Sunday, June 25, 2017

Etiquette for Caviar

Antique flatware for caviar: a rare, individual, sterling caviar spade in the Versailles flatware pattern, a bone caviar spoon, and a sterling handled, horn bowled, caviar server 
~ The flavor of caviar is often referred to as an acquired taste, but those who enjoy it say it is "an intense explosion of complex flavors." Caviar is a delicacy. It is the unfertilized eggs (roe) of sturgeon brined with a salt solution. The brining solution contributes a little to the overall palate, but caviar enthusiasts often savor the luxurious texture and indescribably rich taste of the caviar berries themselves.



The eating of caviar has its own set of rituals. Caviar is a "finger food" when eaten as an hors d'oeuvre, and
 served on toast points, or thin, round slices of bread- usually dry, since good in quality caviar, there should be enough fat in the eggs to moisten the bread.  Purists do not alter the flavor of the caviar with such garnishes as sour cream, chopped egg or onion. As with most finger foods, caviar on toast points, crackers or other small sliced breads, should be eaten in one or two bites.

The following are some considerations:
Caviar should be served from a non-metal spoon. Caviar spoons are widely available in bone, horn, tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl. Any metals, including silver, will impart a metallic flavor to the granules. 

Depending on the grade of caviar, the flavor of lesser grades can be enhanced with a dab of fresh lemon juice. 

If you don't have a caviar server, place the caviar in a small glass or porcelain bowl, inside of a larger bowl filled with crushed ice. Make sure that the water does not enter the caviar bowl as the ice melts. 

If serving caviar on crackers, use bland, unsalted crackers.




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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Etiquette and Society

Samuel Littleton, a famous Queen’s Counsel in his day. had a family whose manners might cause many a house of noble rank to blush —A Queen's Counsel (postnominal QC), or King's Counsel (postnominal KC) during the reign of a King, is an eminent lawyer (usually a barrister) who's appointed by the Queen to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law." The term is also recognised as an honorific.

What Constitutes Society?

A famous essayist once wrote: "l have but seldom sat at the tables of the great. but on such occasions I did not fail to notice that exalted rank does not always confer a superiority of manners; however, I must confess that while respect must always be paid to nobility, the arts of polite conversation, gentle manners, discretion of speech, kindness, sobriety, wit and learning seem to me most successfully cultivated by those who possess no title to respect other than may be conceded to integrity, Industry and success in life.

“Samuel Littleton, a famous Queen’s Counsel in his day. had a family whose manners might cause many a house of noble rank to blush. He himself was a scholar and a wit, yet a wit who sought not to wound. His son, though apt to blush in conversation, had in him the making of a very pretty wit. His daughter, lovely in person, could also display the graces of the mind. They understood music enough to play movingly upon the spinuet. They were also well read and could aptly quote from Shakespeare. Milton and Dryden. They conversed intelligently on all subjects generally allowed to be Introduced before ladies, without boldness, but with a modesty which always best becomes a young geutiewoman. Of the wife and mother no praise would be too extravagant, but it will be sufficient to say that her daughter*, in attempting the task, despaired of emulating her. 


When contrasting a dinner given by my Lord Fullacre, the noisy talk that prevailed, the low topics introduced, the profusion of wine and other evils and extravagances, with a dinner at the house of Sam Littleton, the sobriety of his table, yet the plenty, the moderation of the drinking, the pretty conversation and lively sallies of the girls, the graciousness of the matron, the innocent mirth and laughter of the company, then you find what is true society—that is, society ordered according to the politeness of the age—must be sought for where the men are scholars of delicacy and breeding, and where the women have been educated to make them fit mates for the men." — San Francisco Call, 1892

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Precedent and Etiquette

The case is unprecedented of ladies of official rank visiting the Old World alone," but in lands where precedent and official etiquette are so important it is no laughing matter!
A Matter of Precedent 


Mrs. J. R. McKee and Mrs. Russell Harrison, daughter and daughter-in-law of the president, are now in England and enjoying themselves hugely by ail accounts. The American reader is inclined to smile at the cablegram to the effect that our diplomats abroad are greatly embarrassed, as "the case is unprecedented of ladies of official rank visiting the Old World alone," but in lands where precedent and official etiquette are so important it is no laughing matter. The ladies will visit Paris and Berlin also, and no matter what ceremony is observed there is, as Abraham Lincoln used to say, "No doubt but we shall be able to keep house." — Los Angeles Herald, 1891

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

Etiquette and 19th C. Politeness

"Acquaintances made in travelling, or accidentally in public places, have no claim to more than a passing bow if you afterwards finds that the acquaintanceship is not particularly desirable?"

