Frequently used Sites
Donner Online WebQuest
The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco.
Donner party news articles.
The Donner Party (Video)
Three years before the Gold Rush, 87 pioneers took a shortcut westward to California, only to get caught in the snows of the Sierra Nevada. The emigrants' fateful journey culminated in death and cannibalism.
PBS.org Teacher Resources
Patrick Breen Diary November 20, 1846 - March 1, 1847
The diary of Patrick Breen was recorded between November 20, 1846 and March 1, 1847, in what is presently the Donner Pass region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in Nevada County, California. At the time of the diary's composition, Breen and his family were part of a group of pioneers --which came to be known as the Donner Party --completing an overland journey from the Great Plains to California. After reaching Donner Lake (then Truckee Lake), the group met with relentless winter conditions which prohibited further travel. As these conditions persisted, food supplies were depleted and hunger and sickness came to prevail over the stranded party. For many, leather hides provided the only remaining sustenance. Several eventually died of starvation. Others, in desperation, resorted to consuming the flesh of those already dead. The survivors were finally rescued by a relief party led by James F. Reed --an original member of their party --and shortly thereafter reached their destination at Fort Sutter in New Helvetia. The diary begins during the early stages of the winter of 1846-47 --one of the harshest on record for the region --and proceeds to chronicle on a daily basis its increasing severity and the disastrous toll it took on the party. The last entry is recorded the day of the arrival of Reed's relief party.
The Donner Party by Daniel M. Rosen
The Donner Party. Digital History.
The Donner Family Camp Archaeology Project
Across the Plains in the Donner Party
A Personal Narrative of the Overland Trip to California
by Virginia Reed Murphy
University of California. Photo Archives. Photos related to the Donner party