Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Dan De Quille Papers, [ca. 1860-1914]
BANC MSS P-G 246  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (112.49 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Dan De Quille Papers,
    Date (inclusive): [ca. 1860-1914]
    Collection Number: BANC MSS P-G 246
    Creator: De Quille, Dan, 1829-1898
    Extent: Number of containers: 3 boxes, 2 cartons, 1 oversize folder
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Letters concerning the Territorial Enterprise, Mark Twain, and the writing of his book on the Big Bonanza ; manuscripts of sketches written for newspapers and magazines; clippings; notes and notebooks; a few papers of other members of his family. The correspondence consists of a letter to his brother- in-law, Dr. J.M. Benjamin, Omega, California, 1860; 18 to his sister Lou (Mrs. Benjamin), 1874-1885; one by his daughter Mell to Mrs. Benjamin, 1878; and 37 letters received, 1875-1897; from Hiram C. Clark, 1878; Samuel Clemens ("Mark Twain") (3), 1864-1875; E.D. Cope, 1880; Amos J. Cummings (2), 1885-1886; Wells Drury, 1897; James G. Fair, 1875; L.W. Ferris, 1875; Henry J. Ford (2), 1887; Joseph Wasson, 1880; John Greenleaf Whittier, 1897; and B.B. Wiley (1887). With the Twain letters is a first draft of Twain's letter to W.K. Cutler, Virginia, May 28, 1864, offering to accept a challenge to a duel, and the cover of Twain's wedding announcement, with remarks to "Dan." Accompanying the correspondence are drafts of five letters written by his daughter, Lura G. Wright, from Newport, Oregon, ca. 1914-1915, in connection with proposals of George Wharton James to publish Dan DeQuille's sketches, a letter from her cousin "Harry," and from Edward E. Hale, Roxbury, Massachusetts, 1901, and biographical sketch of Wright. Miscellaneous family papers include four Civil War diaries written by Wright's brother, John M. Wright (1836-1918), while serving as a private in the Second Iowa Cavalry, December 9, 1861-September 23, 1864. He campaigned in Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi, fought at Corinth, and engaged in many skirmishes against Nathan Bedford Forrest. With the diaries are his honorable discharge, Davenport, Iowa, October 3, 1864; a deed to a lot at Newport, Oregon, 1910; and a deed to a cemetery plot at Newport 1914. Another diary, by Mrs. Benjamin, July 28-September 1, 1879, and July 29-August 5, 1880, describes vacation trips to the Eastern states and Minnesota from West Liberty, Iowa.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Dan De Quille papers, BANC MSS P-G 246, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Removed or Separated Material

    • Photographs transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 1905.11986-.11997--PIC).
    • Drawings transferred to BANC PIC 1953.007--A.

    Scope and Content

    William Wright, better known by his pseudonym, Dan De Quille, was born in Knox County, Ohio, in 1829. His family moved to Iowa when he was 18 and settled near West Liberty. In 1857, De Quille left for California and prospected for gold in Nevada County, Mariposa and the Mono Lake District. The excitement of the silver discovery in the Washoe Valley, however, drew him to Nevada in 1860. For a short time he worked in the Yellow Jacket Point Mine at Silver City. In 1862, he joined the staff of The Territorial Enterprise, which was published in Virginia City, and it was in journalism he found his niche. He became one of the best known men on the Comstock, and through his contributions to various periodicals, one of the most widely read journalists in the West. He wrote portions of Angel's History of Nevada and in 1884, the article on Nevada for the 10th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He also wrote two books, History of the Big Bonanza (Hartford, 1876) and A History of the Comstock Silver Lode Mines, a paper bound guide book designed to be sold on the overland trains. After the demise of the Enterprise in 1893, De Quille stayed on a short time at Virginia City, writing for the Salt Lake City Tribune and serving as Nevada correspondent for other papers. He then went to West Liberty, Iowa, to stay with his daughter and De Quille died there March 16, 1898.
    De Quille's papers were given to Bancroft Library by Henry L. Day in November 1953, through the courtesy of Joel E. Ferris. The collection, which includes also a few papers of other members of the Wright Family (his brother, John; sister, Lou Benjamin; and daughter, Lou) covers the period 1860-1914. It consists of correspondence relating chiefly to the writing of the book, History of the Big Bonanza, his work on The Territorial Enterprise and his association with Mark Twain; manuscripts of sketches written for newspapers and magazines; notes and notebooks; a few of his drawings; and an extensive collection of clippings, including his contributions to various periodicals. The family papers include his brother's Civil War diary, a short biographical sketch of De Quille written by his daughter, Lou, and drafts of her letters relating to the proposed publication of some of her father's sketches. Cards have been placed in the manuscripts catalog and shelf list for major correspondents and other items of note.