Top 9 Books About Plantation Houses

Beautiful Southern Mansions and Antebellum Architecture

The history of the American South is dark, yet its architecture was often magnificent. With Greek-like pillars, balconies, formal ballrooms, covered porches, and imposing staircases, America's plantation houses reflect the power of wealthy landowners prior to the Civil War. Here are favorite photo books with pictures of plantation houses, southern mansions, and antebellum architecture.

01
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Great Houses of the South

Great Houses of the South by Laurie Ossman and Steven Brooke
Great Houses of the South by Laurie Ossman and Steven Brooke. Image crop courtesy Amazon.com

Rizzoli has done it again. With text by Laurie Ossman and photos by Steven Brooke, this book has received rave reviews since its publication. The authors cover homes you would expect, but they are presented with an emphasis on architectural styles. The reader receives a history lesson on some of the finest architecture open for viewing.

Publisher: Rizzoli, 2010 Buy from Amazon »

02
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Plantation Houses and Mansions of the Old South

Plantation Houses and Mansions of the Old South by J. Frazer Smith With 116 Illustrations
Plantation Houses and Mansions of the Old South by J. Frazer Smith. Image crop courtesy Amazon.com

This softback by J. Frazier Smith features over 100 detailed illustrations and 36 floor plans, depicting such residences as Andrew Jackson's Nashville homestead, the Greek Revival Rosedown estate in Louisiana, and the Forks of Cypress. The text and photos trace the evolution of southern housing from one-room cabins to large estates.

Publisher: Dover Architecture Series, 1993 Buy from Amazon »

03
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Under Live Oaks: The Last Plantation Houses of the Old South

Under Live Oaks
Under Live Oaks. Image cropy courtesy Amazon.com

All the states of the Deep South are represented in this classic hardcover from Caroline Seebohm and Peter Woloszynski. Learn the stories of houses and their owners. Included: an Italianate villa in Columbus, Georgia; the charming Catalpa in St. Francisville, Louisiana; and the historic Sherwood Forest in Charles City, Virginia. Mixed reviews.

Publisher: Clarkson Potter, 2002 Buy from Amazon »

04
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Architecture of the Old South

Architecture of the Old South
Architecture of the Old South. Image crop courtesy Amazon.com

A historic look at antebellum architecture in the United States from the 17th century to the Civil War. Many styles are represented in this book from Mills Lane and Van Jones Martin. 225 color photos and many old prints and drawings illustrate Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, and Romantic styles.

Publisher: Abbeville Press; 1993 Buy from Amazon »

05
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Marvelous Old Mansions and Other Southern Treasures

Marvelous Old Mansions and Other Southern Treasures by Sylvia Higginbotham
Marvelous Old Mansions and Other Southern Treasures by Sylvia Higginbotham. Image courtesy Amazon.com

In this 216-page informative paperback by Sylvia Higginbotham you'll find over one hundred historic homes, gardens, and living villages or historic districts located throughout Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Publisher: John F Blair, 2000 Buy from Amazon »

06
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Vestiges of Grandeur: The Plantations of Louisiana's River Road

An in-depth visual journey through the hidden mansions of New Orleans' River Road area. Once the center of grandiose living in the south, the region is now a ghost town of endangered structures. This book features over 200 color photographs with extensive captions explaining the architectural significance and history of each mansion. Buy from Amazon »

07
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Virginia Plantation Homes

Virginia Plantation Homes by David King Gleason
Virginia Plantation Homes by David King Gleason. Image courtesy Amazon.com

Author David King Gleason takes us on a grand tour of 80 distinctive plantation homes of Old Virginia, many of which were built before the antebellum period and reflect colonial, English Georgian, and Jeffersonian styles of architecture. The book includes 146 color photos with captions that provide histories of each house, its builder, and subsequent owners.

Also check out Historic Houses of Virginia: Great Plantation Houses, Mansions, and Country Places by Kathryn Masson (Rizzoli, 2006). Buy from Amazon »

08
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Plantation Homes of Louisiana and the Natchez Area

Plantation Homes of Louisiana and the Natchez Area
Plantation Homes of Louisiana and the Natchez Area. Image courtesy Amazon.com
Another great collection from David King Gleason. Here he focuses on the aura of Louisiana's plantation homes - some beautiful, some crumbling from neglect. Included are 120 full-color photographs with information about the construction, history, and condition of each house. Buy from Amazon »

09
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Ghosts of Grandeur: Georgia's Lost Antebellum Homes and Plantations

Ghosts of Grandeur: Georgia's Lost Antebellum Homes and Plantations by Michael W. Kitchens
Ghosts of Grandeur by Michael W. Kitchens. Image crop courtesy Amazon.com

Author Michael W. Kitchens is a practicing attorney in Athens, Georgia according to his LinkedIn Profile. His avocation for two decades, however, was gathering material for this book, documenting over 90 mansions from Georgia's history. Wills and family documents sometimes fall into the right hands, apparently.

Publisher: Donning Company, 2012, 352 pages Buy from Amazon »