Friday, January 1, 2016

Antebellum Etiquette and Holiday Entertainments

"If a lady has set apart a special day for receiving calls, she should have a silk dress for the occasion. The quality may depend on her position. Laces and jewelry may be worn with this dress. A lady who attends to her morning domestic affairs, may receive calls in her morning dress, which must be neat, with white collar and cuffs. Upon receiving New Year’s calls, a lady should be dressed as elegantly as she can afford. If she darkens her parlors and lights the gas, she should be dressed in full evening dress." –Antebellum Styles and Advice on the Etiquette of Dress

"In New York City, where it is the custom for ladies to remain at home to receive the calls of their gentlemen friends, there is not time nor occasion for dinner; should it be desirable, it would be similar to that for Christmas, or instead – a cold roasted turkey (bone it if you can), cold boiled ham or tongue, a large glass salad-bowl of pickled oysters, or an oyster pie with dressed celery or a chicken salad, with jelly puffs and tarts and small mince pies, blanc mange, de russe and jellies and ice cream and fancy cakes, with syrup water and orgeat or lemonade for temperance, or wines and punch. The manner of celebrating New Year's day by calls, is a peculiarity of our own, and having so few which are 'native here,' many of our wisest and best, have wished that this might in no wise be slighted. Many a feud-divided family have been united, and misunderstanding friends have been brought together, under the all-pervading hospitality and genial influence which distinguishes the day." –From American System of Cookery, Mrs. T.J. Crowen, 1847

                                                                    
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