Guide to the Louis Manigault Papers, 1776-1883


Collection contains correspondence, account book, memorandum book (1858), notebook (1852), prescription book (1852), plantation records, and other papers (chiefly 1840-1878), of Louis Manigault and of members of his family. The papers contain information on Charleston, South Carolina, including social and economic conditions, student life at private schools, and the fire of December, 1861; management of a rice plantation, with comments on the transition from slave to free labor; and travel in Paris, London, Brussels, and other places in Europe. Includes a few Civil War letters, an account book of Manigault while at Yale, and letters from a family member at school at the Lyceé Impérial in Paris.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Louis Manigault papers
1776-1883, bulk 1840-1878
Manigault, Louis
3 Linear Feet, 6 boxes (2,042 items)
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Collection Overview

Papers of Louis Manigault and the Manigault family contain letters of many family members including Joseph Manigault, a loyalist living in England during the American Revolution, whose letters to his father in America describe his activities and the difficulties of his position. Letters dated 1802-1808 comment on a drought in Virginia, 1806, criticize the people of the South Carolina up-country, 1808, and discuss the effect of the embargo on Charleston, 1809. Letters from 1808-1824 are from Margaret (Izard) Manigault to her family concerning family affairs and describing the life of the upper class in Charleston, South Carolina, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Personal and family papers of Charles Izard Manigault, 1820-1837, include letters from friends in the Far East and Africa and a military expedition in Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, in 1821; a description of Boston and its foreign trade; comments on the effects of the panic of 1819 in Charleston and Philadelphia; a travel journal kept by one of Ralph I. Manigault's sisters on a trip through the northeastern United States and Canada in 1825; and a description of a cholera epidemic in Philadelphia in 1832. There are also correspondence of Louis Manigault as a student at Yale College, New Haven, Connecticut, in the 1840s, and letters throughout the ante-bellum period on the activities of Delta Beta Phi fraternity at Yale.

Letters and papers, 1837-1883, concern the management of a number of rice plantations owned by Louis Manigault and Charles Izard Manigault, particularly Gowrie plantation on Argyle Island, including slave lists, work schedules, business papers, instructions to overseers, records of provisions and care of slaves, lists of prices for rice, records for construction and maintenance of canals and fields, and correspondence on all phases of plantation work. There is also material reflecting the difficulty of working the plantations after the Civil War, particularly troubles with free labor.

Civil War letters pertain to family life; the Charleston fire of 1861; the effect of disunion on the market for rice and on the discipline of slaves; the imprisonment of a member of the Manigault family at Fort Delaware; and a letter, 1864, critical of conditions at Andersonville Prison, Georgia, and a map of the prison. Louis Manigault's papers, 1878-1882, concern his work as secretary to the Belgian consulate in Charleston and contain a list of Belgian consuls in Charleston, 1834-1882, with biographical information for many of the men. Three of the volumes in the collection relate to Louis Manigault's management of Gowrie plantation, including a prescription book for slave medicines, 1852; a notebook on the preparation of land for rice planting, 1852; and a memorandum book, 1858. There is also an account book from Louis Manigault's days as a student at Yale College, 1845.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], in the Louis Manigault Papers Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Letters, 1776-1846
(4 folders)
Box 1
Letters, 1847-1853
(4 folders)
Box 2
Letters, 1854-1859
(5 folders)
Box 3
Letters, 1860-1871
(7 folders)
Box 4
Letters, 1871-1878
(7 folders)
Box 5
Letters, 1879-1882 and undated
(3 folders)
Box 6
Printed materials, clippings, pictures, fragments, volumes, undated
(5 folders)
Box 6
Journal: Elizabeth Heyward Manigault, 1825
(1 folder)
Box 6

Historical Note

Louis Manigault was a planter and a manager of a rice plantation from Charleston, South Carolina who chronicled the life of his hometown, including social and economic conditions, in the years surrounding the Civil War.

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The Louis Manigault papers were acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library between 1939 and 1951.

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Processed by Rubenstein Library staff.