Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Etiquette and Women's Hats

When Women Should Remove Their Hats 

It may obscure her own view! "If there is any doubt about a hat obscuring someone's view at the theater, the movies, or a meeting, a woman should remove it promptly."

In the country, when hats are worn at all by women, they may be removed with coats if desired. It is usual at house Christenings, weddings, and funerals to treat the house, for the occasion, as if it were a house of worship and for women to keep their hats on. This, however, is not technically necessary, either for guests or for the woman of the household. 

At garden parties or garden weddings it is purely a matter of preference whether a woman, who has been shown to a cloak room first, decides to remove her hat or leave it on as an important part of her costume. 

In town at formal receptions, teas, luncheons, and meetings women guests usually keep hats on if they have worn them. However, except perhaps at the home of an elderly and very conservative woman, on such an occasion the lack of a hat would not be in any way remarked these days. 

In fact, even at formal luncheons the modern hostess often suggests that guests leave their hats with their coats, if they wish. Certainly if most of the women at such an affair are hatless, one or two women who cling to the older convention in the matter will seem inelastic, to say the least. 

Hats worn with dinner suits or dinner dresses are intended to remain in place throughout the evening and are usually tiny enough not to obstruct the view of those behind one in the theater. If there is any doubt about a hat obscuring someone's view at the theater, the movies, or a meeting, a woman should remove it promptly. If she's asked to remove it by someone having difficulty seeing beyond her, she should do it immediately with murmured apologies. – From Amy Vanderbilt's 1952 "Complete Book of Etiquette"

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

German Etiquette Rules

Some of the Rules that Americans are Forever Disregarding

German gent with one hand in his pocket, and cigar in other hand.

German etiquette is very minute says the New York Sun. It does not stop with the ordinary rules for eating, drinking, calling, and receiving. It prescribes mazes of trivial details which would fill so many fat volumes that even Germans have not had the courage to write them.

It directs a man what to say just before beginning to drink a glass of beer and just before finishing it. It tells him the exact words he must use in insulting a stranger. It graduates nicely the depths of the bows that are due the privy councilor, the court councilor, the tutor, the judge, the tradesmen, the barber, and the restaurateur.

It explains why the clergymen should bow first to Herr Baron and last to Herr Bankier. It describes just how the man must kiss a woman's hand in the drawing-room and just why he need not give her his seat in a horse-car. It even describes the circles in which a man may wahltz at a ball.

Perhaps the best criterion of the minuteness of German etiquette is the little unwritten code on pocket manners. German good form is shocked by the helter-skelter condition of the American pocket. A well bred German never allows his keys and his jack-knife, his small change, his shoe buttoner, and his cigar-cutter to jingle about loosely in his trousers pocket.

A naked cigar protruding from the waist coat pocket shocks the modesty of German good form much more than a dozen or more of Rubens' strapping Dutch goddesses. The greatest offense against German pocket manners is to carry small silver coins loose in the pocket. A German Lieutenant may have only half a dollar to his name, but he carries as big a purse as if he owned all the notes of the Imperial Reichsbank.

In paying for 5 cents' worth of beer, he goes down into his trousers and draws out his flabby pocket-book with dignity, thanking heaven he is a mannerly, high-born Prussian, and not a vulgar tradesmen like the American at his side, who has just slapped down on the table a mess of gold, silver, keys and manicure apparatus. The small German school-boy is not even allowed to carry his car fare without a purse. The servant girl, who earns but $40 a year, would not carry the price of a loaf of black bread through the street in her hand.

Every reputable smoker in Germany has his "cigar-etuis." He prepares his smoke by emptying out all his 3-cent cigars on the table before him and laying the case aside. Then he draws a little cigar-clipper from another case, removes the tip of the least offensive looking cigar, and drops the small bit of tobacco into a tiny box which he carries in his waistcoat pocket.

At the end of each smoker's year he sends all these cigar tips to a charitable institution in his province. (Two years ago, the asylums in the little province of Brunswick received 400 marks' worth of tobacco in this wise.) After stowing away the "orphans' share" of the cigar, the smoker takes a knife from its chamois-skin bag and finishes the job which the clipper began.

A case containing a cigarette holder and a leather match-safe are the last articles which the well-bred German about to smoke, adds to the collection of small bags and cases on the table before him. Of course, all this elaborate preparation to smoke one 3-cent cigar strikes the American tourist as a trifle ridiculous. A German, however, regards it as indicative of the breeding of the smoker. He looks upon the rough-and-ready manner in which an American carries his cigars, matches and knife much as an American looks upon a man who travels without a toothbrush and night-shirt.

The little code of pocket manners is enforced just as tyrannically by German public opinion as other branches of German etiquette. Americans who consider such minute matters all bosh, and say so, are apt to be roughly corrected or altogether abandoned by their more fastidious friends.– Marin Journal, 1899

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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sidewalk Etiquette

The common rule is this: If men and women are walking together, she should always be at his right arm, whether it be toward the inside or outside of the walk ; then the woman will not be shoved against the passers.

