Saturday, April 29, 2017

Moslem Toothpick Etiquette

Ornate Victorian Era Toothpick ~ Throughout the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, ornate and bejeweled toothpicks were popular throughout the world, especially with the United Kingdom's upper classes.

Moslem Etiquette

All true Moslems when eating must begin with salt and finish with vinegar. If they begin with salt, they will escape the contagion of seventy diseases. If they finish with vinegar, their worldly prosperity will continue to increase. The host is in etiquette bound to be the first to start eating and the last to leave off. Tooth picking Is considered an act of grace in the true Moslem, for the angel Gabriel is reported to have brought a tooth pick from heaven for the prophet at every meal. The priests recite certain passages of the Koran before and after lunch and dinner, and also before drinking water at any hour of the day. — The Mariposa Gazette, 1903



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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Moroccan Dining Etiquette

A "diffa" is an Arabic reception or banquet. General Mark Clark and Caid El Ayadi dining in 1943

"Morocco Etiquette"

General Mark Clark, head of United States forces in Morocco, is eating with his fingers at the great diffa, or feast, given by the rich, Caid El Ayadi, on the occasion of a wolf hunt. General Clark and his staff enjoyed the diffa immensely. — 
As reported in The Enterprise and Scimitar, May 1943

Dining in the Middle East

To avoid making your hosts feel uncomfortable, there are a few simple guidelines to follow.
  • Bring a small gift of flowers, chocolates, pastries, fruit or honey.
  • It’s polite to be seen to wash your hands before a meal.
  • Always remove your shoes before sitting down on a rug to eat or drink tea.
  • Don’t sit with your legs stretched out – it’s considered rude during a meal.
  • Always sit next to a person of the same sex at the dinner table unless your host(ess) suggests otherwise.
  • Use only your right hand for eating or accepting food.
  • When the meal begins, accept as much food as is offered to you. If you say ‘no thanks’ continually, it can offend the host.
  • It’s good manners to leave a little food on your plate at the end of the meal: traditionally, a clean plate was thought to invite famine. It can also suggest to your host that they haven't fed you sufficiently.
  • Your host will often lay the tastiest morsels in front of you; it’s polite to accept them.
  • The best part – such as the meat – is usually saved until last, so don’t take it until offered.
Etiquette Advce from Lonely Planet.com

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

Field Trip Etiquette Plea

1930's school children — "The majority of students know how to conduct themselves, but the hopeless minority group can make or break the school's reputation when off-campus."

Filed Under "Conduct"

Emily Post has written many books on etiquette but it remains for some enterprising person to write a book on how students should conduct themselves on field trips. 
When a student is on a field trip, he himself carries a part of the school's reputation and it behooves him to act like a gentleman. 

The majority of students know how to conduct themselves but the hopeless minority group can make or break the school's reputation when off-campus. Those few students who act like rowdies and respect the property of no one should remain at home when the class makes a field trip. — The Corsair, 1938

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

Major Etiquette Fail

Mr. Clark wasn't "all that" in modern day slanguage — A hostess should never ignore or otherwise insult, any of those paying visits to her home, however, one should not use a gun to settle any social misunderstandings either.

Misunderstanding Social Rules

Jesse C. Clarke evidently wanted to be "the whole thing" when he sought society yesterday and called at a home on Redlands Road. He objected to the hostess paying any attention to a young couple that called during his stay and manifested his displeasure by firing off a revolver and using vile language. For this, little remissness in observing the rules of social etiquette, he was fined $5.00 by Justice Hanna this morning. He is said to be an employee at the P. F. E. plant. — California, 1912


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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Etiquette Class for Immigrants

During the 1800s, after Ellis Island in New York City, the Port of Baltimore was the second-leading port of entry for immigrants arriving to the United States.

