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Inventory of the Eliza Poor Donner Houghton Papers, 1820-1978
HM 58111-58197  
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Collection Overview
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The collection contains correspondence, notebooks, manuscripts, land tracts, scrapbooks, cartes-de-visites and ephemera. Although the majority of the material in the collection deals with the Donner Party, several items written by Eliza Poor Donner Houghton deal with California history. These items are chiefly about the discovery of gold in California in 1849 and its effect on American history and the development of California as a state. In addition to Eliza, nine other Donner Party members are represented in this collection, both in correspondence and photographs.
Eliza Poor Donner Houghton (1843-1922), the youngest daughter of George and Tamsen Donner, was three years old when her family left their home in Illinois to head out west to California. This group of travelers, who became trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1846, ultimately became known as the ill-fated Donner Party. In March 1847, after several months of entrapment, Eliza and her sisters were rescued by the third relief party to reach the camps. George and Tamsen Donner both died in the mountains, and Eliza and her sister Georgia were taken in by Christian and Mary Brunner, elderly immigrants from Switzerland. In 1854, Eliza moved to Sacramento to live with her oldest half-sister, Elitha Donner Wilder, also a survivor of the Donner Party.
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights. In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL.