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Drawn from major repositories throughout the South, these primary documents are rich resources for scholars. They open new directions for research on plantations as economic and social systems, values and culture among the southern elite, slavery and emancipation, women's roles, life among the yeoman class, marketing of staple crops, national politics, southern politics, the Civil War, and myriad other aspects of the antebellum period. Because the plantation was a commercial enterprise, record keeping was essential. Many planters kept journals, crop books, overseers' journals, and account books in remarkable detail. Family members often kept personal diaries and corresponded extensively with friends and relatives near and far. In Series J, Part 12, twenty-nine collections from North Carolina's tidewater region and coastal plains document life in the eastern third of the state. Included is material on rice culture in the Cape Fear area and cotton growing in the Roanoke River valley. Other material relates to corn, tobacco, wheat, garden crops, animal husbandry, lumbering, and fisheries. There are also papers on immigration from England and Ireland, and emigration to and investments in cotton and sugar plantations in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
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