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Introduction

A Digital Collection for Study and Research

The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 stands as the most significant event in the westward expansion of the United States and as an experiment to incorporate a substantially different culture. This LSU Libraries’ Special Collections digital project emphasizes the diverse history of that pivotal event. Included are books published in or about Louisiana during the period, including travel accounts, political tracts, and scientific and religious works. Materials include maps ranging from original plans of Baton Rouge and New Orleans to sketchier depictions of the Louisiana frontier; pamphlets and government records and publications documenting the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, two events that frame the period; French-language pamphlets depicting society and commerce; and manuscripts. The manuscripts include letters and official documents of government officials and bodies, family papers of Louisiana residents, and accounts of travelers. Many of the documents deal with New Orleans, which was then the largest city in the South and the nation’s second largest port. Others reflect events in the geographic area that would become the state of Louisiana in 1812, as well as the vast new western areas claimed by the United States. All materials document the remarkable ethnic and cultural heritage of Louisiana during this period.

The materials in this collection come from the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections of the Louisiana State University Libraries, and the New Orleans City Archives and Louisiana Collection of the New Orleans Public Library. The project is a partnership with these two libraries and the LSU Digital Library and has been funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Acknowledgments

Many people have contributed to this project.

Prime Mover: Faye Phillips, Associate Dean of Libraries for Special Collections and Principle Investigator for the IMLS grant
Digital Project Librarian: Angela Akinniyi
Webmaster and designer: Matthew Mullenix

Other contributors include Johnny Balfantz, Claire Brandt, Marie Chifici, Helaine Hebert, Katina Hester, Jennifer Howell, Kate James, Nicholas Jelley, Tara Zachary Laver, Victor Sanchez, Elaine Smyth, Christina Strain, Amy Strohmer, Rose Tarbell, Joel Williams and Pat Vince.

Updated October 2011

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