Rules of Politeness and Introductions

As a general role, do not introduce a gentleman to a lady without first privately asking her permission. In going through the ceremony of introducing, pronounce the name of the lady first, adding; "Permit me to present to you Mr. —. " In introducing two gentlemen, present the younger one to the elder, or the one of lower rank to the one of the higher. If the gentlemen are about the same age, and equal in society, present the stranger to the one with whom you are the most intimate. The best form of expression that can be used in introducing two gentlemen, who are in the same circle, is to say; " Mr.— let me make you acquainted wilh Mr. —." But if you are addressing an elderly gentleman, always say, "Mr. — , permit me to present to you Mr. — ." 

A lady should always be perfectly at her ease while introducing her friends to one another, as she has, while performing this necessary little ceremony, great opportunity of proving whether or not her manners are truly graceful. It is not considered fashionable to introduce two persons who accidentally meet in your parlor, and who are paying you a morning visit. The object of this custom in France, (where it first arose) was to prevent formality, as visitors were expected to converse together without an introduction, and were afterwards at liberty to recognize each other or not just as they pleased. It is, therefore, in good taste if you find your guests do not converse together without an introduction to present them to one another. Never introduce in the street, unless the third person joins and walks with you. You may make an exception to this rule when the parties are mutually desirious of knowing one another. 

If you are walking with one lady, do not stop to converse with others who are unknown to her, as she must necessarily feel unpleasant. If you are walking with a gentleman you may follow the bent of your inclination, for if he is well bred he will attend your pleasure without evincing either impatience or awkwardness. A lady is at liberty to take either another lady or a gentleman to pay a morning visit to a friend, without asking permission: but she should never allow a gentleman the same liberty, if he desires to make any of his friends known to her, he must first ask if the acquaintance would be agreeable. 

A lady who is invited to an evening assembly may always request a gentleman who has not been invited by the lady of the house, to accompany her. Acquaintances made in travelling, or accidentally in public places, have no claim to more than a passing bow if you afterwards finds that the 
acquaintanceship is not particularly desirable. When a gentleman is presented to a lady, if she is in her own house, and desires to welcome him, she may shake hands with him, but on any other occasion, unless the gentleman is venerable, or the bosom frfend of the husband or father, this practice is reprehensible. The same rule should be observed when a lady is introduced to a lady: although in this country the habit of shaking hands is very general. 

In introducing a friend, be as cautious of saying too much in his favor, as too little, for if the introduced be really the possessor of very good qualities, they will soon be lound out, and more appreciated than if they had in the first instance been all told. At a large dinner or evening party, although some persons strictly adhere to the French custom of not introducing, the mistress of the house shows real politeness by presenting to one another those persons who she thinks will assimilate in their dispositions. If there are strangers present, a party in America is apt to become formal through the omission of introductions; not so in Paris, where everybody converses with his neighbor without going through the unnecessary ceremony of a presentation. — Scientific American Magazine, 1846


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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Etiquette and a Willful Child

 A person of tact can always distract the child's attention from its own obstinacy, and in a few moments lead it gently 'round to submission. 

Breaking the Child’s Will

No art is so useful in the management of young children (nor is any art so neglected) as that of avoiding direct collision. The grand blunder which almost all parents and nursemaids commit is, that when the child takes up a whim against doing what he is wanted to do—will not eat his bread and butter, will not go out, will not come to lessons, etc.,— they, so to speak, lay hold of his hind leg, and drag him to his duties; whereas a person of tact can always distract the child's attention from its own obstinacy, and in a few moments lead it gently 'round to submission. 


We know that many persons would think it wrong not to break down the child’s self-will by main force, to come to battle with it, and show him that he is the weaker vessel; but our conviction is that such struggles only tend to make his self-will more robust. If you can skillfully contrive to lay the dispute aside for a few minutes, and hitch his thoughts off the excitement of the contest, ten to one, he will give in quite cheerfully; and this is far better for him than tears and punishment. — Red Bluff Independent, 1874


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

Friday, June 9, 2017

Etiquette, Naturally

"No ripple mast be permitted to ruffle the smooth equilibrium and indifference of your feelings. You must greet him politely, but without emotion. So the false etiquette of which we speak teaches..."

Be Natural — Act Naturally 


One of the fashionable follies of the day is the affectation of great coolness. It is considered vulgar to be demonstrative. You meet an old friend; it is a blessing to your eyes to behold him once more. Your heart leaps up at sight of him—your impulse is to grasp him warmly by the hand. You feel almost like embracing him. You must do nothing of the kind. No ripple mast be permitted to ruffle the smooth equilibrium and indifference of your feelings. You must greet him politely, but without emotion. So the false etiquette of which we speak teaches. 

