Collection Number: 02234

Collection Title: Maunsel White Papers, 1802-1912

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.

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Size 1.25 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 110 items)
Abstract The papers of Irish immigrant Maunsel White (1783-1863) document the enslavement of more than 230 people on White’s sugar plantations in Plaquemines Parish, La., including Deer Range and Junior Place, and in Pointe Coupée Parish, La. ; sugar cultivation and production; and White’s work as a commission merchant and cotton factor in New Orleans, La. The collection contains business correspondence chiefly about marketing cotton, sugar, and other cash crops; letters to his son Maunsell White while the younger White attended the University of Virginia from 1850 to 1851; financial memoranda and records; autograph books; and plantation journals. In the journals, White and his surrogates recorded weather; daily operations; household activities; planting instructions; agricultural production and experimentation; job assignments; distribution of clothing and other necessities to enslaved people; and births, deaths, and marriages in the enslaved communities on his properties. Included in the correspondence is a letter dated 28 February 1842 from Andrew Jackson, whom White first encountered when he served as a militia commander during the Battle of New Orleans in 1814. Portions of this collection are available only on microfilm.
Creator White, Maunsel, 1783-1863
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
This collection contains additional materials that are not available for immediate or same day access. Please contact Research and Instructional Service staff at to discuss options for consulting these materials.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Maunsel White Papers #2234, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mrs. Thomas H. Anderson, San Francisco, Cal., in 1940, and Carl White, Tulsa, Okla., in 1953. Addition of August 1991 received from Stephen E. Wedding (Acc. 91123).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

The 1850 Federal Census Slave Schedule for Plaquemines Parish, La., enumerated on 22 August 1850 indicates that Maunsel White owned 192 enslaved people in that parish. The 1850 Federal Census Slave Schedule for Pointe Coupée Parish, La., enumerated on 9 September 1850 indicates that Maunsel White owned 44 enslaved people in that parish.

Maunsel White (1783-1863) was born near Limerick, Ireland, and orphaned at age six. He came to America at the age of thirteen. White settled in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, and became a New Orleans commission merchant and planter, operating Deer Range Plantation until his death in 1863. White and his wife (whose name is unknown) had four children: Maunsell White, Jr., Clara White (Mrs. Carl) Kohn, Mrs. Cuthbert Bullitt, and Mrs. Hu. Kennedy.

Maunsell White, Jr., attended Mandeville College in Mandeville, Louisiana, a school in Baton Rouge, and the University of Virginia, the latter in 1850-1851. He was appointed as a cadet in the U.S. Army, and then carried on management of Deer Range Plantation until 1876. Maunsell White, Jr., married Bettie Bradford in 1855; in 1858 he purchased Velasco Plantation, renaming it "Junior Place." The five children of Bettie and Maunsell White, Jr., include Maunsell White, III (1856-1912), Carl White, Nancy White (Mrs. Thomas) Anderson, David White, and Lucy White. Maunsell White, III, became a noted metallurgist and mining engineer.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection consists largely of the business correspondence and plantation records of Maunsel White and his son, Maunsell White, Jr.; documentation of their business interests is particularly strong from 1840 to 1875. Both Maunsel White and Maunsell White, Jr., used either a single or a double "l" when writing "Maunsell," making identification of some material difficult. It appears that the father was usually Maunsel and the son Maunsell. There is very little information regarding the Whites' family or personal lives.

Volumes pertain chiefly to the operation of the Deer Range Plantation and contain information about the enslaved people there including lists with names occasionally indicating specific occupations; records of marriages in the enslaved community; work assignments; and distributions of clothing and other necessities.

Scattered throughout volumes are brief travel accounts, records of White family births, and references to the Whites' family and social activities.

Other volumes include an autograph book belonging to Maunsell White, Jr., while he was at the University of Virginia, and a poetic autograph book addressed to one, Edward Miles at Saint Joseph's College in Louisiana.

Forty six letters dated 1805 to 1860, available only on microfilm, pertain chiefly to Maunsell White's business affairs and include comments on economic conditions, current events, and political appointments. Correspondence includes a copy of letter from Maunsell White to Andrew Jackson and a letter from Zachary Taylor to White. Letters from Maunsell White to his son, while the latter attended the University of Virginia, contain advice and admonitions regarding proper behavior and attitudes and news of family, business, and plantations.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Business Correspondence and Other Papers, 1806-1912 and undated.

49 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

One folder of loose items, consisting chiefly of letters relating to business activities of Maunsel White and Maunsell White, Jr., and a letter book of Maunsel White, 1845-1850. See also Series 3, consisting of microfilm of additional correspondence.

Topics of the loose letters include the prices of cotton and flour, freight rates, mortgages on Deer Range and other plantations, loans, and the sale of land. Also included are a letter, 24 January 1844, about Maunsel White's family history, a series of letters from Lyman D. Stickney in 1860, a program from the 1879 commencement ceremony of the Stevens Institute of Technology, listing Maunsell White, III, as a graduate, and obituaries and letters regarding the latter's death in 1912. Of note is a letter, 28 February 1842, from Andrew Jackson to Maunsel White in New Orleans, introducing his adopted son A. Jackson, Jr., making inquiry about business matters connected with the raising and marketing of cotton, commenting on economic conditions in the South, and inviting White to visit him. For White's reply, see Series 3. An undated letter from a joint committee of the legislature of Louisiana concerns fines imposed on General Andrew Jackson by D. W. Hall.

