The Colonial and Revolutionary periods continue to be among the most fascinating chapters in American History. Over the years, the Louisiana Research Collection has acquired a great many documents and collections that illuminate the early years of colonial America, as well as the period following the Revolutionary War. Our first acquisition, a gift of Mrs. L. Dolhonde, was a letter from Thomas Jefferson to M. DuPlantier dated September 24, 1808. The letter concerns the lands owned by the Marquis de Lafayette near New Orleans and Jefferson suggests a loan to pay for the drainage of the property.
The George and Katherine Davis Collection provides a rich assortment of documents relating to Colonial America and the early history of the United States. Katherine Davis was an avid collector of documents relating to early American statesmen. The generous donation of this collection in 1966 has provided a rich resource to scholars of American history. Of particular interest is a letter from William Penn to King Charles II, thanking him for the land King Charles called “Pennsylvania.” Another letter, from Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Deleplaine, discusses a portrait of Christopher Columbus that Jefferson has taken great pains to locate. The letter includes Jefferson’s hand-drawn sketch of the famed explorer.
The Rosemonde E. and Emile Kuntz Collection includes many documents related to the early years of Louisiana’s statehood, such as William C.C. Claiborne’s gubernatorial commission, issued by President Thomas Jefferson. Claiborne was the first non-colonial governor of Louisiana. He was also instrumental in Louisiana’s transition from a French colony, to a territory of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase, as well as its eventual admission as the 18th state.