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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 13, thirty-two collections document the tobacco and cotton culture in the heart of Carolina. Correspondence, diaries, and financial and legal papers concern planters in the Old North State and relatives living elsewhere in the South. Some early records refer to the activities of the Transylvania Company in present-day Kentucky and Tennessee.
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