This collection contains 19 letters, 4 documents, 1 note, and a copy of a photograph. Nicholas Patrick Donegan, a railroad worker based in Oregon in the early 1880s, wrote most of the letters to his sweetheart and wife, Elizabeth Wright ("Lizzie"), while working throughout the state.
Book dealer P. J. Kenedy wrote the first letter to Donegan about a Bible he had for sale, along with a description, its cost, and a suggested retail price (March 30, 1878). Between October 8, 1880, and April 1, 1883, Donegan wrote 11 letters to his sweetheart and wife, Elizabeth Wright of Aumsville, Oregon. He often expressed his feelings for her and his concern for their young son, Eugene. He mentioned his work on the railroad, his surroundings, and the weather, as well as his efforts to transfer money. In an additional letter of January 5, 1883, Donegan requested assistance from the postmaster at Folsom, California, after he was accused of being married to two women in California.
Later correspondence includes 3 letters and 1 brief note pertaining to Eugene's efforts to locate information about his father's family, as well as a later to G. W. Duran about the lack of information about Lizzie Houtlett. Eugene Donegan also wrote a letter to R. H. Stever in which he claimed to be Martin Brophy's closest living heir (November 7, 1927). An additional undated letter, addressed to "Mrs. Dunagin," concerns an unidentified immigrant's return to the "old country."
The collection also has an employment record for Nicholas Donegan (September 1, 1882); membership cards and dues records for W. H. Schamp, a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (3 items, 1890-1891); and a copy of a photograph of Robert Wilbur Dudley and a friend, both soldiers, taken in the Rhine River around 1918.