Someone of our Chesterfieldian exchange has the following on sidewalk etiquette:

Only villagers, or persona with rural ideas, any longer contend that ladies should always be given the inside of the pavement in passing. The rule adopted in all cities is to turn to the right, whether the right leads to the wall or to the gutter; and an observance of this common sense rule would obviate much unpleasant "scrouging" by over-gallant gentlemen who persistently crowd for the outside of the walk.

Another common custom, not required by fashionable etiquette, and one which is as nearly as unexplainably absurd, is the practice of men filing out of a church pew, making themselves as ridiculous as an " awkward squad" practicing a catch step, in order to give a woman the wrong end of the pew. Another is that of a man, when at promenade or walk with a lady, to keep himself on the outside of the pavement. A little exercise of judgment will convince any person of the perfect uselessness of this bobbing back and forth at every corner. 

The common rule is this: If men and women are walking together, she should always be at his right arm, whether it be toward the inside or outside of the walk ; then the woman will not be shoved against the passers. Those who giggle at persona who follow this rule are themselves the "greeniea" and should read the book of manners before, they indulge in the laugh of fashionable fools. — The Daily Alta, 1868

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Etiquette and Girls Gone Wild

It is the first duty of a woman to be a lady. Good breeding is good sense. Bad manners in a woman is immorality. Awkwardness may be ineradicable.
Wild Girls

by Gail Hamilton 

Wildness is a thing which girls cannot afford. Delicacy is a thing which cannot be lost or found, No art can restore to the grape its bloom. 

Familiarity without confidence, without regard, is destructive to all that makes woman exalting and ennobling. It is the first duty of a woman to be a lady. Good breeding is good sense. Bad manners in a woman is immorality. Awkwardness may be ineradicable. 

Bashfulness is constitutional. Ignorance of etiquette is the result of circumstances. All can be condoned and not banish men or women from the amenities of their kind.

But self-possessed, unshrinking and aggressive coarseness of demeanor may be reckoned as a state's prison offense, and certainly merits that mild form of restraint called imprisonment for life. 

It is a shame for women to be lectured on their manners. It is a bitter shame that they need it. Do not be restrained. Do not have impulses that need restraint. Do not wish to dance with the Prince unsought; feel differently, be sure you confer honor. 

Carry yourself so loftily that men will look up to you for reward, not at you in rebuke. The natural sentiment of man toward woman is reverence. He loses a large means of grace when he is obliged to account her as a being to be trained in propriety. 

A man's ideal is not wounded when a woman fails in worldly wisdom; but if in grace, in tact, in sentiment, in delicacy, in kindness, she would be found wanting, he receives an inward hurt. –Los Angeles Herald, 1882

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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Etiquette and Charles Dickens

Carving was most often reserved for the master of the house or for distinguished guests. All gentlemen were expected to know the exact way to carve any dish before them. 

Charles Dickens’s picturesque story of the life of David Copperfield is a classic tale. When Copperfield marries his childlike bride, Dora, they set up housekeeping. Dora has few domestic skills and very little common sense, however. One of their first attempts at housekeeping was to invite David’s good friend Tommy Traddles to dinner. Dickens’s description of the ensuing scene is one of the most amusing dining scenes in English literature. Copperfield starts to recount the evening: “I could not have wished for a prettier little wife at the opposite end of the table,” but the table, and the entire room, are hopelessly cramped and cluttered. Their dog, Jip, is another distraction:
I could have wished ... that Jip had never been encouraged to walk about the table-cloth during dinner. I began to think there was something disorderly in his being there at all, even if he had not been in the habit of putting his foot in the salt or the melted-butter. On this occasion he seemed to think he was introduced expressly to keep Traddles at bay; and he barked at my old friend, and made short runs at his plate ...

All of this is quite hilarious and is captured in the illustration. Another problem in the ill-fated meal is that Copperfield fails in his attempt to carve the “boiled leg of mutton.” Carving was most often reserved for the master of the house or for distinguished guests. All gentlemen were expected to know the exact way to carve any dish before them. Etiquette books at that time were full of carving instructions for every type of fowl or animal. As he struggles with the joint of meat, Copperfield asks Dora about another dish at the table. 

Dora had innocently purchased a little barrel of oysters. In the mid-19th century, oyster-knives, and all other appropriate flatware, were laid on all of the best tables to suit a host's and hostess' menu. Alas, the Copperfields “had no oyster-knives—and couldn’t have used them if we had; so we looked at the oysters and ate the mutton.” From the Personal History of David Copperfield was originally published in London in serial parts in 1849-50

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

Monday, July 20, 2015

Etiquette and Cold War Russians

The closest person there was to a "Soviet Amy Vanderbilt," was a book entitled "Soviet Etiquette." It was published in 1974.

Russians Offered Etiquette Tips; A tongue-in-cheek editorial from the Cold War era

The Russians... Those people who have disdained etiquette for years as a “petty bourgeois pretention.” "The Literary Gazette" of the USSR reported a few months ago that "interest in etiquette today is more extensive than ever.” But literature on the subject is practically nonexistent. A Russian graduate reportedly said, "The only etiquette books I’ve ever seen were from Poland. "I don’t know what we can learn from them." 

"Soviet Etiquette" is one brief collection published a few years ago. But even it gives the most basic and pedantic advice. For example: “Never dance while drunk, smoking or wearing a hat. While eating ice cream in a theater, never hold your cone over your neighbor’s lap." 

I’ll go along with that, but it’s obvious that they could use more expert counsel. So— naturally I have come to the rescue. Feel free to clip out the following advice, translate it to Russian and forward it to any Nikolai or Anastasia

When it comes to eating, for instance, few people have had more experience than I. Here are a few tips: 
  • If you are invited to dinner, don’t ask for a doggy bag to take home all the leftovers. 
  • It's gross to tuck your napkin under your chin even if you are trying to hide a dirty shirt or an offensive tie.
  • Refrain from talking with your mouth full when eating spaghetti. Your date will find it difficult to remove sauce from her blouse. 
  • It shows good manners to slurp soup but never elbow the person next to you in the eye when you drink from you bowl. 
  • If you spill your coffee, don't use your date's scarf to mop it up. 
  • It's acceptable to eat peas with a knife, but if you drop one, don’t try to find it on your hands and knees. The dog will get it. 
  • Also, if you drop your knife on the floor, don't pick it up. 
  • You can butter your bread with your fork handle.
  • Never drink water from your finger bowl even during a drought. 
  • If you start choking on a piece of meat, make sure you point out to your hostess that it isn’t her fault before you pass out.         
A men's Homburg hat ~ "Years ago I also talked to Amy Vanderbilt about proper introductions..." 
  • Never introduce a girl to a boy unless he is rich, famous and single andor the girl is desperate. 
  • If you do have calling cards printed, it is considered gauche to have “available" stamped on them. 
  • When introducing a poor friend to a rich one, don't point out the yearly salary of each. 
  • Never accept a blind date unless you know the person well. 
  • Your appearance cannot be underestimated. If you don't have black shoes to wear with your tux, make sure your sneakers are clean. 
  • Hats are not worn with an evening dress especially Homburgs. 
  • Perfume should not be so excessive that someone in a passing car is aware of it.
  • Heavy cosmetics are a no-no even if your date prefers men that way. —The Desert Sun, 1977

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

Etiquette "As She is Practiced"

Etiquette is, in short, doing a lot of queer things for fear that if you don’t a lot of people will conclude that you are lacking in refinement, if not common sense.
"A writer in the Baltimore Sun has some interesting sidelights on etiquette that contain more truth than poetry: 
Etiquette is preceding a lady up the stairs and tagging along behind her down the stairs. It is not drinking out of a fingerbowl. It is watching the hostess out of the corner of our eye to see which fork she is using. It is trying to cut the meat off a chicken bone without taking it in your fingers as you do in the bosom of the family. It is leaving your napkin unfolded after a meal to show your hostess that you trust her not to use it again. 
It is burning your tongue with boiling hot coffee rather than pour the coffee into the saucer to cool it. It is answering a formal invitation by speaking of yourself in the third person as though you were somebody else. It is marking a visiting card "P. P. C.” to show that you are going away and "P. T. O.” if you have written something on the back and bending the visiting card in the middle to indicate something or other that at the moment you can’t remember. 
It is, if you are a hostess, having the maid serve you first to prove to your guests that you are not going to poison them without dying, too. It is giving your left arm to a lady so that your right arm is free to use your sword in an emergency. It is waiting for a lady to speak first so that she may have the privilege of cutting you if she wants. It is addressing as "Esquire” anyone to whom you hope to sell life insurance or a bond. It is starting to eat something as soon as you have been helped to it, instead of waiting for everybody to be helped, thereby subtly insinuating to your hostess that her servants are ideal and are going to get around to the others in no time at all. 
Etiquette is, in short, doing a lot of queer things for fear that if you don’t a lot of people will conclude that you are lacking in refinement, if not common sense."  Editorial Page of Desert Sun News, 1937

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

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Houseguest Etiquette

Before travel by plane, or even "visiting" over long telephone calls, being asked to "come for a visit" often meant a 2 or 3 month stay in someone's home. Good etiquette was a must for guests and hosts alike!
The Proper Way to Behave as Guest or Host

Many of us who pride ourselves on our good breeding are singularly blind as to what is due to friends who are visiting people unknown to us, or who are entertaining guests whom we have never met. Nor are we more assured as to some of the points of etiquette toward our own guests, and to our own hosts when we make an occasional flitting from home.

It is useless to decry etiquette by saying that the best manners in all cases are those which hurt no one. This is true as a general law, but there always are some points which leave no room for experiments as to what will hurt another, and which yet may be settled once for all by a few rules. If you have an acquaintance who is entertaining friends whom she wishes you to meet, it is your duty to call promptly, and if possible offer some hospitality to both guests and hosts. If the position is reversed, and your friend is visiting people unknown to you, never go to see your friend without leaving a card for the hostess.

