​​19th Century SkillsTM  '14

A Living History Division of  Donathen-Duffy Foundation

"Kindness You Can Depend On!"

 Won't you join me for a Weekend of Polite Society?
                                                           -Mrs. Moncur Hamilton

A  Weekend of Polite Society

Price Includes all of the Following:

ALL Formal and Elegant Luncheons and Dinners Prepared by the Master Chief, Leon

Thursday's Recreation of an Elegant Evening Soiree with Parlour Amusements

Informative Symposiums

Multiple Etiquette, Deportment and Decorum Workshops

Private Guided Tour of Forest Park

Period Social Entertainments

Ballroom Etiquette and Dance Workshop

Recreation of a Private House Ball

Visit to the Magnificent St. Louis Art Museum and History Museum

And much more with some added surprises!

$385 Per Person 
Ladies and gentlemen are both welcome, civilian and military impressions. 

Partners are not required in order to attend.

1850s - 1860s Attire Required for the Entire Weekend

Don't Delay!  What a Rare Opportunity and Special Event!

Limited to 40 Persons Due to the Exclusive Nature of the Program



In 2018 look for another "WEEKEND OF POLITE SOCIETY" in St. Louis!!! 



A  Weekend of

Polite Society

TBD 2018

in cooperation with

A Privately Owned Victorian Mansion

St. Louis, Missouri
Limited to 40 Persons due to the Exclusive Nature of Program

About the Mansion

The Mansion was built in 1895 by Mr. and Mrs. William R. Donaldson. In 1904 The Louisiana Exposition, often called The Saint Louis World’s Fair the home was sought after by the exposition’s Directors who wanted a venue that would provide the wives of the heads of state and royalty from all over the world with gracious hospitality while in Saint Louis. The Directors asked six ladies to form a committee solely for this purpose: Mrs. James L. Blair, Mrs. David R. Francis, Mrs. William Hardaway, Mrs. Thomas K. Niedringhaus, Mrs. Ashley Scott and Mrs. Julius Walsh. Meeting in April 1903, this group subsequently invited 100 other ladies to join with them.

The home boasts an exquisite 2nd floor ballroom which is the largest private ballroom in St. Louis.  It also has a Victorian elevator, one of only two of its kind in the entire world.  Its twin is located in Buckingham Palace, London, England.  The grand foyer, gracious parlours, beautiful fireplaces, crystal chandeliers, and grand double staircase make this beautiful home truly a Victorian treasure and the perfect place for you to become immersed in the 19th century. What a unique opportunity for our Weekend of Polite Society!

                                                   TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE FOR

                                             A  Weekend of Polite Society


  • Upon receipt of your email, Karen will confirm the availability of your request and send you further instructions.  You may then proceed to submit your non-refundable payment.
  • Payment instructions will be provided in the confirmation email.  Credit Cards, Paypal, Money Orders, Certified Checks and Personal Checks are all gladly accepted.

 Please Note:

All Sales Final, Ticket price is non-refundable but is transferable.

Reservation is not confirmed or guaranteed until full payment is made.

All information on this site is subject to change.
Karen Retains the Right of Refusal on Ticket Sales

You are formally invited by Mrs. Moncur Hamilton(Karen Duffy)to join her at her "home" for an 1860s  living history immersion: A Weekend of Polite Society!

This very special and delightful experience is limited to a mixed gathering of persons who will have the unique and very rare opportunity from Thursday evening July 23rd, beginning at 7:00 pm through Sunday, July 26th, ending at 1:00 pm to experience a Civil War era immersion event in an exquisite and wonderful privately-owned Victorian mansion located in St. Louis, Missouri.
(Think of it as an inter-active conference executed all in first-person!) It is an exceptional opportunity to have unfettered utilization of a privately owned Victorian home with four parlours, two private dining chambers, grand staircase, and 2nd floor ballroom.  It also boasts a late 19th century elevator of which there are only two of its kind in the world, the one in the mansion and its twin which is in Buckingham Palace! The Mansion is filled with mid to late 19th century period furnishings and material culture items both original and quality historical reproductions.  
~Indeed, guests will live, dine, study 
and dance in the Mansion~
 Everything is at your disposal during the weekend, for your use and for your enjoyment, in order that you might truly be immersed in the recreated social setting of a private home of the period for the length of the 2 1/2 day experience. You will dine on fine china, visit in the formal parlours while seated on Victorian settees and chairs, play lively parlour games during the elegant soiree, check your appearance in one of the nine antique floor to ceiling pier mirrors, stroll through the spacious park nearby, attend the an out-of-doors professional theatrical, and dance a night away in the private ballroom. 

The main focus of The Weekend of Polite Society is “Developing Your Living History Persona and the Usage of First Person” and will include: informative presentations, hands-on workshops, private entertainments and much more directly related to helping you begin or continue to develop your persona.  This weekend, all executed in first-person, will be an outstanding occasion to learn more about the ladies and gentlemen who lived during this era and to practice your new knowledge while interacting with one another in order to develop who you endeavor to portray at Civil War events with polish!

