Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Eugene Donan letters

Abstract

The Eugene Donan letters (dated 1929-1945, undated; 0.25 cubic feet; 7 folders) comprises letters sent to Eugene Donan, a young African American man, from friends, family, his wife and mistress while living in Louisville, Kentucky.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Eugene Donan letters
Date
1929-1945, undated (inclusive)
Creator
Donan, Eugene, 1897-1963
Extent
0.25 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Letters.
Love-letters
Families.
Marriage
Kentucky.
Louisville (Ky.)
African Americans.
African Americans -- Kentucky -- Louisville
Health
Travel.
Adultery.
Donan, Eugene, 1897-1963
Donan, Gertrude Gentry, 1918-1992
Gentry, Mittie
Arrangement
Collection is arranged by subject. The Wade Hall Collection of American Letters has been processed into discrete collections based on provenance.
Finding Aid Author
Hanna Rumbarger
Preferred Citation
2009ms132.0701: [identification of item], Wade Hall Collection of American Letters: Eugene Donan letters, 1929-1945, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Eugene Donan (1897-1963), and African American man, was born in Louisville, Kentucky to James Donan (b.1866) and Willie Roberts Donan (b. 1869). His siblings include; Bloomie Donan Lewis (1893-1990), Henry Donan (1898-1974) and Dee Donan (1901-1950). Eugene Donan married Gertrude Gentry (1918-1992) in 1936, and had one son together named Eugene Donan (b. 1939) According to 1940 census, Eugene worked as a post office worker in Louisville.
American Letters collector Wade Hall (1934-2015) was a native of Union Springs, Alabama. Starting in 1962, he lived in Louisville, where he taught English and chaired the English and Humanities/Arts programs at Kentucky Southern College and Bellarmine University. He also taught at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He held degrees from Troy State University (B.S.), the University of Alabama (M.A.), and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.). He served for two years in the U.S. Army in the mid-fifties. Dr. Hall was the author of books, monographs, articles, plays, and reviews relating to Kentucky, Alabama, and Southern history and literature. His most recent books include A Visit with Harlan Hubbard; High Upon a Hill: A History of Bellarmine College; A Song in Native Pastures: Randy Atcher's Life in Country Music; and Waters of Life from Conecuh Ridge.
Scope and Content
The Eugene Donan letters (dated 1929-1945, undated; 0.25 cubic feet; 7 folders) comprises letters sent to Eugene Donan, a young African American man, from friends, family, his wife and mistress while living in Louisville, Kentucky. Eugene receives letters from multiple female friends and they write to him about their families, daily schedules, gossip and requests for him to write them more often. Different members of Eugene's family also write to him, including his niece, cousin, and aunt. His cousin writes about her trip out to Colorado and his niece sends him a post card stating that her mother is sick. This collection also includes letters from Gertrude Gentry Donan and Mittie Gentry, Eugene's wife and sister in-law. Mittie writes to express her congratulations on the wedding and her sister's move to Louisville, Kentucky in 1946, as well as offering advice to Eugene. She is very close with her sister and is constantly requesting to see her. A woman named Vivian writes to Eugene multiple times in 1945, and her letters are very romantic. She writes in details about her dreams about him, longing to see him, their small encounters at church and even her dislike for her husband and his wife. She requests him to burn her letters or return them to her for safe keeping.
The Eugene Donan letters collection is part of the Wade Hall Collection of American letters, which includes correspondence and diaries from all over North America covering the time period of the Civil to Korean Wars. The materials were collected by Wade Hall and document everyday men and women.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Friends to Eugene Donan, 1929-1936

  • Box WH-66, folder 19
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Family to Eugene Donan, 1929-1937, undated

  • Box WH-66, folder 20
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Letters from Mittie Gentry, 1936-1937

  • Box WH-66, folder 21
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Bills sent to Eugene Donan, 1932-1937

  • Box WH-66, folder 22
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Letters from Gertrude Donan, 1933-1936

  • Box WH-66, folder 23
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Vivian to Eugene Donan, 1945

  • Box WH-66, folder 24
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Photograph of Eugene Donan, undated

  • Box WH-66, folder 25
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Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.

UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Appointments are encouraged but not required. Schedule an appointment here.

Researchers must have an SCRC Researcher Account to request materials. View account set-up and use instructions here.

Questions? Contact SCRC via our Contact Form.

Requests

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You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at SCRC@uky.edu.