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Overview

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. Series G, Part 3 covers the voluminous papers of the Bank of the State of Mississippi. The bank, headquartered at Natchez and with branches at Port Gibson, Vicksburg, and Woodville, was chartered by area planters and conducted much of their financial business. Documents in the collection include correspondence about the credit extended to planters for plantation operations and the purchase of land and slaves, with much discussion of the notes of individual planters. Letters from institutions in Baltimore, Louisville, Nashville, New Orleans, and Philadelphia show how cash, commodities, and credit flowed throughout the antebellum United States.

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