In 1850, William W. Orme formed a law partnership with Leonard R. Swett (1825-81) in Bloomington, Ill. Orme was a brigadier general in the Union Army during the Civil War.
The collection mainly contains correspondence between Orme and David Davis, discussing Illinois and national politics during the Civil War, military questions, legal and business affairs, and personal matters. Other correspondents include James Orme, Joseph Orme, Adlai and Letitia Stevenson, and Leonard and Laura Swett. The collection also includes a draft of a speech for the 1860 presidential campaign, a four-page folder of notes on the voting records of Owen Lovejoy and Richard Yates, and reports on the academic work of Joseph and Francis Orme at Georgetown College.
General Orme's daughter, Lucy Orme Morgan of Bloomington, Ill., donated the collection to the University in 1930-31. Box 1 of the collection contains the original manuscripts as bound by the Library; Box 2 contains typescripts of the originals. There is a chronological card file for the collection as well as the attached inventory.