Mattie Wilson diaries, 1867-1890 | Louisiana Research Collection

By LAC Group

Collection Overview

Title: Mattie Wilson diaries, 1867-1890

Predominant Dates:1867-1873

ID: LaRC/Manuscripts Collection 843

Primary Creator: Wilson, Mattie.

Extent: 3.0 Volumes

Arrangement: The collection is arranged chronologically. The collection consists of three volumes.

Date Acquired: 10/00/1939

Subjects: Books and reading., Diaries -- Women authors., Levees -- Mississippi River., Plantation life -- Louisiana -- Tensas Parish -- History -- 19th century., Plantations -- Mississippi River., Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Louisiana., Steamboats -- Mississippi River -- History., Tensas Parish (La.) -- History., Wilson, Mattie., Women -- Southern States -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.

Forms of Material: Diaries., Poetry.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of the diaries of a Tensas Parish woman, Mattie Wilson, who lived on a Mississippi River plantation with her father and three brothers: William, Smith, and Fenton. Her diaries are full of poetry, philosophy, and religious thoughts. She records the weather daily, conditions of the river, steamboats that pass, books and journals she reads, her sewing projects, her household chores, plantation events, and her social activities.

She names the books, newspapers, and magazines she reads; she writes about politics, both national and local; illnesses and medications; pastimes such as card games, piano playing, parties and dances, visits to and from neighbors and friends, trips. She writes constantly about her "true love" far away.

Biographical Note

Mattie Wilson was a Tensas Parish woman who lived on a Mississippi River plantation with her father and three brothers: William, Smith, and Fenton during the mid-nineteenth century. Her mother apparently passed away. She may have attended a convent school, either in Vicksburg or in New Orleans. She subscribed to and read newspapers and magazines. She was unmarried and wrote constantly about and received letters from her "true love," Allen Davis of Louisiana, who traveled to Vera Cruz and Corpus Christi. She was Catholic and read a Bible chapter each night. Her brother Smith married her friend Carrie Bush of Richland Plantation, and her brother William married her friend Cora, the niece of George Douglass. Wilson originally lived on the bank of the Mississippi River, but it had to be evacuated and rebuilt away from the river several times due to flooding.

Subject/Index Terms

Books and reading.
Diaries -- Women authors.
Levees -- Mississippi River.
Plantation life -- Louisiana -- Tensas Parish -- History -- 19th century.
Plantations -- Mississippi River.
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Louisiana.
Steamboats -- Mississippi River -- History.
Tensas Parish (La.) -- History.
Wilson, Mattie.
Women -- Southern States -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.

Administrative Information

Repository: Louisiana Research Collection

Access Restrictions: Collection is open to the public. No known restrictions.

Use Restrictions: Physical rights are retained by the Louisiana Research Collection. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.

Acquisition Source: Howard Memorial Library.

Preferred Citation: Mattie Wilson diaries, Manuscripts Collection 843, Louisiana Research Collection, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118.

Processing Information: Collection processed in 1992 by HB and ML.

Finding Aid Revision History: Finding aid information entered in Archon by LAC Group in 2011.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Volume:

[Volume 1: Diary, 1867 January 1-1873 June 18],
[Volume 2: Diary, 1880 August 23-1882 January 31],
[Volume 3: Diary, 1887 January 8-1890 March 15],
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Volume 3: Diary, 1887 January 8-1890 March 15


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