In Baltimore, Maryland, the first public school for the teaching of etiquette has been established at the Captain William Fleet School, where children of foreign-born parents are given a better conception of our customs and manner of living. – Sacramento Union, 1921

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

First Choice Etiquette

Etiquette Class is Number 1 with Students
Teen Girls' Fashions of the 1920s

From the Madera Tribune of 1925 

"Beginning next Monday, a number of short courses will he offered to Madera high school students once a week for five weeks, advance registration made today show clearly the trend of student preference. The highest registration was in etiquette. For this subject, 115 students indicated a first preference, 56 a second preference, and 42 a third preference. Next in popularity was a course for girls in the care of the automobile. Forty-three students took this course as their first choice. Thirty-nine enrolled for radio, 29 girls for folk dancing, 27 for parliamentary practice, and so on down the line. Much interest in the courses is being displayed by students."

The following week —
New Courses Prove Popular in Madera Union High School

The series of short courses recently introduced in Madera High began Monday morning with most of the classes well attended. Miss McSweeney’s Etiquette class has the largest attendance while Miss Johnson’s class of Etiquette and Mr. Mathews’ class on the Care of the Automobile, rank second with an enrollment of 47 each. The various courses are all very practical and offer the student advantages which he doesn’t secure In his regular school course. Following are the classes and enrollment in each:
Etiquette—(girls) Miss McSweeney, 58. Etiquette—(boys) Miss Johnson, 47. Radio—Mr. Sheldon, 42. Care of the Automobile—Mr. Mathews, 47. Aesthetic Dancing—Miss Richter, 25. Etiquette—(girls) Miss Bennink, 24. Parliamentary Law—Mr. Thompson, 22. Ornamental Gardening—Mr. Moffit, 21. Basketry and Sewing—Miss Worthington, 18. Short Stories—Miss Petty, 15. Salesmanship—Miss Campbell, 12 Modern Drama—Mrs. Hubbard, 12. Fancy Stitches—Miss Jones, 7. Music Appreciation—Miss Short, 3.

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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Snuff and Etiquette at Versailles

Smoking was popular as well! – The active ingredient in intobacco was named “nicotine” after the French diplomat, Jean Nicot. Nicot introduced snuff tobacco to French Queen, Catherine de Medici, and the French Nobility.

After a French ambassador to Portugal returned to France with an addictive plant discovered in the New World, it caused a sensation in the French Royal Court. French diplomat and scholar, Jean Nicot, had been introduced to tobacco in Lisbon. There, it was being crushed into powder and was used as the remedy for a variety of maladies, ironically including cancer. Snuffing became a popular activity in Paris after the Queen Mother herself, Catherine de Medici, was introduced to snuffing tobacco by Nicot. He had demonstrated the inhalation of powdered tobacco, as a way to cure  de Medici's frequent headaches. It was later named the genus of tobacco cultivars “Nicotiana,” by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in Nicot's honor. The active ingredient intobacco was also named “nicotine” after the French diplomat.

Snuffing remained popular, and addictive, with the French Royals and Nobility. By the 18th century, snuff boxes were as socially important as fine pieces of jewelry. Anyone who was anyone needed
 to have a variété´ of these boxes. And as fashions changed frequently, so did the styles and designs of snuff boxes. At Versailles, showered with extravagance upon her marriage to Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette was gifted with 52 gold snuff boxes. From all accounts, Marie Antoinette was more likely to carry a box of bon bons on her person, than a snuff box,  but she is said to have been responsible for the French standardization of the modern-day handkerchief.

Prior to the arrival and ultimate popularity of snuff tobacco in Europe,the handkerchief had become simply another object of fashion. Snuff brought the handkerchief back to its original purpose, and was indispensable for cleaning orange-brown, snuff-stained noses and fingers. White handkerchiefs were hardly appropriate for such a task, so snuff users began to employ large, colorful handkerchiefs to hide those stains. The handkerchief, up to that time, had come in many shapes; square, triangular, etc... According to legend, Marie Antoinette remarked that the square-shaped handkerchief at Versailles was the most pleasing, as well as the most convenient to use. The remark is said to have prompted Louis XVI to make mandatory that all handkerchiefs produced in France to be square in shape.

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

19th C. Swedish Social Etiquette


"Skål bror!" —  Or "Cheers brother!"

