Dolph, Nixon, and Dolph Letterbooks, 1894-1899

Overview of the Collection

Dolph, Nixon, and Dolph Law Offices.
Dolph, Nixon, and Dolph Letterbooks
1894-1899 (inclusive)
0.5 cubic feet, (1 box)
Collection Number
MSS Dolph
The Dolph, Nixon, and Dolph Letterbooks document the professional activities of attorneys Joseph Dolph, Richard Nixon, and Chester Dolph between 1894 and 1899. Included is administrative correspondence and legal counsel regarding land disputes, immigration hearings, divorce proceedings, debt remittance, and other civil and criminal lawsuits. Litigants include the Oregon Gold Mining Company, the Last Chance Mining Company, the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company, the American Loan & Trust Company, and others.
Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 5417372075
Fax: 5417378674
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Joseph N. Dolph was born in New York in 1835. In 1862, he joined the Oregon Escort, an outfit responsible for protecting settlers from Native Americans as they travelled to Oregon. Later, he settled in Portland where he established a law firm. Between 1865 and 1868, he served as Oregon’s U.S. District Attorney and, in 1866, was elected to the Oregon State Senate where he represented Multnomah County. In 1882, Dolph was elected to the United States Senate, a position he held until 1895.

When he failed to gain reelection to the U.S. Senate, Dolph opened a law office in Portland, Oregon with his son, Chester Dolph, and partner, Richard Nixon. Dolph, Nixon, and Dolph specialized in land disputes and represented several mining concerns and railroad companies, though the firm also engaged in miscellaneous other civil and criminal suits. Dolph died in March 1897 from complications resulting from a diabetes-induced amputation. Chester Dolph and Richard Nixon continued to operate the firm following Joseph Dolph’s death.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection is comprised of four 500-page letterbooks containing outgoing correspondence from the Dolph, Nixon, and Dolph law offices between 1894 and 1899. Predominate among the cases handled by the firm were Oregon land disputes relating to property use and upkeep, payment of rent and mortgages, foreclosure proceedings, and sales. Litigants included the Oregon Gold Mining Company, the Last Chance Mining Company, the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company, the American Loan & Trust Company, and the Candelaria Fruit Company, among others. The firm also engaged in Indian depredation suits, provided defense in numerous Chinese immigration cases, represented several inventors in patent claims, and engaged in debt collection and remittance efforts, estate disbursements, divorce proceedings, and other civil and criminal suits. Also included is a small amount of correspondence relating to the political career of senior partner Joseph N. Dolph (U.S. Senator, 1883-1895) and subsequent death (1897).

Each letterbook is arranged in chronological order and accompanied by an index organized by recipient.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

The Dolph, Nixon, and Dolph Letterbooks (MSS Dolph), Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

The Dolph, Nixon, and Dolph letterbooks were donated to Oregon Agricultural College in 1906. The books were transferred to the OSU University Archives in the 1960s and now reside in the OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center.

Related Materials

Related Materials

The OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center holds Frederick Miller Roth's A Biographical Sketch of Joseph Norton Dolph and the Speeches of J. N. Dolph in the U.S. Senate 1884 to 1888. Additional records pertaining to land use, natural resources, legislation, politics, and 19th century living in Oregon can be found throughout the SCARC holdings, including in the History of the Pacfic Northwest Rare Book Collection, the William G. Robbins Papers, and the Gerald W. Williams Papers. The Oregon Multicultural Archives also includes materials relating to Native Americans and Chinese Americans in Oregon. Other 19th century letterbooks can be found in the President's Office Records of B. L. Arnold and the Oregon Prune Association Records. The University of Oregon also holds a letter authored by Joseph Dolph in May 1884.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Emigration and immigration law--United States.
  • Land use--Law and legislation--United States.
  • Law firms--Oregon--Portland.
  • Law--United States.
  • Mining law--United States.
  • Railroad law--United States.

Corporate Names

  • Oregon Railway and Navigation Company.

Form or Genre Terms

  • Letter books.

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Dolph, Chester. (creator)
    • Dolph, Joseph N. (Joseph Norton), 1835-1897. (creator)
    • Nixon, Richard. (creator)