Self-possession is a strong quality, but we do not believe in this kind of self-possession. And people who school themselves in this are not apt to have the other and better kind. They are not apt to manifest self-possession on such as really call for it—occasions of difficulty and danger, and of great trials. Touch their self-love, make an unusual demand upon them for self-denial, and their assumed and superficial self-possession vanishes in an instant. For ourselves, we like naturalness of manner. Seem as you feel. Let the heart speak out, or what is the use in having a heart? There are crops which grow only on light soils, and the school of philosophy —miscalled philosophy—of which we speak must have originated in shallow brains. — Red Bluff Independent, 1874


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

Friday, June 2, 2017

Regional "Optional" Etiquette

"In New York, which is too cosmopolitan a city to be cited as an example, street car etiquette is decidedly variable, and whether or not it is necessary to vacate a seat in a lady's favor is a much mooted question." — Etti~Katt was from a mid-20th Century, New York Transit Etiquette campaign.

Optional Courtesies? It Depends...

Among "optional" courtesies may be enumerated those which govern the conduct of persons on crowded public conveyances:

South of the Mason and Dixon line, no man would brave public opinion by remaining seated when a woman maintained a standing position, even were she the humblest of her sex. A foreigner would argue in such a case that he had paid for his seat, and that there could be no more reason for his rising in a street car than if he were occupying a seat at the opera or at a hotel table. 

In New York, which is too cosmopolitan a city to be cited as an example, street car etiquette is decidedly variable, and whether or not it is necessary to vacate a seat in a lady's favor is a much mooted question. One thing is certain, and that is, that youth and beauty appeal to both and low, even the most boorish individual being willing to relinquish his rights in favor of a woman with a pair of bright eyes and a stylish figure. 

The poor wage worker, in her faded cotton gown and with fingers showing evidences of toil, is rarely the recipient of such courtesy. The man in broadcloth, who has been seated in his luxurious office most of the day, keeps his seat without a qualm of conscience, and holds his paper before his face to obstruct the view of the appealing eyes and worn figure. 

Women in public vehicles often exhibit a remarkable selfishness and a total disregard for the comfort of others. Many of them accept a seat to which they have no legal right with a saucy toss of the head and without recognizing the courtesy by as much as a bow or a "thank you." An audible expression of thanks is the least a lady should offer in exchange for the sacrifice of a place, and this should be tendered as freely to the threadbare clerk as to the dude in fine raiment. —Jenness-Miller Magazine, 1891


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

A Versailles Queen's Etiquette


Maria Theresa of Spain's marriage in 1660 with King Louis XIV, was arranged with the purpose of ending the long-standing war between Spain and France. Famed for her virtue and piety, she sadly saw 5 of her 6 children die in early childhood. She is frequently regarded as an object of pity in historical accounts of her husband's reign. She had no choice, but to tolerate his many, many love affairs, and the rigid rules of etiquette at Versailles.


The bride of Louis XIV, having been thrown from her horse was dragged some distance before any Knight would risk his own life to save her, it being high treason to touch her ; and even after two, young Lords had devoted themselves, the Queen was obliged to entreat their pardon on her knees, in order to obviate the awful consequences of their generous act. — Daily Alta, 1855


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

Early California Etiquette

 "No man or class of men has the power to set up or keep up any pre-conceived standards of right or wrong, of taste or etiquette... Not in Early California, that is!"


Men and Manners, or the Lack Thereof, in Early California


There is in California a practical freedom of speech and action, to be found nowhere in the Atlantic States. Men breathe freely and act as freely, caring, for no lookers-on. The reason is because society here has no leader, and will have none. The adventitious advantages of wealth, family, or profession, which at home enable their possessors to take the lead of the masses, are held at a discount which startles the newcomer. No man or class of men has the power to set up or keep up any pre-conceived standards of right or wrong, of taste or etiquette. The Californian takes a wild pleasure in kicking down the old-fashioned guide boards, so as to make sure of laying out a track for himself.


Wealthy men have their toad-eaters here, as well as elsewhere, but the largest possessions command no real respect among the minds of the people. They look upon riches as the very accident of accidents, as they are in this part of the world, and decline paying reverence to the man of wealth to-day, knowing that he may be "dead-broke" tomorrow, and the raggedest fellow in the crowd comes to play the millionaire in his place. Each one hopes to act the part in his turn, but looks upon the acquirement of wealth, after all, and only the accidental shifting of the colors of the kaleidoscope of existence. — Napa Reporter, 1859


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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Victoria's Victorian Etiquette

The Belgian Queen whispered to her son who was present, to pour out a glass of water and offer it to the Queen; this being done, it was graciously accepted, the act being, etiquette would not allow her Majesty to pour out a glass of water for her self when a servant was present! — Château d'Eu in Eu, Seine-Maritime, France


The Queen Can Never Go Shopping!


What belle of Chestnut street will envy her Majesty when she knows the fact, that according to royal etiquette, a Queen cannot speak to a tradesman! A late work says: "Victoria has been standing not a yard away from one, addressing all her inquiries to an equerry, who repeated them to a tradesman, and again repeated to her Majesty all his answer.” And the writer gives the additional information that the Queen must die of thirst rather than pour out a glass of water for herself!

