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Collection Overview

Limongi, Felix
Felix Limongi Collection of Louisiana Slavery and Civil War Materials
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1722-1872 (mostly 1802-1872)
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists of several small groups of papers regarding slavery, the American Civil War, and related legal matters in Louisiana, primarily during the 19th century, which were assembled by collector Felix Limongi. Materials include estate records of Marie Claire Chabert (1769-1847), a formerly enslaved free African American woman who purchased and manumitted her family members and owned land in New Orleans; correspondence of Benjamin F. Butler (1818-1893); papers of the law firm Durant & Hornor regarding legal cases brought against the Union Army after the Civil War; as well as some miscellaneous documents and correspondence pertaining to Louisiana history.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of several small groups of papers regarding slavery, the American Civil War, and related legal matters in New Orleans, Louisiana, primarily in the 19th century. Assembled by collector Felix Limongi, many of the papers originate from the law firm Durant & Hornor during the time it was based on Carondelet Street in New Orleans. The collection sheds light on black families and black familial enslavement in 19th century Louisiana, as well as on Reconstruction-era legal cases over property seized by the Union Army during the Civil War.

One group of papers (1805-1864) consists of the estate records of Marie Claire Chabert (1769-1847). Chabert was an African American woman who was enslaved by Don Bartolomeo Le Breton and later purchased and manumitted by Jacques Tisserand (a free black man who was formerly enslaved on the same plantation), and went on to own property in the Faubourg Ste. Marie neighborhood of New Orleans from the 1810s to the 1840s. The records, which include deeds of manumission, bills of sale, purchase and tax receipts, wills, and other legal and financial documents, pertain to Chabert's own manumission, her activities managing the estate of Tisserand which he bequeathed to her, her acquisition of land, and her efforts to purchase and manumit her own family members, including several nieces and her husband Michel Bouligny.

Durant & Hornor papers (1854-1872) consist of correspondence and documents of Philadelphia-born attorneys Thomas Jefferson Durant (1817-1882) and Charles West Hornor (1813-1905) that date to the early Reconstruction period. Most of this material regards various Civil War claims and cases of civilians against the Union Army to recover property or receive damages. Of note is a group of correspondence pertaining to a case brought by James Cosgrove against Benjamin F. Butler (1818-1893) over the seizure of property from his store.

There are also some miscellaneous correspondence and documents about early Louisiana history collected by Limonge, including letters from William C. C. Claiborne (1775-1817), Edmund Pendleton Gaines (1777–1849), Henry Clay (1777-1852), and Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), as well as manuscripts by Charles René Bougués (1722) and General V. Beaufort (1802), broadsides, and printed documents reporting on events in Louisiana.

This collection was formerly referred to as the "Louisiana Slavery and Civil War Collection."


The collection has been organized into four primary groupings, each of which is mostly arranged chronologically.

Collection Creator Biography:

Limongi, Felix

Felix Limongi (1865-1929) was a merchant and stamp collector who lived in New Orleans and Covington, Louisiana. His father was Francis Limongi (1838–1914), an Italian immigrant and grocer who settled in New Orleans, and his mother was Louisa Saillard (1846–1909).

Collection History


The collection was purchased from Mr. Gest in August 1948 (AM 13719).

Custodial History

Mr. Gest acquired the collection from Felix Limongi. Limongi acquired many of the papers from the offices of the New Orleans law firm Durant & Hornor, though he may have added some material from other sources. A note left by Limongi states that he came across the Marie Claire Chabert records sometime before March 1926 while collecting postage stamps, though it is unclear from available documentation if he also acquired them via Durant & Hornor.


No materials were separated from the collection during 2018 reprocessing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Karla J. Vecchia in 2004. Finding aid written by Karla J. Vecchia in 2004.

This collection was reprocessed and the description was enhanced by Kelly Bolding in October 2018. A biographical note about Marie Claire Chabert was added at this time.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Felix Limongi Collection of Louisiana Slavery and Civil War Materials; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1

Find More

Related Materials

Library of Congress Manuscript Division: Felix Limongi Collection. MMC-0380.


The following sources were consulted during preparation of the finding aid and biographical note for Marie Claire Chabert: Inventories of Estates, C Surnames, Cabouret, 1846 - Cornu, 1849. Louisiana, Orleans Parish Estate Files. New Orleans (Louisiana) City Archives. Sharafi, Mitra. "The Slaves and Slavery of Marie Claire Chabert: Familial Black Slaveholding in Antebellum Louisiana." Journal of Civil Law Studies 4.1 (2011): 187-215.

Subject Terms:
African American families -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- 19th century.
African American slaveholders -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- 19th century.
African American women -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- History -- 19th century.
Decedents' estates -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- 19th century.
Free African Americans -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- History -- 19th century -- Sources.
Law firms -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- 19th century -- Records and correspondence.
Legal correspondence -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- 19th century.
Military law -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- 19th century.
Military occupation damages -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- 19th century.
Slave bills of sale -- Louisiana -- 19th century.
Slavery -- Louisiana -- Emancipation -- 19th century.
Slavery -- Social aspects -- Louisiana -- History -- 19th century.
Taxation -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- 19th century.
Genre Terms:
Broadsides -- 19th century.
Correspondence -- 19th century
Estate records -- 19th century.
Legal documents -- 19th century
Wills -- 19th century.
Durant & Hornor
Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1818-1893.
Chabert, Marie Claire, 1769-1847
Durant, Thomas J. (Thomas Jefferson), 1817-1882
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885.
Hornor, Charles West, 1813-1905
Tisserand, Jacques, -1808
New Orleans (La.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
New Orleans (La.) -- History, Military -- 19th century.