Barry & Stephanie Boright purchased the house formerly owned by the Donovan family on Mulberry Street in November, 2003. Facing a vast collection of mementos from Walter Donovan's life that had remained in the house for a number of years and that were included in the sale, the Bowrights knew that many important papers and artifacts detailing life in Lewes would probably be found. On a sunny autumn Saturday morning, the Borights contacted Society Executive Director Michael DiPaolo and invited him the house to search for Lewes material as they emptied the house readying for restoration. What was found was a treasure trove of Lewes history - particularly that of the middle of the twentieth century. Extensive files on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, the Lewes American Legion Post #17, general clippings files on Lewes, ephemera from local - and now defunct - restaurants and businesses, yearbooks and other parts of Lewes's more recent past.
Included in this is this letter - the first page of which is depicted at left - from Walter's time in France during World War II. A transcription of the text follows below:
Monday Mar. 19 [1945; postmark Mar. 29, 1945] France
I received your v-mail yesterday sent Feb. 13th and Hes's sent Feb. 11th. Glad to hear everybody is well and I hope the good health continues. I received a Beaconite from the school today that was printed the 15th of Feb. I never though they would waste three cents on me but I did appreciate it very much. They had my name in it and also mentioned Dec. 1 but it should be Dec. 7th. I hope you understand what I mean but it don't make much difference anyhow.
[p. 2] From it I can tell how many of my buddies are here in France and I can write to a few of them. The Coast News is coming regular now and I get all the town gossip from it.
Tell Hes I saw one of her favorite movie stars today. Marlene Dietrich. She came into our clinic today to have a tooth pulled. She is over here with a U.S.O. group putting on shows for the soldiers.
I didn't receive the fruit cake as yet but maybe it will get here after awhile. I'm OK and there is very little to write about. The weather [p. 3] is swell now and we can run around in our shirt sleeves. Like you say the war is progressing very good and it should be over soon
Well I'm going to hit the hay and get a little sleep. Write soon and say hello to everybody for me.
Take care of the kids and write soon.
The Lewes Historical Society is extremely grateful for the Boright's thoughtful consideration of the Society when confronted with such irreplaceable pieces of Lewes' recent history. By notifying the Society that they were going through all the material, many previously unknown documents, letters and artifacts were brought to life and saved for posterity to enjoy, learn from and cherish.