“When on a visit to the royal family of France, at Eu, the Queen of Belgium had been told that her Majesty of England took, every morning at ten o'clock, a glass of iced water. Accordingly, on the day after her arrival, a servant duly made his appearance at the appointed hour, bearing on a silver salver, a carafe and two glasses, which he tendered to the sovereign, who declined the refreshments with a wave of her hand. The Belgian Queen seeing this, whispered to her son who was present, to pour out a glass of water and offer it to the Queen; this being done, it was graciously accepted, the act being, etiquette would not allow her Majesty to pour out a glass of water for her self when a servant was present!”


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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Etiquette for Invitation Responses

Send a note of congratulation to the bride elect, expressing the hope that she will have every happiness in her married life.


An Etiquette Query...  S. from San Leandro writes, "I just received an invitation to a church wedding out of town, but am not able to attend. Is it proper to write a note of regret, and should it be sent right after, or should I wait until a few days before the wedding? Should I send a letter of congratulation to the bride in addition to sending a present?"


By all means, send a note of regret at inability to be present at the wedding. Also send a note of congratulation to the bride elect, expressing the hope that she will have every happiness in her married life. A wedding present should be sent as soon as possible after notice of the wedding. – San Francisco Call, 1912

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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Whisper Etiquette

Whispering in public meetings, changing seats, leaving before the service is ended, are violations of the science of etiquette. 

Whispering Etiquette

We copy the following sensible remarks from the Berlin Messenger: 

"Those young gentlemen in the habit of whispering in church or public meeting must quit it — it won't do. Ladies may be excusable, but gentlemen cannot. Whispering in public meetings, changing seats, leaving before the service is ended, are violations of the science of etiquette. There are no doubt some exceptions, but this is the general rule and should not be violated except in the case of necessity. So let's hear no more whispering in 'meetin'." — New York Times, 1853

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

Coffee Etiquette in Japan

“That’s for the sugar... The handle starts on the left so the customer can hold the cup steady with the left hand while stirring in sugar with the right. Once that’s done, the customer turns the handle clockwise, around the top, so the handle is easy to pick up with the right hand. That’s how we taught customers to drink their coffee.” — Japan coffee shop owner, Yasumi Yamabe

Coffee was hardly an everyday drink when Yasumi Yamabe started his career in the early postwar years. “Oh, coffee was still very much a luxury item then,” he confirmed. “A cup would set you back ¥50 when a portion of oden (stewed foods) or oshiruko (sweet red-bean soup) cost only ¥5. Most people weren’t familiar with coffee, so we had to educate them. Almost everyone in those days took their coffee with cream and sugar.”

No one knows exactly when coffee was introduced to Japan, but the first beans were probably brought in by 17th-century Dutch traders for their own use at their trading post at Dejima, near Nagasaki. Contact with foreigners was strictly limited, so if any Japanese were able to sample their coffee, it would have only been the few merchants, translators and prostitutes allowed to visit Dejima. 


The oldest known account of a Japanese drinking coffee was written in 1804, in which a man named Shokusanjin Ota described boarding a foreign ship and being served a drink called “kauhii.” It tasted quite unpleasant, he said, and was made by mixing sugar into water with a powder of roasted beans.

Formal imports of coffee began in 1858, and the first Japanese coffeehouse of record, the Kahiichakan in Tokyo, is said to have opened in 1888. Drinking coffee became fashionable among the intelligentsia and the upper middle class, but remained something of a rarity. 


Imports were halted in 1944, during the war, as coffee was branded both a zeitakuhin (extravagance) and a tekikoku inryō(enemy drink). It wasn’t until after the war, and the liberalization of imports in 1960, that Japan got on its way to becoming a major coffee-drinking nation. Today Japan is the third largest importer of coffee, after the United States and Germany.

At the All Japan Coffee Association, executive director Toyohide Nishino responded to the question of why the spoons are placed where they are when coffee is served in Japan.
 “Very often the inquiry comes from the executive offices of a large company, with the caller saying something like, ‘Our chairman is particular about manners and wants to make sure we’re doing it right.’ But actually there is no single accepted way to serve coffee in Japan.”

Even in the coffee industry, companies serve guests differently. Visitors to UCC (Ueshima Coffee Co., Ltd.) headquarters in Kobe get their coffee with the handle on the left, while at Key Coffee, in Tokyo, the handle is on the right.

Some hypothesise​ about the tea ceremony, in which the cup is placed so its front, or decorated side, faces the guest so its beauty may be enjoyed. The guest, in turn, expresses humility by turning the cup before drinking so as not to place one’s lips on the most beautiful part of the vessel. Nishino found the idea interesting, but concurred with Yamabe that having the handle on the left is for convenience when adding sugar. He noted that coffee shops used to offer kakuzatō (sugar cubes), which take more effort to stir into coffee than today’s standard of granulated sugar.

