Lot 28 of 413:
Donner Party with documents signed by Breen family survivors  

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History of the Donner Party. A Tragedy of the Sierras - with documents signed by Breen family members

McGlashan, Charles Fayette


Crowley & McGlashan



193 pp. (8vo) 22.8x14.4 cm (9x5¾"), original blindstamped brown cloth, spine lettered in gilt. First Edition.

Accompanied by four items signed by surviving members of the family of Patrick Breen, on whose diary much of McGlashan's book is based. Four (or perhaps five) of the family are represented, of his seven children who made the harrowing journey. The documents include: 

  • Check signed by Patrick Breen (Jr.), for $75, made out to Maurice Sullivan, dated Nov. 12, 1876 (the elder Patrick Breen died in 1868).
  • Manuscript deed transferring land from James F. Breen to his wife Kate, with indication that the land was "set apart.. in the estates of Patrick Breen and Margaret Breen deceased on final distribution thereof..." Signed by James F. Breen, with notary's attached statement that James F. Breen personally appeared - the notary was P.W. Breen (relationship unknown - there were Patrick and Peter Breens among the children, see following document). Sept. 27, 1897.
  • Portion of printed mortgage document, signed by Margaret I. [Breen] McMahon (youngest daughter, age one when the Donner Party crossed, and the last survivor of the disaster); also signed, as witness, by Peter A. Breen. Dated March 22, 1909.
  • Portion of a printed indenture document signed by Margaret I. McMahon, dated April 18, 1912.

"The ordeal of the Donner Party is one of the most memorable events in the history of overland narratives" - Graff. Howes notes this as "the best account of the most harrowing of all overland disasters." Cowan p.406; Graff 2610; Howes M102; Zamorano Eighty 53.

Lot Amendments

Some wear and fading to covers, a few small stains; front hinge cracking, free endpaper excises; very good, with rare association material.

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