Friday, December 9, 2016

Etiquette and Silver Fork Novels

In the early nineteenth century there was a sudden vogue for novels centering on the glamour of aristocratic social and political life. Such novels, attractive as they were to middle-class readers, were condemned by contemporary critics as dangerously seductive, crassly commercial, designed for the 'masses' and utterly unworthy of regard.

The Silver Fork Novel was a kind of novel that was popular in Britain from the 1820s to the 1840s, and was marked by concentration upon the fashionable etiquette and manners of high society. The term was used mockingly by critics of the time, and has been applied to works by Theodore Hook, Catherine Gore, Frances Trollope, Lady Caroline Lamb, Benjamin Disraeli, and Susan Ferrier." – From "An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age"

Jane Austen and the Silver Fork Novel– The usual story, that Jane Austen's novels in the 20 years after her death were a taste for the discerning few alone, needs to be brought into line with a more provocative one – that within 10 years of her death in 1817 her near contemporaries, the novelists of the 1820s and 1830s, were using her novels as a source for wholesale plunder. The publisher Henry Colburn initiated the taste, the “mania” as John Sutherland calls it (1986: 70), for these novels about fashionable life in London by issuing a spate of them in the mid-1820s which became known derisively as “the silver fork school.” 

William Hazlitt supplied the name in The Examiner (November 18, 1827) where he mocked Thomas Hook's admiration of the aristocracy in Sayings and Doings (1824) because, “they eat their fish with a silver fork.” Colburn, an aggressive advertiser of his publications, promoted the novels as aristocratic romans à clef written by authors who were themselves members of fashionable society. His assumption was that these new novels about contemporary “exclusives” would ride on the popularity of such earlier works of Regency scandal as Caroline Lamb's Glenarvon (1816), with its tale of her affair with Byron, or even the courtesan Harriette Wilson's more recent Memoirs (1825), in which she revealed liaisons with the Duke of Wellington and other well-known contemporaries. – From "Blackwell Reference Online"

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Men's Fashion Etiquette

The top garment of formal occasions, the Inverness Cape, is easily donned or doffed, being loose fitting and graceful in hang.


When to Wear Them


The White Lawn Cravat—Always upon occasions when the swallowtail is worn.

The High Silk Hat—Always with the double breasted frock coat and swallowtail. It is apropos also with the frock cut away coat.

Gloves—At all times en promenade, especially when walking. The glove is also to be informally worn on every clear, cool day in the year.

The Inverness Cape—At night over the dress suit. The top garment of formal occasions, it is easily donned or doffed, being loose fitting and graceful in hang.

The Full Dress Coat—From 6 p. m.—being the earliest dinner hour—just so long into the next day as the festivities continue. It is the impregnable and inexorable garment of fashionable times.

The Cane —Not during business hours nor with evening dress. In point of etiquette, the cane is essentially an adjunct of outdoor exercise, and can have no application with the more formal functions of social life. —Clothier and Furnisher, 1892



Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Japanese Picture Bride Etiquette

Japanese "Picture Brides" — "She will no longer step from the steamer ignorant of American life and American ways. She will take a finishing course on the way across the Pacific."
Training Japanese Brides in American Ways

SAN FRANCISCO, April 6—No more will the dainty "picture bride" from Japan, unschooled in life of the Occident, be landed at this port to fall into the arms of a strange husband and stand before the criticizing gaze of a new world. Young Japanese men of the Pacific Coast have adopted a custom of sending to their native land for a wife. 


They mail their picture and some Nippon maid whose eyes are set on the Western World sends back a picture of herself. If impressons are favorable, he sends her transportation and they are married when she arrives. But she will no longer step from the steamer ignorant of American life and American ways. She will take a finishing course on the way across the Pacific. This is an innovation of the Toyo Kisen Kaisha, Japanese steamship company. The Korea Maru was the first vessel to arrive from Japan with a school of conduct and etiquette for "picture brides’’ on board. It was in charge of Japanese women who have learned the ways of America. 

