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Guide to the Charles Fayette McGlashan Papers, 1847-1931
BANC MSS C-B 570  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Scope and Content
  • Biography

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Charles Fayette McGlashan Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1847-1931
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 570
    Creator: McGlashan, C. F. (Charles Fayette), 1847-1931
    Extent: Number of containers: 3 boxes, 2 cartons, and 4 oversize folders
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Mainly material used in writing his book, History of the Donner Party, including letters from survivors and members of rescue parties and their relatives, newspaper clippings, photographs and relics. Included also: newspaper articles on the Mountain Meadows massacre and on the Truckee area, some family correspondence, and maps.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research, except for the Donner Party relics previously contained in Carton I, access to which requires the permission of the Head of Public Services.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Charles Fayette McGlashan papers, BANC MSS C-B 570, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • Donner Party photographs (113 items) were removed to the Pictorial Collections. These include photographs of members of the Donner Party, rescue parties, and relatives (60 items); photographs of Donner Monument dedication ceremonies, other Donner campsite area markers, research activities and general views, rock ledge in Kansas upon which J. F. Reed and others carved their initials (53 items).
    • Identified portraits have been removed to the Portrait Collection.

    Scope and Content

    The papers, which relate mainly to McGlashan's work on the Donner tragedy, were given to The Bancroft Library by his grandson, Douglas McGlashan Kelley, in 1956 and by Mrs. Kelley in 1959. A Key to Arrangement follows.


    Charles Fayette McGlashan was born in Wisconsin in 1847 and came overland with his father and sisters, arriving at Placerville in September 1854.
    He attended Sotoyme Institute, Healdsburg, California, from 1861 to 1865 and Williston Seminary in Massachusetts, 1868-1870. From 1872, McGlashan lived in Truckee almost continuously. Until 1874 he was principal of the public schools, resigning in October to go to Utah as correspondent for the Sacramento Record. He wrote a series of articles on the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1657 and the arrest of John D. Lee, the accused leader of the Massacre. In 1875 he began the practice of law, in addition to becoming editor and then editor and owner of the Truckee Republican.
    In 1878 a subscription to the Republican from a survivor of the Donner Party led to McGlashan's writing several articles on the subject. These resulted in correspondence and interviews with survivors, a series of articles in the Republican, and, in 1879, the publication of his book History of the Donner Party, A Tragedy of the Sierra. A revised and corrected second edition appeared in 1880 and has often been reprinted.
    McGlashan was an active man with many and varied interests. In addition to his law practice and newspaper work, he was an amateur entomologist and astronomer, real estate developer, inventor, collector of Truckee area history and lore, and was actively involved in the financing and construction of the Donner Summit Memorials. He died at Truckee in 1931.