All through Sweden, social intercourse is encumbered with much ceremonious etiquette, particularly among the landed gentry. The three Scandinavian tongues employ the two personal pronouns "thou" and "you" the first familiarly, the second when speaking to a mere acquaintance. But a well-bred Swedish gentleman, addressing a stranger, will always, with old-fashioned courtesy, substitute the equivalent for, "Monsieur." regardless of harrowing repetitions, and where a title is demanded, even under the difficulties of rapid speech, it is never for a moment omitted. As such politesse, however, in the end becomes both monotonous and wearisome, they have a practical way of cutting the Gordian knot. When a casual acquaintanceship has ripened into genial sympathy or mutual respect your Swedish friend at once proposes a "brotherhood." This is a distinct social ordeal, the initiation to which demands a special rite.

The man who has requested the honor of becoming your brother provides you with a glass of wine filled to the brim, he himself holding another; both rise, each linking the right arm of each, looking one another boldly in the eve and pronouncing the words "Skal bror," the beakers are emptied. Hence you are expected to use the pronoun "thou," and you take your stand on the footing of relationship. Among the reminiscences of this visit to Vermland is an evening when I acquired no less than six new and stalwart brother. On the subject of ancient politesse, I should mention, by the way. that there is a well-known Swedish gentleman who always gives precedence to his own son, because "He has one ancestor more than his father." – Cornhill Magazine, 1887

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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Squalor and Etiquette at Versailles

A royal chamber pot from Versailles -There were no bathrooms as we would know them. Courtiers and royalty used decorative commodes in each room, while commoners simply relieved themselves in the hallways or stairwells. No one bothered to house-train the royal dogs, and servants did not consider cleaning up after them to be part of their job description.

The palace of Versailles was once the most lavish large home in the world, the residence of the French royal family along with hundreds of their courtiers and servants. Containing half-a-million square feet, the palace compound has 700 rooms and 67 staircases. With lofty ceilings, gilded crown moldings, decorative floors, and 6000 paintings, there were also extensive servants’ quarters, kitchens, stables, and services.

Versailles was the creation of Louis XIV of France, who obsessively enlarged and enhanced his residence for more than 30 years during the 1600s. Today it’s toured by three million visitors annually, all hoping for a glimpse of the royal lifestyle.

This was the royal family’s private chapel for religious services

The Baroque aesthetic was to leave no surface unadorned. Every royal chamber has gilded paneling and crown molding; every wall has brocaded or flocked wall coverings; every ceiling is covered with allegorical paintings of Greek gods; every floor is patterned parquet or colored tiles. The hallways were done up with contrasting colors of veined marble. Everything inside, from furniture to finishes, is a visual froth of embellishments. Versailles in its day was so visually overpowering that it inspired copycat palaces all across Europe.

The chateau began as a hunting lodge built by Louis XIV’s father, fifteen miles southwest of Paris. Louis grew up during a tumultuous French civil war called the Fronde, during which he was surrounded by conspirators, had no pocket money and slept on ragged sheets. His mother even had to pawn the crown jewels. After consolidating his power as King, Louis compensated for childhood privations by building himself the most luxurious palace imaginable. He continued enlarging it throughout much of his life.

The public could watch the royals from behind the golden railing (at the bottom of the photo), so that there was no privacy for the royal family, even in bed.

The original hunting lodge was embedded within a vast series of newer buildings. Floors were added on top of existing structures, courtyards were filled in by new living spaces, wings were built, stables were constructed, staircases were built and then moved, service hallways added and then altered. The place became a complex maze containing sparkling state apartments as well as uncomfortable attic garrets tucked beneath the roof.

Ongoing construction at the palace provided job security to hundreds of masons, carpenters, plasterers, gilders, painters and landscapers. An immense support staff was maintained, consisting of cooks, valets, gardeners, grooms, hairdressers, and tailors. Vegetables and fruits to feed the masses were provided by a large potager, or kitchen garden.

But life in a palace wasn’t necessarily peaceful or enjoyable. The place was a vast hive of activity. Hundreds of courtiers lived alongside the royal family at Versailles, with their families as well. Nobles who could afford it often moved out of the crowded palace and constructed their own houses beyond the golden gates in the town of Versailles.

