The Donner Party Lecture, “Trials of the Trails” 4/20/10

Please join us for the 2010 John Holtz Memorial Lecture on Tuesday April 20, at 7:00 pm in Brookens Auditorium.  This year’s lecture will focus on the Donner Party’s ill-fated journey from Springfield, Illinois to California, in 1846.  Don Springer, a  descendant of the Donner family and board member of the Springfield Historical Society, will be presenting his lecture “Trials of the Trails.”  He will share his unique perspective on the Donner Family history and their now famous journey out West.  There will be an exhibit of Donner Party artifacts and memorabilia immediately following the presentation. An exhibit will also be featured throughout the month of April on level 2 of Brookens.

Brookens Library Archives Department has an extensive collection on the Donner Party. To view what’s in the collection visit:

On a recent trip where he traveled the route that his ancestors took nearly 165 years ago, Don Springer wrote the following in a journal entry:

“Their life was lived with rudimentary tools, beasts of burden, little knowledge of medicine or caring for the injured or infirm. Food preservation techniques allowed for limited fare for limited time periods. Educated people were few and communication came on scraps of paper.

Their path is what they made it. They were the pioneers that dared to go where so few of their kind had been before them.

It is too easy, too distant, and too detached to look at maps and travel the trail in the comfort of a motor coach and remark of how difficult it must have been. The hurdle that must be cleared is the ability to visualize and transpose your judgments and opinions from the light of today to the darkness of the frontier.” – Donald Donner Springer

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