The oldest reference found was in a 1922 book titled “Seiyo-ryori no Tadashii Tabekata” (“The Correct Way to Eat Western Food”). In somewhat archaic language, Kaneko Tezuka, who was a professor at Japan Women’s University, wrote that when coffee is offered after a meal it should be served in small chawan (cups) with the totte (handle) turned to the left and the saji (spoon) placed in front. Unfortunately, Tezuka didn’t offer a reason for this placement, nor did she speak to its origins.

In any case, the orientation of the coffee-cup handle may well become moot as tastes and consumption patterns change. Today, taking coffee burakku (“black,” without milk or sugar) is the most common preference, practiced by 38.3% of Japanese coffee drinkers. In addition, there is a clear shift away from genteel service and toward take-out, with convenience stores grabbing a growing share of the coffee market. Seven-Eleven, which offers self-serve coffee for just ¥100, expects to sell a whopping 700 million cups this fiscal year — and in disposable cups with no handle at all. — From the Japan Times, 2013

Austrian Kitchen Etiquette

One of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties, Sachertorte is a specific type of chocolate cake, or torte, invented by Austrian Franz Sacher in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna, Austria.

According to the Motel Mail, every Lady of station in Austria knows how to cook. They do not learn the art at regular cooking clubs or at home, but they go to the house of a Prince, or a rich banker, where there is a famous Chef, and learn from him.

When a Chef engages to cook for any one he reserves the right to receive and instruct as many young ladies as be pleases​. When a banquet is to be given he notifies his pupils, and they come to watch the process, without necessarily knowing the Mistress of the house. At this time it would be a great breach of etiquette for any member of the family to trespass upon the Cook and his department. — Los Angeles Herald, 1881


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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Etiquette and Li Hongzhang

Li Hongzhang was the leading Chinese diplomat of the late Qing era and 19th century. The article below describes his meeting Queen Victoria.

She was, in fact, every inch a Queen. Never under any circumstances did she permit any relaxation of the rigid etiquette of the Court, not even to the changing of a feather in the headdress of a Debutante of the highest rank and the bluest of blue blood; not even to the changing of a button on the uniform of the Prince of Wales, her son, and heir to her throne. Her experience of Orientals and their ceremonies saved her from even making the slightest lapsus in dealing with them. 


During Li Hongzhang's tour through Europe, he was received with courteous empressement by the other rulers whose Courts he visited. Each and all made the gross mistake of shaking hands with him and treating him almost as an equal. When the Viceroy was ushered into Victoria's presence chamber she remained seated, wrapped in the Imperial dignity that has awed mightier men than he. The intelligent celestial grasped his position at once. He groveled to the British Empress-Queen as he would have to his master, or the Dowager Empress, and when the interview was over and he had bowed himself out backward, he, deeply impressed, remarked to his entourage: "Her Majesty is the only real Monarch of them all." — Los Angeles Herald, 1901


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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Universal Space Etiquette

Long before the International Space Station and American astronauts walked on the moon, on April 9, 1956 NASA unveiled America's first seven astronauts who would later make space-faring history. - Special thanks to eagle-eyed reader Kevin... This photo is actually from 1962.


Scientists Urge Laws to Govern "Universal Man"

ROME —A conference of world scientists called today for a new set of laws to govern the conduct of man if, and when, he conquers the universe. Problems of 'space etiquette' highlighted the second day of the seventh International Astronautics Congress meeting here. 


The main themes were discussed by chief U.S. Delegate Andrew G. Haley, President of the American Rocket Society, and A A. Cocca of Argentina. Haley argued that man may eventually be forced to conquer outer space because the physical resources of the earth are limited. Cocca discussed jurisdictional problems involving the right of possession of territory occupied by space explorers. – Desert Sun, 1956

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

Etiquette and Carreño's Manual

    Manuel Antonio Carreño Muñoz was a Venezuelan musician, teacher and diplomat, was well known in the Spanish speaking world, during the 19th century— "Etiquette Book to Be Given Governor : University students today raised a fund to buy Gov. Gen. Robert H. Gore a copy of "Carreño's Manual," written by the 'Spanish Emily Post.' The students held the governor needed a course in Spanish courtesy because he refused to receive a delegation which wanted to protest the appointment of a trustee. Contributions were limited to four cents. The book is used widely in Spanish countries." — United Press, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 30. 1933


In 1853, Manuel Antonio Carreño Muñoz wrote the Manual of Urbanity and Good Manners, for which he received great recognition and fame. This manual had a great repercussion on a global level, to the point that it was approved to be taught in elementary schools in Spain. So this 1853 work was used as a text since the beginning, not only in Spain but in other Spanish-speaking countries as well. 


An important book, it was directed towards children of both sexes in a time where education was almost exclusively for boys and the more powerful social classes. The book elaborates on the moral and religious standards that were so important in the 19th century, that, evidently, had already been lost due to the long period of time that had passed. 