Versailles became a tourist destination almost from the beginning. The first visitor’s guide was published in the late 1600s. Anyone was granted entry to the grounds and the palace as long as the dress code was observed. (Hats and swords for men could be rented from the concierge at the gate.) Entry included the ability to enter into the royal apartments. 

A gilded railing separated the royal half of each room from the spectators’ portion. Behind these gilded railings, a series of private doors were built into the back paneling of the royal apartments, leading to secret hallways and stairs which allowed royalty to move from one room to another while remaining hidden from public view. Years later, in 1789, Queen Marie-Antoinette temporarily escaped the revolutionary mob by slipping through one of these doors to the king’s chamber.

Marie-Antoinette (married to Louis XIV’s great-great-grandson, Louis XVI) chafed at being on display even when in her bedroom. When she gave birth to her first child at Versailles, the entire royal family and all the major state officials came to witness the event. Hordes of other inquisitive people crowded in as well, in such numbers that spectators were crushed against the furniture and walls and movement was impossible.

It’s difficult to believe today when gazing at the gleaming golden palace, but life at Versailles was actually quite dirty. There were no bathrooms as we would know them. Courtiers and royalty used decorative commodes in each room, while commoners simply relieved themselves in the hallways or stairwells. No one bothered to house-train the royal dogs, and servants did not consider cleaning up after them to be part of their job description. The constantly-altered chimneys did not draw well, so everything inside was covered with soot. The filth and disorder at Versailles during the ancient regime were noted in many records of the time.

Life at Versailles was not just foie-gras served on golden plates. In need of cleaning, requiring expensive maintenance, and with in-laws living in the wings, Versailles was not so very different from many homes today. — A previous version of this article appeared in the Bloomington, IN Herald-Times in 2009

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

Etiquette and Swell Servants

 There is no doubt that the English nobility, have a way of employing servants which offers grand opportunities to rogues. 

The Swell Servants in England

''Although all hopes of recovering the jewels of Lady Dudley has vanished—their real value was £30,000 there is still a good deal of speculation about their disappearance, and a pretty general belief that some of His Lordship's servants must have been at least an accomplice in the transaction. It is difficult to believe that a box of such value entrusted to the care of servants could have disappeared in a railway station from unwilling hands, or that an outside thief could have known so much about the movements of the family as to have been on the spot at the precise moment. However this may be, there is no doubt that the English nobility, have a way of employing servants which offers grand opportunities to rogues.

In most cases the outside of the servants is the chief thing. If the coachman or footman is good-looking in his livery and of the required dimensions, his character is not inquired into. A well known Duke recently advertised for a footman of exactly five feet eleven and a half inches, whose sole business it would be to stand at the back of his coach beside another of like station. A youth, now in the employ of a lady of my acquaintance, applied for the advertised position, and says that his character was not asked for— he was taken into the servants' hall , and measured, and dismissed for lacking the half inch demanded by the Duke.

There is a passion tor tallness in servants, and of one noble family, at least, it is a rule to admit no man servant under six feet. There are six of these eminent personages in their fine mansions. The English servants are good-looking, neat and constitutional flunkeys and flunkeyesses. They are very shrewd, and have their class rules as well defined as any trade union. Downing street does not possess more pigeon-holes and red tape than a mansion of the wealthy. 

An upper house-maid would die at the stake before she would do a bit of work that came within the province of the under house-maid. A swell butler would throw up his position in the face of the Lord Chancellor himself if he were expected to black his own boots. There are many boys of thirteen kept in brass buttons, and in many an instance the sole duty of this boy is to brush the clothes and boots of the butler, the master of the house having his own separate valet.

Of course, it is not pride which has made the inflexible laws of etiquette among these servants, which they refuse to step out of an official groove or function. It is the determination of their class to preserve the conventional number of the servants required for any first-class household. They particularly dislike servants from other countries, especially the Germans, because if well paid, and well treated, they will do anything requested of them."— 
London Correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, 1875

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