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Mattie Wilson diaries

Identifier: LaRC-843

Scope and Contents

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.


  • 1867-1890
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1867-1873


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. No known restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Biographical / Historical

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.


3.00 Volumes

Language of Materials



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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Howard Memorial Library. Date acquired: 12/10/1938.

Processing Information

Collection processed in 1992 by HB and ML.

LAC Group
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Tulane University Special Collections Repository

Jones Hall Room 202
6801 Freret Street
New Orleans 70118 US