Sunday, November 16, 2008

Archaeology book

My frequent long silences don't mean that nothing is going on on the Donner front -- au contraire! I've been so busy, I don't know where to start.

I've sent in the first draft of my contribution to the Donner Party archaeology book, which was quite a relief, but now I'm working on revisions. Some interesting things have come up that I need to shoehorn in somehow.

Also, I worked with Will Bagley on his contribution to the book, and some prolonged digging revealed patterns in how the news of the Donner disaster reached the rest of the world. Ships carried files of the California Star and The Californian to Oregon and Hawaii, then to Boston, whence the story fanned out along the eastern seaboard. In the meanwhile, eastbound travelers had brought copies of the California newspapers overland to St. Louis, which became another vector. The first garbled hints reached the States in May 1847, but it wasn't until summer that the horrid truth became known. Between July and October 1847, paper after paper reprinted various articles from the Star and elsewhere.

The other contributors have been sending in their work, too, but the publication date is still up in the air, as far as I know.

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