If you give any entertainment for the friend, be very sure to invite her hosts also. It does not follow that your invitation will be accepted, but if it is, the hostess must be treated as the guest of honor and shown every deference. If, for instance, the entertainment is a luncheon for young ladies, she may be asked to take the seat at the end of the table opposite to your own. If the mutual friend is your guest you may be sure that, if she is a woman of good breeding, she in turn will accept no invitation which does not include you, although you may think best to decline it and insist upon not going alone. 

Nor will she receive visitors without asking you to join them in the parlor—should her friends be rude enough to have sent you no cards. Here, too, you may excuse yourself, and at most join them with such delay as to give them a short interview alone. These same rules should hold good for you when you are the guest. 

Before you go to make the visit, send word to your friends where and with whom you are to stay so that there may be no idea that you are in a boarding-house, and therefore mistress of your time and surroundings. This constant deference to your hostess should lead you to order all letters and packages to be addressed to her care. 

As to the disposal of your time when you are visiting, no etiquette requires you to accept all the plans of your hostess if you feel unable to do so; but care is needed to show that refusal means lack of strength, not lack of interest and inclination. With a little tact on both sides you will have many hours for your own. 

Indeed, a skillful hostess will manage to secure you this privilege, and not make the mistake of working too hard to amuse you and so absorb every moment of your visit into her idea of what is pleasure for you. No greater compliment is possible than the quiet acceptance of your preference in the intimacy of family life.Youth's Companion, 1891

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

Etiquette Lurks in Closet

Etiquette lurking in the diplomatic closet!

Lack of Formal Invitations Keeps Few Consuls From Meeting Secretary Knox

Reception to Foreign Consuls by Secretary Knox Marred by Breach of Code

There is a skeleton in the closet of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition company. It made its fearsome presence known yesterday for the first time, when it stalked into the midst of the ceremonies surrounding the visit of Secretary of State Philander C. Knox. By valiant effort on the part of exposition officials and members of the California Development board it was routed yesterday, but it threatens to become a frequent visitor before the gates of the great exposition are finally closed.

The name of this skeleton is Etiquette. Its ways are dark and its habits mysterious. It has bothered around in the open to a certain extent before, but never until yesterday did it threaten to disrupt the best laid plans of the men, who, in the name of San Francisco, are to be hosts to the world in 1915. Yesterday it raised the very deuce.

As Chief of the Department of State, Secretary Knox extended the official invitation of President Taft to the nations of the world to participate in the 1915 celebration. As a matter of courtesy to Secretary Knox, it was decided by those in charge of the arrangements for the latter's visit to San Francisco to invite the foreign consuls in San Francisco to meet the Secretary formally at a reception yesterday afternoon in the rooms of the California Development Board in the Ferry building.

For several days the plans for the entertainment of the Secretary have been given publicity through the newspapers, and one of the features of the program, as published, has been the reception of yesterday afternoon at which he was to be the guest of honor and the foreign consuls were to be presented. Monday afternoon the consular corps met, and it was then that the skeleton Etiquette broke from its closet and took a seat at the consular board. A member of the corps suggested that all foreign consuls should attend the reception in a body. "But have you been formally invited?" interrupted Etiquette. There was dead silence. 

Slowly the gravity of the situation dawned upon the local repreaentativea of the foreign powers. The meeting promptly went into executive session, but Etiquette stayed within. It was a solemn conclave that was held. Would It be proper to attend a reception to the Secretary of State in an official capacity without the most formal sort of a government invitation? Would it not be the safe way for the consuls to remain absent? Would it be better, possibly, to go as individuals and not as officials?

Etiquette moved to the head of the table and sat there chuckling. It was just the forerunner of many similar occasions which are bound to arise in San Francisco before the universal exposition passes into history. Etiquette was causing all sorts of trouble and paving the way for more. The meeting broke up without any definite decision.

Yesterday morning it was learned by the official hosts of Secretary Knox that Etiquette had escaped and run amuck, and there was a scurrying and a hurrying that betokened the utmost activity. All the consuls were telephoned to, and some of them promised to attend —but not ln an official capacity, mind you. The reception was held and the consuls were there—some of them. France. Russia, China. Japan and Argentina were among the nations represented, together with a dozen others, while Great Britain. German. Italy and several others did not answer to the roll call.

One explanation given was that no invitation at all had been extended other than that given through newspaper publication. Another explanation, however, was that Etiquette was entirely responsible. According to this rumor. Etiquette was peeved because a prescribed formula had not been complied with, and this formula was as follows:

First, the consul should have received an Invitation to meet Secretary Knox, whereupon a meeting of the corps should have been held, then a telegram should have been dispatched to the State Department in Washington setting forth the desire of the local foreign representatives to call upon the Secretary; the State Department should then have wired to Secretary Knox in San Francisco asking for an appointment for the consuls; Secretary Knox should have wired back to the State Department setting a time for the reception; the State Department should then have telegraphed the local consular corps of the decision, and the invitation should then have been accepted. This procedure was not followed. 

