in Pickens County, Alabama, including sowing, plowing, harvesting, and selling. He refers to several slaves by name, most often Patrick and Alvin. Knox's regular attendance at church and presbytery meetings is recorded in the diary, along with information about the pastors and their sermon texts. Ministers James Somerville, J. L. Kirkpatrick, Thomas Morrow, and A. P. Silliman are often mentioned. The diary also includes notes about social visits and family travels to Mississippi, Tuscaloosa, and elsewhere. Prior to its transcription in 2012, the diary was attributed to William M. Stone of Meridian, Mississippi and was known as the William M. Stone diary.

Lenoir Family Plantation Records
MSS. 585. 1792-2001 (Bulk Dates: 1850-1930). 8.5 cubic feet.

Plantation records and family papers (1792, 1820-1963), of the extended family of William T. Lenoir (1811-1960) and Mary E. Blanchard Lenoir (1810-1894), of Prairie (Muldon), Monroe County, Mississippi. Includes a letter about Amanda, a slave accused of trying to poison the milk with strychnine (1856). Letters include much discussion of slaves, particularly "Mom Nancy."

Love (Drennan) Collection
MSS. 543. 1763-2006. 57 cubic feet.

Collection of Lowndes County plantation owner Drennan C. Love and family includes a 900 page manuscript reminiscence of his son, William Alexander Love, written in 1925. Love was a planter, writer, historian and amateur archaeologist. The William Alexander Love reminiscence includes references to African-Americans' membership in Bethel Church (Lowndes County, Miss.), slavery and slaves, an African-American wedding, and customs and behavior in general. Other topics mentioned include the Freedman's Bureau and Uncle Remus. The reminiscence has been transcribed and indexed.

Mabry (Malcolm H.) collection
MSS. 607. 0.12 cubic feet.

Exhibit and published materials created and collected by Mabry and documenting the mechanical cotton picker as used in the Mississippi Delta, including Hopson Plantation.

Mary Holmes College sharecropper oral histories collection
MSS. 669. 1969-1972. 11.4 cubic feet.

Collection of 340+ oral histories conducted with African-American men and women from 1969-1972 by the staff of Mary Holmes College, West Point, Mississippi. Participants were living at various locations within the state, with a strong concentration on Clay and Monroe Counties. Questions focus on slavery and family background, plantation and farming origins and sharecropping in the 20th century. A few civil rights questions were asked. Principal interviewers were Clarence M. Simmons, Alvin Thomas and Willie Wade Pulliam. A few interviews were conducted by librarians and students. Included are reel-to-reel tapes and transcripts. The collection was donated in 2006, after Mary Holmes College closed. Restrictions apply; collection must be used in the library and may only be cited with permission of interviewee.

Pickens collection
MSS. 245. 1864-1908, 1961 and undated. 0.33 cubic feet.

Materials collected and donated by Sue (Fannie Sue) Waller (1880-1968) include scattered documentation of the activities of her uncle, J.O. (John Oliver) Pickens (1814-1886), owner of sugar plantations in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Materials documenting Pickens include two Civil War receipts for money and coupons, accounts concerning assets in Texas (1867, 1885), New Orleans Sanitary and Fertilizing Company stock certificate (1872), patent for a cotton bale tie invented by John G. Angell of New Orleans and transfer of the patent to Pickens (1874, 1878), receipts and checks (1882-1883 and undated). The remaining materials document the New Orleans and Magnolia, Louisiana, purchases and the Supreme Lodge Knights of Honor membership of William C. Waller (1852-1930), father of Sue Waller. Also donated were six issues of Pike County newspapers (1893-1908) and an 1865 clipping from The Southern Sentinel (Alexandria, Louisiana) which was used to wrap Confederate money inherited and sold by Sue Waller.

Preston (Zenas) diary
MSS. 252. 1850-1853. 0.08 cubic feet.

Plantation on Lake St. Peter across river from Natchez, Mississippi. Refers to plantation life of the period: slaves, crops, levees and floods, diseases, prescriptions, taxes, road work, weather.

Rice (Nannie Herndon) family papers
MSS. 24. 1824-2003. circa 35 cubic feet.

Family papers of Nannie Herndon Rice, librarian at Mississippi State University. Correspondence, diaries, genealogical data, deeds, ledgers, claims, estate papers, bills of sale for slaves, rent and labor contracts, school reports (1866-71), photographs and other papers of Miss Rice and members of her family. Papers of Miss Rice describe Meadow Woods, the Rice plantation in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, her student days at Mississippi State College for Women, Columbia University, Vassar College Training Camp for Nurses, and the University of Illinois, and associations as a librarian at Mississippi State University. Other papers include those of Miss Rice's grandparents, John W. Rice and Augusta (Hopkins) Rice, her father, Arthur H. Rice, physician and planter of Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, her great-uncle and aunt, John James Walker and Maria (Hopkins) Walker, her paternal great-grandfather, Arthur Francis Hopkins, of Alabama, and others, relating to the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Mississippi Legislature, travel in Europe, and other subjects. Correspondents include Braxton Bragg, H.L. Mencken, Pauline V. Orr, LeRoy Percy, LeRoy Pope Walker, Percy Walker, Richard Henry Wilde, and John Sharp Williams. Unpublished guide in the library. Information on literary rights available in the library. Additions: In process.

Shaw (Thompson B.) - McKell collection
MSS. 12. 1818-1901. 0.33 cubic feet.

Papers of Thompson B. Shaw (1796-1854), plantation owner of Jefferson County, collected by the McKell family. Includes personal and family correspondence (1828-1898); business papers relating to the plantation, statements of accounts and receipts (1818-1860), and items (1824-1866) dealing with cotton factors. Deposited by C.V. McKell, Starkville, Mississippi, 1959.

Smith-Oakes plantation papers
MSS. 272. 1860-1885. 0.33 cubic feet and 1 reel microfilm.

Records of Lowndes County, Mississippi, plantation owned by John McLaughlin Smith. Ledger, 1860-1883; plantation journal (photocopy), 1879-1885. Contents: Horse records, 1863-1877; list of slaves; accounts, 1860. Journal primarily contains weather notes, but also contains a few references to lynching, Negroes, and the Kansas exodus (1879).

Thomas (James Talbert, III) collection
MSS. 510. 1896-1972. 1.5 cubic feet.

Plantation records of Egypt Plantation near Kruger, Holmes County, Mississippi, which has been successively owned by James Talbert Thomas II, James Talbert Thomas III and other family members. Includes deeds, abstracts of title and other land records, ledgers and other business records, wills and legal records. Originals and some photocopies. See also Howard Langfitt collection for script and photos of farm.

Waverley Mansion collection
MSS. 325. 1836-1982. 1 cubic foot.

Papers and photographs concerning the antebellum plantation Waverley, which was built in Clay County, Mississippi, in the 1850s by George Hampton Young.

Waverley Miscellaneous Collection
MSS. 289. 1908 and undated. 0.01 cubic feet.

Documents found at Waverley Plantation in 1936 include a list of recipes for medicine on which is found an entry entitled "Negro Whipping" with a list of names and places.