Plantation records were the principal target of the collecting efforts of SHC founder J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton from the 1920s into the 1940s. A skillful collector, Hamilton was in the field before most others, and was able to amass an extremely rich assemblage of plantation-era materials from across the South. The foundation he laid has been built upon by his successors.
The SHC continues to seek documentation of southern plantation culture dating from before the Civil War as well as following it. These materials may reflect the lives, work, and enterprises of individuals in many positions on working plantations and document the complex interactions between members of different racial and social groups. Materials of likely interest include correspondence, diaries, business and agricultural records, legal documents, scrapbooks, maps, lists, photographs, and recipe books.