Some of the consuls said yesterday that it wasn't necessary at all. Others declared that it was overdrawn. Still another was mean enough to intimate that his confreres were putting on the airs of Ambassadors. In any event, Etiquette sat around yesterday afternoon and grinned. The skeleton in the closet. —The San Francisco Call, May 8, 1912

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

Friday, July 17, 2015

Etiquette for Versailles Courtiers

A classic study of the life of the nobility at the royal court of France, especially under Louis XIV, by Norbert Elias, showed how courtiers - and finally even the king himself - were entrapped in a web of etiquette and ceremony, how their expenses, even down to details of their houses and household, were dictated by their rank rather than their income.
Courtiers depicted standing behind Kirsten Dunst's "Marie Antoinette" in the movie of the same name. Polite eating habits are very important to the French: Eating with one's mouth shut; finishing one's plate; hands on the table (but not one's elbows); not making slurping sounds when drinking; etc... 
What was a Courtier?

A courtier was a person who one would find was in attendance frequently at a "court" of a reigning monarch. Historically, a court was usually located at a monarch’s residence as it was the central location of most, if not all, of the affairs of the government. The Palace of Versailles was a "court" so enormous, space was provided for most courtiers to reside there.

As life at court would often blur the distinction between the political and the social spheres of government, life for a courtier could be very difficult. This was especially true of the court at the most famous of all royal courts in European history– The court of the Palace of Versailles and of King Louis XIV. 

During his reign, Louis XIV was driven to become an absolute monarch, wanting to attain complete control over all political, economic, religious, and social facets of French life, and he was much more successful than his predecessors in centralizing the state and phasing out the remnants of feudalism. Feudalism was the preceding system, which had endowed the uppermost of the noble class with a significant amount of power and influence. 

The King built the Palace of Versailles outside of Paris to compel the members of his court to spend part of the year living there. They would be in relative isolation from other parts of society. By isolating them, Louis XIV was able to diminish the strength of the nobility by requiring their very presence at his court in Versailles. 
The court at Versailles ranged from 3,000 to 10,000 people, all of whom were expected to abide by a complex set of somewhat odd etiquette, rules and customs that he personally established. 

In addition to the complex and often fluctuating rules of etiquette that noble courtiers, in particular, were expected to follow, Louis controlled the behavior of the aristocracy by continually changing or adding accessories to the royal wardrobe. 
In order to maintain their rank at court, the courtiers were required to observe the latest trends in fashion. In return for their service and loyalty, the king’s courtiers were awarded royal pensions and received access to some of the state’s most privileged ceremonies and celebratory events.

The Profile of a Courtier

Because of the enormous size of Versailles, there were thousands of courtiers living and working there at any given time. Among the courtiers there was a rigid social hierarchy that dictated their daily routine and schedule. Some courtiers were not even members of the aristocracy. 

Approximately 5,000 personal servants and 9,000 soldiers for Louis XIV, resided at Versailles, along with the regular services of a wide array of middlemen and agents for the king, including soldiers, clerks, secretaries, and clergymen. 

Courtiers at every level, naturally sought to obtain valuable information as a way to impress the King and gain admiration from him. Access to privileged and valuable information, was one of the most desired commodities a courtier could hope to obtain.

At any class level, many courtiers tried to use their service at court as a means of social mobility. After all, it was considered a great honor and privilege to serve as a member of a royal court. It could potentially lead to an elevation in the courtier's social status, if an ambitious soldier or member of the court administration, was able to attract the king’s attention, gaining his favor.

Etiquette also applied to a courtier’s style of dress, and courtiers were always trying to acquire the latest styles of clothing. 
During the Middle Ages promotions at court had been frequent, but the divisions between classes at court became more pronounced during the early modern period. By the reign of Louis XIV it had become very difficult for someone who was considered a menial servant to rise through the ranks at court. An unusual exception to this was Alexandre Bontemps, the head valet to Louis XIV. Through his court appointment Bontemps was able to establish his family in the ranks of the nobility. 

Noble courtiers were given access to some of the most privileged positions at court. High-ranking members of the aristocracy who enjoyed a specific role or position at court we considered to be “established” at Versailles. The services that established courtiers were expected to perform were traditionally linked to a specific function or office, and were usually inherited or purchased. Unlike members of court who worked in more menial services, such as barbers, valets and even dog groomers, noble courtiers, like the secretaries of state, desperately sought Louis’s direct approval.

For courtiers, securing living quarters at the Palace of Versailles was an important aspect of life at court. This ensured a secure place for them to reside during their time at court. At any given time, there were approximately 1,000 nobles and their 4,000 servants living at Versailles. Members of the royal family received apartments in the most desirable areas of the palace, such as the apartments with views of the gardens. The established courtiers typically resided in some of the palace’s outbuildings, such as the Grand Lodgings or the Stables. Not only did private accommodations signify social status and rank, they also prevented courtiers from the need to travel back and forth between Versailles and their primary residences.

Etiquette at the Court of Louis XIV

Relocating the court to Versailles and demanding a lengthy attendance at court were merely two of the ways that Louis wielded control over the nobility. In addition to these requirements Louis established an elaborate and strict set of rules and procedures that courtiers were forced to follow. 

Following the proper conduct, or etiquette, at court was an extremely important part of life as a courtier under Louis XIV. Many courtiers spent the majority of their time at Versailles seeking the approbation of the king. They were obligated to regularly visit the royal residences and were expected to always be available for the king. A courtier’s absence from court was considered a punishable offense.