In referring to courtesy and good manners, one has to remember that, even though it may appear an exaggeration, this book exercised an enormous influence in educated Venezuelan society for many generations and even today, some of these standards are easily identifiable to foreigners who have recently arrived to the country, all from a European origin.

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

Retro Etiquette of the Sexes

 When a man is careless or thoughtless, it is all the more evident. Begin as a boy to observe all the small, sweet courtesies of life.

Social Etiquette:
The Differing Courtesies That Marked Good Breeding in Man and in Woman, from 1891

 "Are girls as well bred as boys?" Yes— and no! says Marion Harland in answering this question in The Weekly. Their training lies along different lines. One thing must always be considered —namely, that a woman's part is in many points of etiquette, passive. It is the man who takes the initiative, and who is made such a prominent figure that all eyes are drawn to him. Have you ever noticed it? Man proposes, woman accepts. Man stands, woman remains seated. Man lifts his hat, woman merely bows. Man acts as escort, woman as the escorted. So when a man is careless or thoughtless, it is all the more evident. For this reason, begin as a boy to observe all the small, sweet courtesies of life.


I often wish there were any one point in which a woman could show her genuine ladyhood as a man displays his gentlehood by the management of his hat—raising it entirely from the head on meeting a woman, lifting it when the lady with whom he is walking bows to an acquaintance, or, when his man companion greets a friend, baring his head on meeting, parting from or kissing mother, sister or wife. These, with other points, such as rising when a woman enters the room and remaining standing until she is seated, giving her the precedence in passing in or out of a door and picking up the handkerchief or glove she lets fall—are sure indices of the gentleman, or by their absence, mark the boor.


But our girl should not think that she can afford to overlook the acts of tactful courtesy which are her duty, as well as her brother's. Her temptation is often to exercise a patronizing toleration toward her elders, aud while she is not actually disrespectful, she still has the air of a very superior young being, holding converse with a person who has the advantage merely in the accident of years. Another of our girl's mistakes is that of imagining that brusqueness and pertness are wit. There is no other error more common with girls from fifteen to eighteen, and they generally choose a boy as the butt of their sarcastic remarks—and, to their shame, be it said, they frequently select a lad who is too courteous to retort in kind. — From "The Weekly" as reported in the Los Angeles Herald, 1891


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

Monday, May 22, 2017

"Phone Voice" Etiquette

Though the telephone has become an integral part of our daily lives, many people do not realize that voices are transmitted at a higher pitch over phone lines, than if one was speaking with someone face to face. Business professionals in particular, can benefit from speaking in a lower tone of voice than normal, when on business phone calls, in order for those on the other ends to hear them more clearly. 


Improve Your Phone Voice! 

Despite the fact that the telephone has become so commonplace as to be taken for granted in our daily living, many women have never learned to talk on the instrument. Technically adept at putting their calls through, and well versed in the rules of telephone etiquette, they still create an unfavorable impression upon their listeners because of their voices. Women who claim they don't like to talk on the telephone are usually admitting their discomfort. Their point that the facial expressions observed in personal chats add much to any conversation, is a valid one. Be that as it may, if they plan to use the telephone as a medium of communication, they should accept its limitations and set about correcting their own failings. 

One particularly unfortunate telephone voice is the meek, mild one that makes listeners yell, "What's that?" and "Louder, please." No matter how competent a person you may really be, the person at the other end of the wire is likely to conclude that you are ineffectual and without self-confidence. This is a handicap in both business and social relationships. Equally unattractive is the telephone-shouter who attempts to convey her message by vocal power alone. Not only is such a voice unpleasant to the unfortunate ear at the other end of the line, but it also marks the shouter as being unsure both of herself and of the instrument. - San Bernardino Sun, 1950


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

Etiquette's First "Etta Kett"

Etta Kett was a five decade comic strip created by Paul Robinson. The original distribution began in Dec. 1925. The strip originally offered tips to teenagers on manners, etiquette and the social graces. By the early 1950's, it had changed its focus from etiquette, to her family, social circle and school life. The wholesome humor helped Etta Kett maintain a readership over 50 years. But there was a newspaper Etta Kett who came first, in 1900, as the article below shows. 






