Saturday, June 27, 2015

Etiquette Teacher of 1900

Me? Pretensions? Why, I never! Shrewd, maybe. But pretentious? Ha!~ "A woman of cultivation and social opportunities has been earning money in a community where her pretensions were celebrated, says a writer in the Philadelphia Press"


Teaching Manners...Shrewd Device of a Woman of Society for Making Money!

Children learning table setting etiquette in the late 1800s
A woman of cultivation and social opportunities has been earning money in a community where her pretensions were celebrated, says a writer in the Philadelphia Press.


She first published an explanatory card in the local press, setting forth what she intended to do. She proposed giving a course of familiar drawing -room talks on manners; the etiquette of the street, of church, of letter writing, of paying visits, of various social functions and of every-day life at home and at school.


Those were to be primarily for children and for young people, simply because, although this was not stated, she was sure that the parents would be too proud to confess their own need of them.


This part was managed by each ticket admitting not only a juvenile, but one adult friend. The lecturer knew that these elders would be glad to receive instruction that was not apparently aimed at them. She did not reckon without her host. Mothers were quite ready to send their little ones and to accompany them.
                                            

The course of procedure was according to the following program: A question box was placed on the hall table, in which slips of paper were thrust bearing inquiries on any point of etiquette or fashion on which the anonymous guest desired enlightenment. 

These were read and answered at the next weekly meeting. Then the elegant, though very quietly dressed, and queenly looking speaker, began her simple dissertation on current blunders and the proper performance of the subject in hand.

She touched upon trifles that even the best books on social usages do not make clear, and gave new ideas of many of the season's caprices in style. With these were what might be called "standards" of conduct, painstakingly outlined for both boys and girls, so that each might clearly understand what Mrs. Grundy would have a right to expect under most circumstances that could occur.

For example, some of the heads touched upon under manners in church were the position In the pew, ungainly attitudes, listening to the sermon, kneeling, whispering and laughing, attention to strangers, staring at late comers, turning the head, etc...

Special to boys: Assistance with wraps, carrying prayer books, etc... These lectures were rendered sprightly by the manner of delivery, and were interspersed with illustrations and amusing stories. – The Philadelphia Press, 1900




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