The letter book contains copies of letters written by Maunsel White at New Orleans and Deer Range Plantation. Letters in it relate primarily to the trade of cotton, sugar, molasses and corn, the purchase of machinery and building materials for White's plantation, and other business concerns. Other items include letters from White to his overseer, letters apparently relating to the construction of the Louisiana State House, and letters about the appointment of Maunsell White, Jr., as a cadet in the U.S. Army in 1850.

Folder 1

Loose papers, 1806-1912 and undated. #02234, Series: "1. Business Correspondence and Other Papers, 1806-1912 and undated." Folder 1

Folder 2

Maunsel White's letter book, 1845-1850 (volume 1) #02234, Series: "1. Business Correspondence and Other Papers, 1806-1912 and undated." Folder 2

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Plantation Records, Memorandum Book, and Autograph Books, 1802-1883.

10 items.

Journals, memorandum books, and other volumes pertaining to the operation of two sugar plantations owned by Maunsel White and Maunsell White, Jr., as well as a memorandum book, 1802 1804, in which Maunsel White detailed his expenses while in New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia, and two autograph books, circa 1850.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. Plantation Journals, 1852-1883.

7 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Folder 3

Deer Range Plantation journal, 1852-1870 (volume 2) #02234, Subseries: "2.1. Plantation Journals, 1852-1883." Folder 3

133 pages.

The Deer Range Plantation journal has three sections:

  • 1. Farm journal, 1852-1855, kept by Maunsell White, Jr. Contains records about enslaved people including accounts for work assignments and completion and for distribution of clothing and other necessities. Other records document crops raised, shipments sent, and White's trip to Petersburg, Va., Washington, D.C., New York, England, Ireland, and Paris.
  • 2. Farm journal, 1857-1858. Includes notation of the June 1858 purchase of "Junior Place," formerly Velasco Plantation.
  • 3. Farm journal (read from the back of the volume), 1852-1853 and 1863-1870. Contains records about enslaved people including a list of enslaved children and their mothers. Other records include a corn crop summary for the years 1852 and 1853, extensive farm journal entries noting weather and agricultural activities and production from September 1863 to September 1870, and a personal narrative by Maunsell White following the death of his father in 1863.

Folder 4

Maunsel White's memorandum book, 7 February 1856-7 February 1857 (volume 3) #02234, Subseries: "2.1. Plantation Journals, 1852-1883." Folder 4

80 pages.

"Maunsel White's Memorandum Book," a farm journal containing records of work, shipments, household activities, weather and river level, family health, and notations of other plantation events.

Folder 5

Deer Range Plantation memorandum book, 25 March 1858-25 March 1859 (volume 4) #02234, Subseries: "2.1. Plantation Journals, 1852-1883." Folder 5

88 pages.

"Deer Range Memorandums," kept by Maunsell White, Jr., containing records of plantation activity as above. Also included are family births, dinner guests, and an account of a trip to New Orleans.

Folder 6

Maunsell White, Jr.'s daily journal, 17 February 1859-29 May 1861 (volume 5) #02234, Subseries: "2.1. Plantation Journals, 1852-1883." Folder 6

60 pages.

"Daily Journal of Maunsell White, Jr." Plantation journal, probably of Junior Place, as there appears to be little or no duplication of the records of Deer Range, containing records of agricultural activity. Also included are records of developments in the personal, family, and social life of Maunsell White, Jr.

Folder 7

Deer Range Plantation memorandum book, 17 May 1860-10 May 1861 (volume 6) #02234, Subseries: "2.1. Plantation Journals, 1852-1883." Folder 7

94 pages.

Deer Range memorandums, kept by Maunsell White, Jr., containing records of plantation activity, as above. Also included is a separate record of sheep raised on the plantation.

Folder 8

Maunsell White, Jr.'s daily journal, 1861-1864 and 1871-1876 (volume 7) #02234, Subseries: "2.1. Plantation Journals, 1852-1883." Folder 8

86 pages.

"Daily Journal," kept by Maunsell White, Jr., containing records of agricultural activity, as well as developments in his personal, family and social life. This volume includes a separate record of cattle raised on the plantation. Gaps appear in the chronological record; entries for 1863, 1864 and 1876 are slight.

Folder 9

Maunsell White, Jr.'s daily journal, 1876-1883 (volume 8) #02234, Subseries: "2.1. Plantation Journals, 1852-1883." Folder 9

72 pages.

"Daily Journal," kept by Maunsell White, Jr., for Junior Place, containing records of agricultural and household activities. Records after 1878 are scattered.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. Memorandum Book and Autograph Books, 1802-1850s.

3 items.
Folder 10

Maunsel White's New Orleans journal and daybook, 1802-1804 (volume 9) #02234, Subseries: "2.2. Memorandum Book and Autograph Books, 1802-1850s." Folder 10

63 pages.

