The plantation letters are Online at

More about The Plantation Letters

This teaching resource includes digitized selections from the Cameron Family Papers extracted from the Southern Historical Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill. The resource is designed for non-commercial use by educators and students interested in themes associated with antebellum plantation life. The original Cameron Family Papers (1757-1978) include some 35,000 undigitized items available for public perusal in the university's Wilson Library. This web resource presents only a small fraction of the total available documents, as identified and digitized by the site designers to best represent themes associated with traditionally underrepresented persons on antebellum plantations, namely slaves, women, and children. The Camerons regularly communicated by post with their family, friends, and business associates (overseers, tradespersons, and merchants). The level of detail provided in their personal communication provides a rich context for the study of antebellum plantation life in the southern United States.

Unique to the project is the "Document Viewer" (pictured above). This tool allows users to search for letters tagged with a specific theme. Up to two letters can be viewed at a time, side-by-side. To assist users with searches, a master list of themes is available for download, describing each theme in various categories (e.g., agriculture, plantation life, plantation operations, transportation, etc.). We recommend users download this list of themes before beginning their search.

NC State have students have used the sources and the Document Viewer to conduct research on a wide variety of topics. One of these efforts lead to the development of a series of historical episodes posted to The history Engine at University of Richmond. The essays are online at