Saturday, January 27, 2018

1920’s “Elevator Etiquette Editor”

Discussion of the question was suggested by a woman who signed herself  “Fighting Feminist.” She endorsed what the editorial writer had to say and declared that men, in the business world, were losing the proper amount of respect for women.” – Above, Fighting Feminist, Rose Mc Gowan, styled as 1920’s era actress, Clara Bow.

Hats on in L.A. Elevators Wins 136 to 19

Votes for Hats On 136  
Votes for Hats Off 19  
Votes for Compromise 46 


There is the final tally in the discussion of whether men should remove their hats when women enter an elevator. Two hundred and one letters were received by the “Elevator Etiquette Editor” with the following interesting results: The advocates of the rule that the hats should not come off number 136, approximately 7 times as many as those in favor of the hats oft rule. 

46 for Compromise 

Forty-six favored a compromise, that the hats should come off in hotel and apartment house elevators and remain on in elevators in all other buildings. Only 19 were for the straight out-and-out proposition of the removal of hats on all elevator. More letters were received from men than from women. One hundred and twenty-two men wrote, while only 59 letters were received from women. Twenty-seven signed anonymously without sex distinction. Of the 122 letters by the men only eight expressed the opinion that hats should be removed under all conditions. Eleven women were for the hats off rule. The majority for a compromise were sent in by the women. 

Public Conveyance 

Almost all of those who advocated that the hats should stay on declared that an elevator is a public conveyance, the same as a street car. With the elevator classified as a public conveyance, they asserted, there is no logical reason for the doffing of the headpieces. Those who were for a compromise held that there is a vast difference between a business elevator and an elevator in a hotel or apartment house. They claimed that when one enters a hotel or apartment house elevator, he should conduct himself exactly as if he were in a private home, thus making the removal of hats imperative. Discussion of the question of elevator etiquette was suggested by a woman who signed herself  “Fighting Feminist,” after she had read an editorial urging the men to remove their hats. She endorsed what the editorial writer had to say and declared that men, in the business world, were losing the proper amount of respect for women. 

Don’t Care 

The business women who wrote to the “Elevator Etiquette Editor” took a somewhat unexpected view of the question. Most all of them either stated plainly or intimated strongly that they “didn’t care a whoop” whether the men took off their hats to them in the elevator or not. “Let them do as they please—they will anyway,” was the way one girl put it. Several of the women and a number of the men declared that it was impolite for a man to remove his hat to a woman in an elevator. They argued that a man should never salute a woman whom he does not know. While the result of the discussion conducted by the “Elevator Etiquette Editor” does not set an arbitrary rule it may, at least, be considered as an expression of public opinion. – Los Angeles Herald, 1920

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