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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. In Series J, Part 4: Georgia and Florida, the cotton and rice plantation records of lowland Georgia come from Bryan, Chatham, Glynn, and Liberty counties. The Georgia upland cotton plantations represented were in Baker, Baldwin, Bibb, Burke, Cass, Clarke, Habersham, Jasper, Jones, Murray, Morgan, and Muscogee counties. Florida cotton plantation records are from Alachua and Leon counties. As in South Carolina, Georgia Sea Island cotton and rice plantations were usually vast enterprises worked by huge slave forces. Upland Georgia and Florida cotton plantations often encompassed large acreages divided into several noncontiguous operating units and were managed by overseers.

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