The Force of Habit

"I'll never invite Ryeyun to my house for dinner again." asserted Mrs. Etta Kett after she had exchanged the greeting of the day with Mrs. Soandso. "Is that possible?" queried Mr. Soandso. "I thought Mr. Ryeyun was excellent company at table. At least so I have heard." "You see, it's just this way." continued Mrs. Etta Kett. "I know that Mr. Ryeyun is forced by circumstances to take his meals at a restaurant or chop house, and thinking that a real nice family dinner would taste good to him. I invited him to my house one evening. He accepted the invitation with every manifestation of pleasure, and you may be sure I exercised my best culinary skill to prepare a dinner that would make any man's heart rejoice, let alone a poor unfortunate who must eat regularly at the chop houses." "Well, did he not enjoy it?" "Yes. But do you know. Just as soon as he sat down to the table he wiped off his plate with his napkin, then wiped off his knife, forks and spoons, and then held his glass of water up to the light to see if there were any bugs in it!"— Omaha World-Herald, 1900


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

Etiquette, Elbows and Emily

One blogger unaware of her 1937 stance, states that Emily Post's position​ evolved on many subjects but,"There was one standard, she refused to relax, which was the importance of chaperones." In Victorian society which she came of age in, "no proper young lady would risk the damage to her reputation that might be incurred by an unchaperoned trip or overnight stay with a young man. Until the end, Emily Post believed that was sage advice."


The fountains of sacred rivers flow upward, everything is turned topsy turvy. This plaint of Euripides is echoed 23 centuries after the Greek dramatist by no less a modern mentor of manners and morals than Emily Post, whose name is synonymous with etiquette. Mrs. Post is nonplussed by the confusion of modern life, by the way in which the younger generation has taken the bit in its teeth. 


But she is not worried as to the basic goodness of her fellow women, she told a New York audience. Instead of deploring the disappearance of the ancient institution of the chaperone, she chuckles over the interesting problems that have resulted; instead of teaching the conventions to her young readers she finds she must adapt the conventions to fit modern behavior. 

Etiquette means something more important in human conduct than choosing the right fork, a lapse of which Mrs. Post herself frequently is guilty since she is both near-sighted and absentminded; she also, let it be whispered so that your children do not hear, puts her elbows on the table at dinner when she feels like it, and says, "it really makes no difference." 


What does make a difference is eternal vigilance to be considerate of the rights of others, and to be kind. At the moment, Mrs. Post is deep in the study of a great problem; Is it correct for a woman to pay all or part of the dinner and entertainment check? She is brooding about this to the exclusion of all others and will write a book about it when she has completely made up her mind. 

In the daytime in the business world, she muses, a man and woman are equals, work as companions, lunch as co-workers. But in the evening matters are changed, the woman becomes a woman again and the man pays and pays. Is that fair, she wonders, when women are earning as much or more than the men who entertain them? Would it not be fairer if he takes her out once and she takes him another time? We await with bated breath her decision on this vital question. – San Bernardino Sun, 1937


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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Etiquette for Drinking Maté

 The universal custom of drinking it is by sucking it through bombillas, from maté cups. A bombilla is a tube, which may be of the simplicity of a mere pipe stem, or an elaborately decorated silver, or silver mounted, work of art. 


Paraguay Tea from an Evergreen Shrub...
Introduced in Europe, where its use is increasing

Yerba maté, or Paraguay tea, is the daily household beverage of the masses of Paraguay, and it is consumed to a great extent also in Brazil and Argentina. It has been introduced into, Europe, where its use is increasing, writes Consul Cornelius Ferris Jr. of Asuncion. The tea is the product of a plant belonging to the species ilex of the family of ilkacase
, related to the ilex aquifolium, an evergreen shrub or small tree well known in western Europe. The leaves of this plant are carefully toasted near the place where they are gathered, all the skill required in producing the tea being applied in the process of toasting. This is necessary in order to dry the leaves thoroughly and evenly, without scorching or affecting their flavor by smoke.

After toasting, the leaves are sent to the mill, where they are ground to fine powder and packed solidly into bags for market. There is no sorting, grading, cleanin, nor are any means taken to rid the product of impurities or foreign matter. The tea is prepared for drinking in the same manner as ordinary tea, and may be taken with sugar, cream, lemon or brandy. The universal custom of drinking it is by sucking it through bombillas, from maté cups. A bombilla is a tube, which may be of the simplicity of a mere pipe stem, or an elaborately decorated silver, or silver mounted, work of art. 

Maté cups vary in style from a simple little gourd, to interesting specimens of local craftsmanship in silver. It is the custom to use a single maté cup, with its one bombilla, for an entire household, including all the visitors who may happen to be present, among whom it is passed, like a pipe of peace. To refuse to partake would be a breach of etiquette. The tea is said to be disagreeable at first, but it is readily adopted as a habit when the taste is once acquired. — San Francisco Call, 1910

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

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Argentinian Dining Etiquette

"They declared with some warmth to the cook, that the foreigners did not know how to eat. I apologized as well as I could, and endeavored thereafter to eat according to gaucho etiquette."

Table Manners in Argentina 

"We encamped near a swamp," says a gentleman, describing a meal he had with some cart drivers in South America, "and supped on sliced pumpkin boiled with bites​ of meat and seasoned with salt. The meal was served in genuine pampas fashion. One iron spoon and two cow's horns split in halves were passed around the group, the members of which squatted upon their haunches and freely helped themselves from the kettle. 