A detailed record of White's personal cash expenditures in New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia; loans; some mercantile business transactions; a list of letters received; and other entries. White's death notice, 1863, is pasted to the first page.

Folder 11

Maunsell White, Jr.'s autograph book, 1850-1851 (volume 10) #02234, Subseries: "2.2. Memorandum Book and Autograph Books, 1802-1850s." Folder 11

77 pages.

Entries, many with messages to White, were made by fellow students while White was attending the University of Virginia. Lithographs of several faculty members are included.

Folder 12

Poetry and autograph book, circa 1846 (volume 11) #02234, Subseries: "2.2. Memorandum Book and Autograph Books, 1802-1850s." Folder 12

42 pages.

Poems, apparently from female admirers, addressed to an Edward Miles, upon his departure from Saint Joseph's College in Louisiana. Most pseudonyms are accompanied by authors' names, in another hand.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Microfilm.

2 reels.
Reel M-2234/1

Business and personal letters of Maunsel White and Maunsell White, Jr. #02234, Series: "3. Microfilm." Reel M-2234/1

46 items.

Acquisitions information: After this film was produced at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1940, the original manuscripts that appear on it were returned to their owner, Mrs. Thomas H. Anderson of San Francisco; the location of these originals was unknown to the staff of the Southern Historical Collection in 1990.

Topics of letters include cotton shipments, economic conditions, crop predictions, family and local health and sickness, and other plantation affairs. Of note in this correspondence is a copy of a letter from White to Andrew Jackson in response to Jackson's letter of February 1842 (see Series 1), in which White discussed business conditions, banks, Jackson's business with White, and an invitation to the Hermitage. Also of interest is a letter from Zachary Taylor in Monterrey, Mexico, regarding Louisiana news, crops, and business.

The majority of the microfilmed letters are from Maunsel White to Maunsell White, Jr., written chiefly while the latter was away at school, first at Mandeville College in Mandeville, La., later in Baton Rouge, La., and lastly at the University of Virginia. The earliest of these letters contain fatherly advice. Later letters, from the 1850s and 1860s, are chiefly concerned with business matters in connection with the plantations and markets in New Orleans. Letters written while Maunsel White was on a trip to Red Sweet Springs, Va., to restore his health contain specific directions, advice, and inquiries. Other letters report on plantation affairs: the progress of crops, livestock, health and disease, storms and harmful weather conditions, general plantation news, news of business in New Orleans, and general topics. Of special interest is a letter of 13 June 1847 in which Maunsel White described the reception given in New Orleans to returning veterans of the Mexican War.

Reel M-2234/2

Plantation records and account book, 1833-1843 . #02234, Series: "3. Microfilm." Reel M-2234/2

Acquisitions information: Original volume was lent for microfilming in 1991 and returned to the donor. Information in the description below was supplied by William K. Scarborough of the University of Southern Mississippi, who examined the original volume. Addition of August 1991. (Acc. 91123)

This account book for the Deer Range sugar plantation in Plaquemines Parish, La., supplements the records of this plantation that are already in the collection, covering what appears to have been its first decade of ownership by White, who continued to reside in New Orleans during this period. The book is disorganized, but it includes a table of contents covering the first 90 pages of the volume.

Most entries were made by white overseer A. B. Stoddbard, who was paid at the rate of $1,000 per annum and who died in the summer of 1843. The only entries made by White appear to be those during rolling season, 1839-1840, when he made periodic visits to the plantation between 11 October 1839 and 27 January 1840.

The volume contains information about enslaved people including lists with names of the enslaved and occasional indications of specific occupations; records of marriages in the enslaved community from 1837 to 1842; work assignments; accounts of payments for Sunday work and extra assignments, such as digging stumps; distribution records for clothing, mosquito nets, sheets, and socks; White's expenses for clothing distributed to enslaved people (e.g., $670.00 in October 1836). The distribution lists show the cost of each item and the total costs of clothing for enslaved men and enslaved women.

Other information includes stock inventories; accounts of sugar production from 1834 to 1839; record of agricultural experiments and instructions for planting cane dated 1835; and a list of furnishings at Deer Range dated 10 December 1836.

The book reveals that the enslaved population at Deer Range increased from 54 in April 1833 to 125 in April 1840, and that sugar production rose from 76 hogsheads in 1834 to approximately 455 hosgheads in 1839.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4. Pictures, undated.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Image folder: PF-2234/1

Microfilm reels: M-2234/1-2

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Processing Information

Processed by: Marla Miller and Roslyn Holdzkom, January 1992

Encoded by: Joseph Nicholson, February 2006

Edited by: Laura Hart, August 2019

Since August 2017, we have added ethnic and racial identities for individuals and families represented in collections. To determine identity, we rely on self-identification; other information supplied to the repository by collection creators or sources; public records, press accounts, and secondary sources; and contextual information in the collection materials. Omissions of ethnic and racial identities in finding aids created or updated after August 2017 are an indication of insufficient information to make an educated guess or an individual's preference for identity information to be excluded from description. When we have misidentified, please let us know at

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