Monday, August 19, 2019

1920s Etiquette: Trend? Fad?

One of the better known writers on manners, with her first book of etiquette published in 1922, is Emily Post. Though she died in 1960, her extended family (most notably her late-granddaughter in-law, Elizabeth Post) has successfully continued on with her legacy of  nearly a century of etiquette books, news columns and social media contributions. – Above, “Emily Post” by Miguel Covarrubias for Vanity Fair, December 1933
– Image source, Pinterest 

Has Etiquette’s Popularity Waned?

One columnist thought etiquette’s popularity had waned by 1925, however, the 1920’s - 1930’s “Etiquette Era” was just taking a brief break, and would continue for over 10 more years.

Four years ago a clever publisher began to spend large sums of money advertising a book of etiquette. His campaign was tremendously successful and the American public “went in” for good manners so vehemently, that several books on the subject immediately leaped into the ranks of the best sellers and caused waiting lists at public libraries. It is now admitted that this four year old fad has waned. Did its departure leave us a nation of Chesterfields, distinguished for our elegant manners? Alas, no, many of the laws were useful, if not so important as the etiquette teachers lead us to think. But they are not the whole story of good manners. The latter can hardly be learned from books of etiquette. Culture is not to be found in anyone book or in anyone library of books. Culture is personal and temperamental and the form is of small value if the instinct is absent. The little usages of refined people are worthy of constant practice, but no matter how delicately correct one’s deportment may be, they fail if they do not dispel rudeness and discourtesy.– Eagle Rock Courier, 1925

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

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