Friday, April 25, 2014

Etiquette Hints and Advice for Early to Mid-20th Century Australians


"Etiquette in the true sense of the word has been submerged by the pace of modern times, but the possession of good manners will always remain the most important asset to anyone who wishes to be considered socially by their friends." From "Etiquette ; A Handbook for All Occasions to Suit Australian Conditions" circa late 1920s to 1930s

Hints for All

This chapter has been devoted to hints for the various sections of the community in the hope that they may prove assistance to the individuals concerned.

Etiquette in the true sense of the word has been submerged by the pace of modern times, but the possession of good manners will always remain the most important asset to anyone who wishes to be considered socially by their friends.
It is always advisable not to overcrowd the room nor to invite people together who have not the same social standing.

The Hostess 

In order to achieve even moderate success as a hostess it is necessary to be self-possessed and efficient in planning the details of an entertainment. Each guest should be afforded a cordial welcome, and a good hostess will endeavour to place her guests at their ease and give them an opportunity to enjoy themselves.

Should a guest be asked to sing or play, then a hostess should ask for a further performance later on in the evening so that their effort will not appear unappreciated. It is always advisable not to overcrowd the room nor to invite people together who have not the same social standing.
A gentleman never boasts about his conquests with the opposite sex, and always makes sure that his collar and handkerchief are immaculate.

Hints for Gentlemen

A gentleman will never push in front of women when entering a public conveyance, or enter a public room where ladies are present without removing his hat.

It is not good manners to be constantly correcting people or boring them with stale jokes and stories. A gentleman never boasts about his conquests with the opposite sex, and always makes sure that his collar and handkerchief are immaculate. A lady has the privilege of recognizing a man, therefore, he should not raise his hand to her in the street until he has been acknowledged.
A lady is never to be found at a disadvantage.

Hints for Ladies

A lady may be described as one who is kind and considerate to everyone and considers no task beneath her should the need arise. Assuming affectations either in speech or mannerisms, using strong perfume or making-up in public, are acts which are avoided by ladies.

A lady is never to be found at a disadvantage. Should an unexpected visitor call, she does not keep them waiting, as her appearance is invariably trim and neat and she does not apologize for the state of her house or the refreshments offered.
Society frowns upon a girl if she does not keep her clothes clean and in good repair.

Hints for Girls

Society frowns upon a girl if she does not keep her clothes clean and in good repair. Slang expressions are better omitted from a girl's conversation, as they become a habit which is hard to break, also the practice of continually whispering and giggling.

Girls will always be teased by their brothers so take it in good part. Even after school-days are ended, continue to take an active interest in sport and improve upon education by reading recommended literature.
Treat all women folk with respect and draw up a chair for them at the dinner table.
Hints for Young Men

A determined effort should be make to overcome any feeling of self- consciousness, and to walk easily with an upright bearing. Treat all women folk with respect and draw up a chair for them at the dinner table.

When are young man is paying for his first call at the home of the young lady in whom he is interested, the visit should be a general one. Overcoats are removed before entering the drawing-room.
Never neglect to assist a lady from a vehicle by alighting first and always allow her the inside of the pavement.
A wife also will appreciate a husband who keeps his appearance trim and neat and who shows an interest in the affairs of the household.
Hints for Husbands

Many husbands do not show their affection for their wives but this is a mistake, as women generally wish to know if they are still cherished and appreciated.

A man should not forget to extend the ordinary little courtesies to his wife such as crossing the room to open a door, and raising his hat to her in the street. A wife also will appreciate a husband who keeps his appearance trim and neat and who shows an interest in the affairs of the household.

Such occasions as birthdays and wedding anniversaries are important, so do not forget to bring home a gift or suggest some celebration to mark the occasion.


It is important that a wife endeavours to retain a well-groomed appearance at all times.
Hints for Wives

It is important that a wife finds time from her many tasks to enjoy an occasional outing with her husband, and that she endeavours to retain a well-groomed appearance at all times. A good husband will feel rewarded if you received punctual and well-cooked meals, and who has a wife who does not fail to show her love and appreciation of him.

