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McDonald family papers

 Unprocessed Material — Multiple Containers
Identifier: ViU-2024-0077

Content Description

This collection contains over 400 letters written by members of the McDonald family, a Mormon family from Salt Lake City, Utah. The collection includes greeting cards, postcards, and letters from 1937 to 1971, with most content sent in the late 1940s. Most letters are personal and sent from Tharel G. McDonald, who served in the United States Navy, to Patty Caroline Marshall McDonald, his wife, or Laura Wolstenholme Marshall, his mother. Laura McDonald was the daughter of Issac Hunter, an early pioneer of Salt Lake City who worked as a stonecutter on the Mormon Temple. Laura was a member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and discussed their activities in her letters to Tharel. The letters are often long and personal. Topics in the letters between Patty and Tharel include talking about military life, errands to be done at home, religion, and his wish to build a house with her upon his return, among others. Tharel's correspondence with his mother commonly discussed prayer, the health of family members, and memories of Tharel's childhood. Also included are later letters sent by Tharel to his son Shawn and daughter Martha. Other correspondents include Patty's sister Laura Jo, friends such as Barbara M. Janney, Rhea Thomsen, and Joe and Judy Williams, plus a variety of friends from other locations around the country. Postmarks vary based on where Tharel was stationed: Washington, D.C., Utah, Alberta, Canada, and Pennsylvania. In addition to the letters, there are greeting cards from the 1940s to the 1960s for various occasions, including Christmas, Mother's Day, and birthdays. Tharel G. McDonald (1919-1997) was a Master Chief Gunnery Officer and Pearl Harbor survivor. He served during World War II, and as a civilian advisor during Korea and Vietnam. He received the Bronze Star during World War II and was a member of Masonic Navel Lodge F&AM #4 Washington D.C., all three York Rite bodies in Midvale, Utah, 32nd Degree Mason Scottish Rite, and member of the El Kalah Shrine. He was also a member of the Presidents Blue Ribbon Council of Advisors, National Security Council, American Legion, DAV, VFW post 7398, and Magna Lions. He retired from T.A.D. as fire control supervisor.

Acquisition Type



Purchased from McBride Rare Books, 26 March 2024.

Language of Description


Restrictions Apply



  • Creation: 1937-1971



1.6 Cubic Feet (One cubic foot box, one letter-size document box, one half-width letter-size document box)

Language of Materials



400 letters, greeting cards, and notecards with envelopes: Box ViU2024-0077_001_ greeting cards and letters-1937-1971; Box ViU2024-0077_002_ letters-1946-1960s; Box ViU2024-0077_003_ letters-1946-1960s.