Every morning for two hours classes are held. The Oriental brides are shown the use of knives and forks. They are taught to sit properly on a chair and eat from a table instead of dining on the floor, as they do in Japan. They are shown the most approved American dress, the approved way of getting into it and how to wear it. They are taught to walk with American shoes and—yes. the mystery of the corset is explained to them. — The Los Angeles Herald, 1917

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber,  is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Friday, December 2, 2016

Etiquette and Diplomatic Ethics

The sinking of the U.S.S. Maine: While the incident is still fresh in the memory of the people, our Secretary of State has seen fit to give a public dinner, and to include in the list of invited guests the Spanish Minister at Washington!

Disgusting Subserviency

The ethics of Diplomacy seem to have no limitations. While the dead of the Maine were being fished out of the slime of Havana harbor, our ambassador at the Spanish Court was engaged in wining and dining and toasting the Ministers and Diplomats of that country.

So outraged was the American sense of propriety over this incident that public sentiment was voiced in a Congressional resolution of censure, which, although not adopted, at least served to emphasize the universal conviction that good taste did not call for any such demonstration at that time.

Yet, while the incident is still fresh in the memory of the people, our Secretary of State has seen fit to give a public dinner, and to include in the list of invited guests the Spanish Minister at Washington.

While the wine was being passed around at Sherman's Washington home, the wife of Minister Woodford was hurrying out of Spain, and the consuls of this government in Cuba were being concentrated at Havana, ready to flee for their lives upon the first announcement of a break in Diplomatic intercourse, a precaution never before deemed requisite in dealings between recognized civilized nations.

If diplomatic etiquette demands any such sacrifices of national dignity to have been laid at the doors of Minister Woodford and Secretary Sherman, it will be conceded that they are in sore need of revision. — Los Angeles Herald, 1898


Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia©Etiquette Encyclopedia

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ladies' Street Etiquette

In large cities street etiquette is well understood by ladies.
A Word to the Ladies
In large cities, street etiquette is well understood by ladies. In Santa Rosa there is a lamentable lack of knowledge on that subject. For instance, it is not considered ladylike for two ladies walking abreast to occupy both parallel walks on a street crossing and force a gentleman to take the mud. When by following one after the other, a person coming from the opposite direction has also the privilege of crossing dry shod. For this reason two parallel walks are provided. Keep to the right ladies and go single file over street crossings. — Sonoma Democrat, 1874

Etiquette Enthusiast Maura J Graber is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia©Etiquette Encyclopedia 

Walking Stick Etiquette

Some walking sticks are dashed backward and forward like lethal bayonets! So never mind if he growls; you are acting in the interests of etiquette and sound citizenship.

Canes and Sound Citizenship

Walking sticks are "In" with a greater virulence than has prevailed since the year 1898, says the London Chronicle. The West End began it with silver-topped and gold-topped ebonies (same as used by the King), and the East has taken up the tale with cherry crooks that also have metal embellishments. 
In the Fleet Street-Strand Monkey Crawl of promenaders, nine out of every ten male promenaders had sticks, whereas a few years back the crowd was almost stickless. 

The sticks, it may be added, are a menace, so few people having studied the art of carrying them. They are carried at dangerous angles below the armpit; also they are dashed backward and forward like lethal bayonets. When you come upon a man carrying a stick that projects from his armpit upward behind him, turn it down. Never mind if he growls; you are acting in the interests of etiquette and sound citizenship. — 1914

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

19th C. Global Cigarette Etiquette

The idea is that it is more courteous to allow a comrade the greater length of time. If he is handed the match first he naturally hurries in order to hand it back again. 

There is a fashion even in so small a thing as the lighting of a cigarette. In Cuba it is customary among gentlemen for one to place the cigarette between his lips, light it, take a few puffs and then hand it to his friend. In Spain the same fashion prevails. An Austrian is very punctilious about the etiquette of cigar lighting. He lights his cigarette first and then hands the lighted match to his companion. The idea is that it is more courteous to allow a comrade the greater length of time. If he is handed the match first he naturally hurries in order to hand it back again. 

A Frenchman always hands his companion the match first. An Englishman proffers the cigarette to his friend, lights a match, hands it to him, and then helps himself to another cigarette and match. An American usually hands his friend a lighted match and takes a light from his cigarette afterward. The small boy gets a light wherever he can, generally from some passer-by on the street. The habit of stopping men on the street to ask for a light is looked upon as ill-bred in all countries. In no country is it tolerated to such an extent as in the United States. — The New York Mail and Express, 1887

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia