Marian Calabro

Professor Francis O’Malley and Marian Calabro, author of The Perilous History of the Donner Party, at the University of Delaware’s Teaching American History conference

More than 175 years after the saga of the Donner Party, we still remember this pioneer group for its cannibalism. But there’s so much more to the story. Invite Marian Calabro—author of the award-winning Perilous Journey of the Donner Party and commentator on The Travel Channel and NPR—to share “The Real Story of the Donner Party” with your organization through her photo-rich, real-time Zoom presentation. For an intro video and details, please see

Inspired by Calabro’s award-winning nonfiction book, the program was a highlight of the University of Delaware’s Teaching American History conferences and has been presented to acclaim at museums, libraries, and book clubs. Like the book, it is “eerie and mesmerizing” but never lurid or sensationalized.

  • Format: Live on Zoom.
  • Duration (your choice): 60, 90, or 120 minutes.
  • Pricing: Starts at $125. Discounts for qualified nonprofits.
  • Style: Visual and interactive.
  • Customized for your audience: alumni associations, book clubs, community education, continuing care communities, historical societies. libraries, museums, school groups (age 12-up), and senior centers.
  • Special features: Choose a Donner Party member identity and discover your character’s fate at the end. Share the author’s research journeys and creative process. Live Q&A.

Follow the historic journey via The Real Story of the Donner Party on Instagram and make sure to check out Calabro’s Free Donner Party Resource List (PDF).