​​Grand Civilian EventsTM  '14

A Living History Division of  Donathen-Duffy Productions

"Kindness You Can Depend On!"


Karen Donathen Duffy, FSA Scot,  is a retired Professor of History, specializing in Material Culture and Social History 1800-1865.  She has been a Civil War reenactor for more than 38 years, a Regency and Romantic Eras living historian for over 20 years and is the founder and dance instructor of The Royal Lancers Vintage Dance TroupeKaren was a regular speaker at The Civil War Lady Conferences and regularly speaks at national history seminars and various civilian symposiums.

After extensive study of period sources on the etiquette of the ballroom, Karen had a desire to recreate a Civil War Grand Ball as accurately as possible. In 1991, Karen hosted the first national Civil War reenactors' Grand Ball which was held in St. Louis, Missouri. This was the first time instruction of documented period dances was given at a dance workshop prior to the ball, the use of a Master of Ceremonies, Floor Managers, dance cards, and first person personas were implemented at a reenactors' ball.  She has since hosted numerous balls in St. Louis and across the country, including Remembrance Day,  and is renowned for her Civil War Fancy Dress Grand Ball  (masquerade) held on New Year's Eve of the Millennium. 

Karen hosts and calls Civil War balls throughout the country and has presented dance workshops and ballroom etiquette classes numerous times throughout the 38+ years that she has been a  living historian and Civil War reenacting. 

Karen is known for her creativity, attention to detail, authenticity, patient and clear instruction, her knowledge of the steps and figures of more than  100 Civil War dances, her incorporation of ballroom etiquette throughout the evening, accurate recreation of dancing and social events, and her unique ability to create a dance program by which both new dancers and experienced dancers are able to thoroughly enjoy the ball. 

Karen's Grand Balls are more than a period dance, they are an experience by which those in attendance can truly take a step back in time.  Her balls are an unforgettable evening filled with a delightful blend of both couple and set dances including waltzes, contras, cotillions, reels, squares, polka, gallops, quadrilles, and many more.

Karen is also the director of the historic 1820's Shapley Ross House  located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri.  She develops and hosts numerous full-immersion and historical events throughout the year.  Being both  a Professor of History and a living historian (various time periods), Karen has unique insights in bringing American history to life.  She is known for her depth of historical research and the high standard of authenticity she includes in her recreated events.

Karen is a well- known speaker on Scottish heritage and clans (She married into the MacFie Clan, hers is the House of Crawford) and has presented sessions on "The History and Evolution of the Kilt,"  "Historic Scottish Women's Attire," and "The History of Tartans," at numerous Scottish Games throughout America.  Karen is also interested in the fascinating historic link of Gaelic Psalm singing to African-American Line-out hymn singing and Muskogee (Creek) hymn singing.  She is currently studying the history of the numerous Gaelic speaking black slaves and slave owners in 18th and 19th century America.

Karen has a very deep love and passion for the indigenous peoples of the Ecuadorian rainforest.  She works among the Waorani, Achuar and Shur tribes and is the founder and director of the non-for-profit organization,

Love on a MissionInternational which provides religious, educational and medical programs to remote villages in both the Ecuadorian rainforest and in Tanzania. 

Karen is a member of The Saint Louis Women's Club, The Scottish Tartan Authority, the Scottish Tartan Museum, a FSA Scot fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. The Society was established in 1780, and is the oldest antiquarian society in Scotland, and the second-oldest in Britain.  Karen is listed in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who of Among America's Greatest Teachers and Who's Who Among International Women.

For more information, please see her personal websites at:




Out of the Ashes Rises the Phoenix!