Even in this most uncivilized form of satisfying hunger there is a peculiar etiquette which the most lowly person invariably observes. Each member of the company in turn dips his spoon, or horn, into the center of the stew and draws it in a direct line toward him, never allowing it to deviate to the right or left. By observing this rule, each person eats without interfering with his neighbor. 

Being ignorant of this custom, I dipped my horn into the mess at random and fished about for some of the nice bits. My companions regarded this horrid breach of politeness with scowls of impatience. They declared with some warmth to the cook, that the foreigners did not know how to eat. I apologized as well as I could, and endeavored thereafter to eat according to gaucho etiquette." —New York World, 1894


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

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dinner Seating Etiquette, 1895

Dinner tables of society hostesses, in the latter part of the Victorian Era, featured unique and ornate silver patterns. The more silver laid on a dining table, the better. Silver reflected candlelight, illuminating dining rooms that were not yet fitted with electric lights.

A New Dinner Table Fashion!

The new heraldry, or rather etiquette, for large public dinners, annual​ dinners and the like—to which more and more​ frequently ladies are invited—places the wife at the table by her husband's side. She has for some years sat side by side with bim on the box seat when he drives his four-in-hand, and now it is the recognized thing, even in London,where innovations come slowly, to have this arrangement at dinner. 


"It seems very odd," writes an English woman, describing the annual dinner of the Newsvendors Benevolent and Provident Institution at the Grand Hotel, "very odd to go down with Richard, this being one of the particulars in which the public banquet differs from the private dinner. Opposite us were a husband and wife, to the left of us another couple, and a little further off another married pair. None of us quarreled with each other. 

Richard talked to his friend, who occasionally threw me a crumb of the conversation, and I made friends with my other neighbor, admired the lovely tulips on the table and made energetic efforts to see what Lady E_____ looked like. She sat beside the chairman, her husband, her father, the Earl of Arran, supporting her on the right. So you see it was intensely British​, a family arrangement of the most pronounced kind." 

The first time that such an arrangement was tried in Philadelphia was at the dinner given to Dr. James Mac Allister by Mr. Edward T. Steel and a number of other friends. There, husbands sat by their wives, and the novelty and ease of this arrangement was very much enjoyed. Since then the arrangement has become quite a general one for public functions, when other placing of the body of guests would be awkward or impossible. — Philadelphia Public Ledger, 1895

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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

1930's Smoking Etiquette

If people you care very little about are the smokers, the solution is simple enough, since you need not continue inviting them to your house. — Emily Post


Dear Mrs. Post:
How can I be courteous about letting visitors in my house know that I do not like cigarette smoke? Any one using strong perfume is supposed to be showing very bad taste, and yet cigarette smoke smells equally strong, to say nothing of smoke-drenched clothes worn by the inveterate smokers. When I have to spend a day or evening with smokers, I am completely seasick.


Answer: If people you care very little about are the smokers, the solution is simple enough since you need not continue inviting them to your house. If, however, all the people you like best smoke, you will, I am afraid, have to accustom yourself to smoke or resign yourself to loneliness. On the other hand, I think it only fair to mention that your friends should in their turn, show reasonable consideration for you. Every smoker should realize that smoking at a dining table, which has not been furnished with ash trays and cigarettes, is a breach of etiquette. After the meal, of course, the question of courtesy goes into reverse and those who dislike smoke are unhappily for themselves expected to tolerate it. One thing that might help you if you have not already discovered it, is to remove the dead ends constantly from the ash trays or better still, get especial ash receivers with water compartments beneath trap tops which prevent that stale smell which is more than likely the cause of your feeling of seasickness. – San Bernardino Sun, 1939

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Meishi Etiquette in Japan

The exchange of meishi offers you an opportunity to make an impression on your counterpart.

Exchanging Business Cards in Japan

It’s important to exchange business cards correctly in Japan. In addition to the simple exchange of contact information, participants are often trying to glean as much information as they can about their interlocutor and that person’s company.

Takashi Nakano, whose company Soul Products advises business clients on business cards, says that the exchange of meishi offers you an opportunity to make an impression on your counterpart.

Here’s a list of basic rules that Nakano follows when exchanging a business card:

(a) offer your card with two hands;

(b) receive your counterpart’s card with two hands;

(c) ensure the card is turned towards the receiver; ensure no names or logos are covered up when you offer your card;

(d) if the person you are exchanging cards with outranks you in terms of seniority, you should offer your business card first;

(e) if the person you are exchanging cards with outranks you in terms of seniority, you should offer it at a lower level than the other person;

(f) after receiving a business card, you should read over the contents and either place it facing upright on top of your cardholder on the table or, if standing, place it on your cardholder in your left hand until the other person has moved on.

“You need to look at what’s written on a business card very carefully and ask questions, if you can, in order to show that you are interested in that person,” Nakano says. “And don’t talk about yourself the whole time.” — Japan Times, 2017


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