The Nathan D. Stanwood papers (1852-1857) contain 23 letters, spanning 1852 to 1860. Stanwood wrote 22 of the letters, and Daniel Towle, a relative of Stanwood's first wife, contributed an additional letter.
Stanwood wrote 19 letters to Nancy Delano, his former mother-in-law; 2 to Benjamin Delano, her son; and a third to "Mother." His most frequent topic was his various business ventures in Sacramento, California, and his intention to "make an honest pile and come home" (March 13, 1853). On September 11, 1852, he mentioned that he had purchased 15 salmon nets, with which he would start a fishing business with a friend from Maine, Joseph A. Locke. He also promised to send money and commented that his prospects were "very bright." On October 31, 1853, he wrote about the opening and early success of his new meat store, the "Boston Market," and by August 1854, he reported selling $1000 worth of meat per week. He eventually left this venture to go into the produce business after being forced "to wait too long for my pay" (July 3, 1856). His final letter, dated April 25, 1860, notes that an overland mail route will soon provide him with weekly delivery (in favor of the slower mail delivered by steamship).
In other letters, Stanwood commented on his reasons for not remarrying sooner, which were primarily economic (April 13, 1855); gave a secondhand account of the explosion of the steamship Pearl (January 30, 1855); and mentioned his support for John C. Fremont (November 30, 1854). The last few letters in the collection document Stanwood's marriage to Emily S. Barrell in 1857, and the increasing success of his produce business.
The single letter from Daniel Towle, dated January 25, 1852, primarily concerns his investment in the Spring Valley Quartz Mining Co., which he believed would bring him "a fortune."