Guests will help decide prior to event the workshops they are most interested in having presented selections. A few examples of the range of workshops:

What is First Person and How Does One Use It at Events?
How do You Decide Who You Are and How does that Effect Future Decisions?
Where Does Your Persona Fit in Society: Abilities and Restrictions
Social Etiquette for Various Occasions
Calling Cards: Their Design, Use, and Etiquette
Challenges and Forfeits: Social Amusements
 Voice, Deportment and Carriage
Shall I or Shan't I? Etiquette between the Sexes and Social Classes
The Civil War Ballroom: Ballroom Etiquette and Dance Workshop
What Did You Just Say? (Victorian Vocabulary)
 Proper Attire and Accessories of the Varying Classes
 Travel and Transportation in the Mid-19th Century
 Under the direct, and somewhat strict, tutelage of "Mrs. Vallion," an etiquette instructor from the Philadelphia Female Academy, you will immerse yourself with the etiquette of the era as you study how to properly act, speak, carry yourself,  interact with others and “be” a person of the 1860s, no matter what persona you develop.  You will have the  special opportunity to “practice” your skills throughout the entire event.  Attire, accessories, and accomplishments will be addressed.   First person interaction will be introduced and utilized throughout the event with a variety of entertainments created for your amusement.  A ballroom etiquette and dance workshop will be taught to prepare guests for the recreation of a private house ball on Saturday evening. During the event we will stroll in Forest Park where the 1904 World's Fair was held, enrich your appreciation of the arts as we view the galleries at the St. Louis Art Museum and History Museum, and participate in our own private theatrical. Special surprises will help make the weekend full of excitement...and gossip! AND A SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY: If you portray a servant and wish to have a servant's immersion experience by taking on the role of one of Mrs. Hamilton's servants for the event, please let me know and we will make the necessary arrangements!

~All Levels of Society & Living History Experience are Welcome~

This special event and its unique experiences is sure to leave you with a treasure of wonderful memories, a sense of personal accomplishment and a better appreciation of those persons who came before us, who shared in the hardships and sorrows of this divided land in order that they might also share in its abundance and joys. 

Hotel Information

Rates wukk be updated in 2018

Parkway Hotel
4550 Forest Park Ave, St Louis, MO, 63108

Group rate code is "6306" or "Polite Society"
    King = $119.00     2 Dbl Beds = $129.00

Complimentary Full Breakfast Included. 
Hotel is only .8 miles from the mansion.

Holiday Inn Express Central West End
4630 Lindell Blvd.  St. Louis, MO 63106
Group rate code is "Polite Society"
    King = $119.00     2 Dbl Beds = $129.00
Complimentary Full Breakfast Included. 
It is a very easy and short walk to Mansion!   No driving or parking hassles!!

Mrs. Moncur Hamilton

(a.k.a Karen Duffy)

About Your Hostess

Prof. Karen Donathen Duffy has taught for over 30 years and is a former Professor of History at Saint Louis Christian College where she also served as the Department Chair of the General Division. She graduated from Ozark Christian College with a Bachelors in Education, Xavier University with a Masters in History and a Masters of Education, and post-graduate work in both History and Education at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Her specialty is American social history and material culture c. 1820-1865. Karen is listed in Who’s Who Among American Women, Who’s Who Among International Women and Who’s Who Among America’s Greatest Teachers.

Karen has been a Civil War reenactor, living history participant and historic clothier for over 37 years. For more than 30 years she has been traveling nationwide speaking at history conferences, symposiums, seminars, retreats, reenactments, and living history events. At Civil War events Karen can be found either portraying Mrs. Moncur Hamilton, a lady of means or Mrs. Davis, sister-in-law to Pres. Jefferson Davis. Karen's Civil War passions are first person usage, etiquette and dance. Recently, Karen was the organizer and hostess of the grand civilian events, Steamboats a-Comin', held in Louisville, Kentucky and A Christmas Past in Williamsburg, VA.

Besides being a Civil War reenactor and living history participant, Karen is curator of The Historic Shapley Ross House, c. 1820 and thus also enjoys c. 1820 -1830 living history. She is a vintage dance instructor and hosts Civil War grand balls across the country including the The President's Balls during Remembrance Day in Gettysburg, PA. Karen is the founder and dance mistress for The Royal Lancers Vintage Dance Troupe which specializes in dances from c. 1820-1865. She is also proficient in over 20 period domestic skills including hearth cooking, spinning, caning, weaving, quilting, basket weaving, a large variety of period needlework, and others.

Karen's greatest passion and one of the most important things in her life is her work with the indigenous peoples in remote villages deep within the rainforests of Ecuador. She works among the Woarani, Achuar and Shur tribes.  She is the founder and president of the non-for-profit 501c3 organization, Love on a Mission International.