A woman will prove more of a companion if she keeps herself informed about current affairs and refrains from worrying about her husband with small upsets, which occurred during the day.

A wife should not criticize her husband in company, nor should she remind him continually of his faults.
Teach them to think and act wisely for themselves, so that they will grow up useful and independent members of the community.

Hints for Parents
It is well to remember that children will follow the example set them by their parents to some extent. Impress upon them the importance of cleanliness and health, and try is far as possible to have suitable replies to their many questions.

Never threaten children unless the threat is carried out, and teach them to think and act wisely for themselves, so that they will grow up useful and independent members of the community.


A businessman will remove his hat before entering a private office for an interview, and will raise his hat on encountering his senior outside the office.

Hints for Business Men

An employee does not discuss with his friends any confidential correspondence relating to the firm by whom he is employed, nor does he receive personal calls during business hours.

A businessman will remove his hat before entering a private office for an interview, and will raise his hat on encountering his senior outside the office. Should an employer desire an interview with a member of his staff, the employee should remain standing until he is asked to be seated.

Cards used by businessmen never include the prefix "Mr."

When being entertained, never display any signs of boredom, but appear appreciative at all times.

Hints on Conduct

A well mannered person will always show deference to the wishes of others, and never boast about their worldly goods or extensive travels.

Reading a newspaper over somebody else's shoulder is bad form, also addressing comparative strangers by their Christian names. Personal illness or other people's should not be discussed in public. On receipt of a letter, it is considerate to reply promptly. When being entertained, never display any signs of boredom, but appear appreciative at all times.


It is customary to send flowers to a debutante on the evening of her presentation, a bride on her wedding day, and to a mother on the birth of her baby.

Flowers

Gifts of flowers are always welcome, and by giving them one very rarely makes a social error. The atmosphere of a home is not complete without some form of floral decoration and an artistic arrangement transforms the appearance of a room. Flowers also play an important part in the success of any social function, and it is a thoughtful gesture on the part of friends of the hostess to send along offerings from their own gardens.

It is customary to send flowers to a debutante on the evening of her presentation, a bride on her wedding day, and to a mother on the birth of her baby. Flowers are also used to express sympathy and for many other occasions.
Society permits a young girl to attend a luncheon or afternoon tea engagement without a chaperone, but never a dinner or theatre.

Chaperones

At certain functions where a young girl should be chaperoned, a mother, married lady, or brother over the age of 18 act in this capacity.

However, a hostess at a private dance or a similar occasion, often takes over the obligations of chaperone to her young lady guests.

Society permits a young girl to attend a luncheon or afternoon tea engagement without a chaperone, but never a dinner or theatre.
Debutantes must be punctual so that all is in readiness before the official party arrive.

Preparation of a Debutante

When debutante are to be presented, the married lady who undertakes the responsibility of presenting them is called the Matron of Honour. Her duties include those of chaperone until after the presentation, and advising the ball committee regarding such matters as arrangements of the dais and floral decorations. In order that each debutante will know the correct procedure for the evening, their asked to attend tuition classes prior to the ball.


Presentation

Debutantes must be punctual so that all is in readiness before the official party arrive.

When the Matron of Honour makes the presentations, each debutante is expected to make a graceful full courtsey. This presentation marks the official entry of a young lady into society, therefore she is expected to remain dignified throughout the evening and not indulge in smoking.

Dress

Conventions states that a debutante should wear either white or cream. However, pale pastel shades of pink or blue are sometimes worn. The style of frocks are not elaborate, and jewelry is not considered correct.

The bouquet and flowers worn in the hair are white with perhaps a hint of pink. Gloves are essential, and shoes should be of white satin.


Flowers are generously employed for the decoration of the dais, and the lady who received the debutante and the Matron of Honour, each receive a bouquet. — From "Etiquette ; A Handbook for All Occasions to Suit Australian Conditions" circa late 1920s to 1930s

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