William Wright Collection

Identifier: NC1400

Scope and Contents

The William Wright Collection contains Wright's notebook, family photographs, publications collected by Wright, and Wright's silver cane handle.


  • 1868-1890


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Physical materials, such as those not available through UNR Libraries' Digital Collections or other online portals must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

William Wright (also known as Dan De Quille) was born on May 9, 1829 to Lucinda Markley and Paxon Wright. A journalist, he came to the west coast of the United States from Iowa and Ohio in 1859. Between the years 1859-1862, he and his brother, Hank, moved frequently around the gold mines and cities of northern California, the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, and western Nevada Territory. While traveling he began submitting articles to eastern and western newspapers under the name Dan De Quille. These articles were filled with stories of the people, places, and adventures encountered in the west. He was a popular writer and soon was published weekly in a number of papers.

In 1862, Wright went to work for Joseph T. Goodman, owner of the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nevada. By that time he'd become widely known, well liked, and respected for his craft. He worked for the Enterprise off and on as a reporter and columnist for thirty years.

Wright was a good friend and colleague of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and Nevada newsman Alf Doten. The latter was also his drinking partner and recorded faithfully in his journals Dan's problems with alcohol abuse. In between his drinking bouts, De Quille produced a prodigious number of articles, stories, novels, travelogues, and other works, the best known of which was The Big Bonanza, a book about the largest silver vein in the Comstock Lode of Virginia City.

Wright married Caroline E Coleman in Jackson, Iowa on October 27, 1852. They had three daughters and one son: Alice Wright (1854-deceased), Mary L. Wright Evans (1855–1906), Lura Gertrude Wright (1856–deceased), and Paxson George Wright (1861–1929).

Wright died in Iowa on March 16, 1898.

[Biographical information taken from Dan De Quille Papers, NC55. Additional information added from records at FamilySearch.org]


.41 Linear Feet (10 folders)

Language of Materials



William Wright (also known as Dan De Quille, 1829-1898) was a Nevada journalist who came to the west coast of the United States from Iowa and Ohio in 1859. The collection includes Wright's notebook, family photographs, and Nevada-related publications collected by Wright.


Arranged without hierarchy.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Robert Slotta of Admirable Books in August 2004.

Related Materials

Related archival materials held by the University of Nevada, Reno Special Collections Department



Guide to the William Wright Collection
Jessica Maddox
April 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)