The rules of etiquette at Versailles guided and shaped the social interactions and structure of the court. They also determined and reflected a courtier’s prestige. For example, the rules dictated who was able to approach a high-ranking member of court, and where and when it was appropriate. These rules applied to nearly all areas of a courtier’s behavior, including when and how to sit down and how to address different members of court. 

Etiquette also applied to a courtier’s style of dress, and courtiers were always trying to acquire the latest styles of clothing. There was also a complex and ever-changing set of rules for dancing, and courtiers would spend countless hours preoccupied with learning the latest dance steps.

The following list provides a few examples of the intricate rules of etiquette that courtiers were required to follow at the court of Louis XIV:

People who wanted to speak to the king could not knock on his door. Instead, using the left pinkie finger, they had to gently scratch on the door, until they were granted permission to enter.

A lady never held hands or linked arms with a gentleman. Instead, she was toplace her hand on top of the gentleman’s bent arm as they strolled through thegardens and chambers of Versailles.

When a gentleman sat down, he slid his left foot in front of the other, placed his hands on the sides of the chair and gently lowered himself into the chair.

Women and men were not allowed to cross their legs in public.

When a gentleman passed an acquaintance on the street, he was to raise his hat high off his head until the other person passed.

A gentleman was to do no work except writing letters, giving speeches, practicing fencing, or dancing. 
For pleasure, however, gentlemen were permitted to engage in hawking, archery, hunting and indoor tennis.

Napoleon was one of the rudest monarchs in history

Napoleon Bonaparte on the other hand, outdid Louis XIV when it came to etiquette edicts, while ruling France. According to author Dr. Philip Mansel: 

"Napoleon was one of the rudest monarchs in history: he attacked in conversation as well as on the battlefield. He insulted foreign ambassadors, taunted Marshal Berthier, his grand huntsman, and General Caulaincourt, his grand equerry, with their wives’ alleged infidelities, and called Talleyrand, his grand chamberlain (who was also foreign minister), “a lump of shit in a silk stocking”. It was said that Napoleon had a “green laugh”.

Among those who knew him well, Napoleon inspired little personal loyalty: almost all his courtiers turned against him after his defeats in 1814 and 1815, and in both years they forced him to abdicate. Almost all those who followed him to Saint Helena were trying to obtain financial rewards, or material for a book of memoirs, rather than acting out of loyalty. Napoleon maintained court etiquette on the island, keeping courtiers standing in his presence and insisting on being treated as an emperor.

Napoleon’s court also shows him to have been more obsessed with status than other monarchs of the day. He wanted more palaces and more formal etiquette, and was more autocratic than the Bourbons. He had more than 100 chamberlains, and a total of around 3,000 men in his household, whereas Louis XVI had had only four first gentlemen of the chamber, and around 2,000 in his household. In January 1814, when speakers in the chamber of representatives demanded peace, he was infuriated. At a reception in the Tuileries palace, he declared: “Everything resides in the throne. I alone represent the people”. He believed that France needed him more than he needed France.

In June 1815, Napoleon alienated opinion by preferring to wear the elaborate embroidered ‘Petit Costume de l’Empereur’ rather than the uniform of the Paris National Guard. He insisted on sending messages to the chamber of representatives through his chamberlains rather than through a responsible minister. After Waterloo, it voted his deposition."

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

Street Railway Etiquette; Tale of Two Cities

"The first consideration of a street railway," says this astonishing advertisement, "should be the safety, comfort and convenience of its passengers." 

Street Railway Etiquette in Two Cities

In the St. Louis Post Dispatch one finds an instructive advertisement, filling a whole page and setting forth to the accompaniment of attractive illustrations, the code of streetcar etiquette that should govern travel in that much favorite city, as laid down by the United Railways of St. Louis. It is the unexpected that happens in St. Louis, for, strange to say, the etiquette of transportation there does not govern merely the unhappy passengers and straphangers, but includes likewise important rules which the advertising corporation feels bound to respect.

"The first consideration of a street railway," says this astonishing advertisement, "should be the safety, comfort and convenience of its passengers." Just think of that, and think of what might happen in San Francisco, should the United Railroads feel bound by the same rule. Passengers on the Sutter Street line would find themselves switched onto Market Street without transfer and would be delivered from the musty, fusty old horsecars that constitute the reproach of our main thoroughfare. 

Apparently the etiquette of street railroading that governs the local corporation is expressed and limited by the injunction, "If you don't like it you can get off and walk." It may be that the policy of the St. Louis company is wiser. It will not pay a public service corporation, as a general thing, to cultivate the hostility of the whole community by wanton outrage. San Francisco Call, 1908

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

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Etiquette and Ladies in Waiting

A very special delivery from the stork

Stork Party and Baby Shower Etiquette

I only attended my first Baby Shower last year but when my two good friends said they were going to throw me one, I was actually pretty excited about it, and I enjoyed it tremendously! It is a great way to for friends to help out with some essentials, as it can be very expensive shopping for a newborn.

Baby showers are quite new in England really, and have only been taking off in popularity in recent years, so there isn't much info, if any, at all, in my British etiquette books. The majority of my books are British. I have only a few American etiquette books.

Vintage mid-1950s birth announcement card~ One benefit of waiting to shower a new mother with gifts after the baby was born? Everyone then knew the sex of the baby. Fetal ultrasounds as we know them today, were not available. ~ Ultrasound was first used for clinical purposes in 1956 in Glasgow. Obstetrician Ian Donald and engineer Tom Brown developed the first prototype systems based on an instrument used to detect industrial flaws in ships. They perfected its clinical use, and by the end of the 1950s, ultrasound was routinely used in Glasgow hospitals.  Fetal ultrasound technology really didn't take off in British hospitals until the 1970s, and it was well into the 1970s before it became widely used in American hospitals.– From Live Science

So when I was looking for information on baby showers, according to "Etiquette Sleuth, Maura Graber," I learnt it was the sobering reality of dropping infant mortality rates over the past 50 years, that led to "Baby Showers" being a more modern day creation. 

A bit of history: Once upon a time, what we now know as "Baby Showers" were called "Stork Parties" or "Stork Showers." Prior to the 1940s and 1950s, baby showers were not as common as one would think, regardless of what they were called. They are rarely mentioned in early etiquette books. 

Babies were usually given gifts from all well-meaning friends and family members, upon their Christenings. That etiquette for gifts given for babies, or for young children, was clearly spelled out for Christenings, or other religious events, and other cultural milestones, from baby to childhood.
Vintage Stork Party Invitation Idea

Many etiquette books avoided the subject entirely, other than to advise on the etiquette that relatives should never host showers or parties, and that notes of thanks should be sent as soon as possible. Other etiquette given, in advice columns and such, recommended waiting until a time after the birth, to shower a new mother with much appreciated neccesities and \ or niceties. 

In the 1941, "New American Etiquette" book, by Lily Haxworth Wallace, the etiquette for "Stork Showers" is the following: "It is best that they be held about five weeks after the arrival of the baby but it is quite proper, in some localities, to have the shower before the baby is born. All gifts at "Stork Showers" should be things for the child."

The Cokesbury Shower Book, in 1941, gave no etiquette advice on the Stork Showers themselves or the suggested tming for them, but  five possible themes: A "Current Events" party, a "Baby Book" party, a "Layette Shower," a "Petal Party" or a "Lady in Waiting" party.
Suggested decor or invite for  Lady in Waiting shower
The "Lady in Waiting"

( Miscellaneous Stork Shower and Buffet Luncheon) Informal white note paper forms the basis for this invitation, which is really a royal command if you, among others, consider a baby "king of his world." —From The Cokesbury Shower Book, 1941
Vintage 1950s birth announcement card – Baby Shower etiquette is very similar to Bridal Shower etiquette, with multiple babies or subsequent arrivals of siblings, being the focus of most proprietary etiquette questions. 

The etiquette question of who can host a baby shower has also come up, more and more frequently, but this has evolved to allow a family member to have a shower in her home (or his home), due to size restraints, while the "official" hostess (or host) should be a friend, or group of friends."

Tips to the Pregnant Executive's Co-Workers

One baby shower is enough. It should be hosted outside the office, because if it is held on the promises we can disrupt productivity. A baby shower might be held (Dutch Treat except for the pregnant one who's lunch is paid for) in a nearby restaurant or employee's home on the weekend. Then things will not upset management.

A point of etiquette: The mother-to-be should write a thank-you note to every single person who gave her a present within two weeks of the shower-and she should send flowers to the person who organized it.

The Unmarried Pregnant Woman

When a colleague on your staff who is not married becomes pregnant, there is only one thing to do: Treat her as you do her wedded colleagues. Don't make an issue of it. Respect her dignity and rejoice in her happiness over the impending birth." From Letitia Baldrige's 1993, "New Complete Guide to the Executive Manners"

On the Question of Second, Third, Fourth etc... Baby Showers

"... Miss Manners makes an exception for an informal gathering of the expectant mother's close friends who are moved to make a fuss over a second-or fifth-time. However, the plea for a more formal gathering for the lady's entire acquaintance, complete with those detestable gift registries, would enable the guest of honor to parcel out her shopping, is not charming." From Miss Manners' "Manners for the New Millenium"

My advice? 

Send notes of thanks for the gifts you've been showered with, as soon as possible. You'll be busier than you know after your baby's birth and expressing gratitude to those who showered you with those gifts, is the most polite thing one can do!

Sobering Statistics on Infant Mortality Rates from the Victorian Era to Modern Times 

U.S. : The infant mortality rate started a long decline from 165 deaths per 1,000 births in 1900, to a low number 7 deaths per 1,000 births in 1997 in the U.S.

Europe: The levels of infant mortality in the late 19th century were extremely high in Europe and could vary quite markedly from one country to another, ranging from about 100 per 1,000 live births in Norway and Sweden to 200 or even 250 per 1,000 in countries such as Germany, Austria and Russia. At the turn of the 20th century, however, infant mortality began to fall almost right across the continent. By the 1950s, when national rates of infant mortality ranged between 20 and 50 per 1,000.

UK: The infant mortality rate in England and Wales continues to fall. In 2012, there were just 4.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births – the lowest rate ever. In historical perspective, 95 out of every 1,000 children born in 1912, in England and Wales, died before their first birthday.
A Vintage "Baby's Book" Shower

Rachel North and daughter Victoria Rose North ~

British Etiquipedia© contributor, Rachel North, is currently enjoying being a new Mum to the absolutely beautiful, Victoria Rose. Rachel is an etiquette and afternoon tea enthusiast with a love for anything ancient and historic.

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

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Etiquette is One's Duty

There are a great many who feel that good manners are effeminate. They have a feeling that rude bluntness is a great deal more manly than good manners. It is undoubtedly a great deal more beastly. But when men are crowded in communities, the art of living together is no small art.
Good Manners A Duty

Men often speak of good manners as an accomplishment. I speak of them as a duty. What, then, are good manners? Such manners as the usages of society have recognized as being agreeable to men. Such manners as take away rudeness, and remit to the brute creation all coarseness. 

There are a great many who feel that good manners are effeminate. They have a feeling that rude bluntness is a great deal more manly than good manners. It is undoubtedly a great deal more beastly. But when men are crowded in communities, the art of living together is no small art.

How to diminish friction; how to promote ease of intercourse; how to make every part of a man's life contribute to the welfare and satisfaction of those around him; how to keep down offensive pride; how to banish the raspings of selfishness from the intercourse of men; how to move among men inspired by various and conflictive motives, and yet not have collisions— this is the function of good manners. It is not effeminate to be refined. And in this land no man should plead inability.
It is not effeminate to be refined. And in this land no man should plead inability.
There may be a peasantry in other countries, there may be a class in foreign lands who have no opportunities; there may be those whose toil is so continuous, whose opportunities for knowing what constitutes good manners are so few, and whose ignorance is so gross that they are excusable; but this is not the case with any within reach of my voice. That a man is a mechanic, is no reason why he should not be a gentleman. I affirm for every American citizen the right to be not simply a man, but a good mannered man.

I have seen men at the anvil who were as perfect gentlemen as men of books or men of society. I know no reason why a man who tans hides should not be a gentleman. I know no reason why a man who digs in the soil, a man who works in metals and woods, a man who builds, should not be a perfect gentleman. There is nothing in mechanical occupations which is incompatible with the highest courtesy. 
Every man is bound to observe the laws of politeness. It is the expression of good-will and kindness.
Not only is the violation of good manners inexcusable on ordinary grounds, but it is sinful. When, therefore, parents and guardians and teachers would inspire the young with a desire for the manners of a good society. It is not to be thought that they are accomplishments which may be accepted or rejected. Every man is bound to observe the laws of politeness. It is the expression of good-will and kindness. It promotes both beauty in the man who possesses it, and happiness in those who are about him. It is religious duty, and should be part of religious training.

There is a great deal of contempt expressed for what is called etiquette in society. Now and then there are elements of etiquette which perhaps might well be ridiculed ; but in the man there is a just reason for all those customs which come under the head of etiquette. There is a reason which has regard to the facility of intercourse. There is a reason in the avoidance of offense. There is a reason in comfort and happiness. And no man can afford to violate these unwritten customs of etiquette who wishes to act as a Christian gentleman. I may speak, also, of a tendency which is bred by our institutions —the want of veneration.

There are various ways in which this want of veneration shows itself. We often hear that there is not the same respect shown for the aged that there used to be. We know that there is very little respect shown for magistrates and men in authority. This is partly due, I think, to the institutions under which we live. One of the unfortunate effects derived from the early stages of democratic training is the sense of personal sovereignty; the feeling that we stand on as high ground as anybody else. Under monarchial institutions men are taught to revere the great and glorious in government. The feeling of reverence does not prevail to any great extent among us. I discern a great lack in this respect.       
This courtesy, which carries with it respect; this testimony of veneration to the aged; this yielding oneself in a thousand little society rites for the sake of making others happy— Oh! What brightness it gives to life!
Children, nowadays, are brought up to be pert, to be saucy, to be almost without restraint. They are brought up to have very little regard either for their parents or their superiors. And, although there are a great many Christian households whose children are rightly bred in this regard, it seems to me there has been a decay of that instruction which used to prevail, the tendency of which was to make children modest and respectful. We bring up our children to be old and smart and impertinent. This courtesy, which carries with it respect; this testimony of veneration to the aged; this yielding oneself in a thousand little society rites for the sake of making others happy— Oh! What brightness it gives to life! What beauty, what adornment it gives to Christian character!

There are many other points that I might speak of. The effect of punctuality and order; the relations which men sustain toward each other's convenience and necessities—these and a hundred other branches of this subject I might discourse upon, but it is not necessary that I should go into them. I have given such examples as I have merely as specimens, for the purpose of calling your attention to the minuteness and carefulness with which the Scripture inculcates these things. It enjoins not merely the right spirit, but the right spirit manifested in the most beautiful way.—Phillip A. Bell, in "The Elevator" 1873

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