October 04, 2008

Manners Make the Man

by Deeanne Gist

Manners Make the Man

I have an etiquette book published in 1896 called, Our Social Manual or Approved Etiquette of To-Day, by Maud C. Cooke. It covers everything from Salutations to How To Be Beautiful. I think copies of this book should be put in every doctor’s waiting room. It is wonderful entertainment when you only have a moment or two for reading.

I love the section called “Evading a Long Talk.”

1. Never offer to shake hands with a lady in the street if you have on dark gloves as you may soil her white ones.

2. If, when on your way to fulfill an engagement, a friend stops you in the street, you may, without committing any breach of etiquette, tell him of your appointment, and release yourself from a long talk; but do so in a courteous manner, expressing regret for the necessity.

3. A lady does not form acquaintances upon the street, or seek to attract the attention of the other sex, or of persons of her own sex. Her conduct is always modest and unassuming. Neither does a lady demand services or favors from gentlemen. She accepts them graciously, always expressing her thanks.

4. A gentlemen will not stand on the street corners, or in hotel doorways, or club windows, and gaze impertinently at ladies as they pass by. This is the exclusive business of loafers, upon which well-bred men will not trespass.

LOL. On and on it goes. Great stuff. Have you run across rules of etiquette like this? What are some of your favorite? Be sure to share your source, if you have it!


Vickie McDonough said...

How interesting, and how times have changed.

Tina Dee Books said...

Of all the things our schools teach, I wish these would be added. Kindness, gentleness, modesty, manners, wisdom. It just seems like common sense should be taught as well as all the book learning.

I love the reasons and logic behind these 'rules'.

Thanks for a great post, Deeanne!

Tina Dee Books

Karen Witemeyer said...

Here are a couple gems I picked up from a Web site about 19th century men's attire. (http://www.lahacal.org/gentleman/deportment.html)

They have several pages about etiquette and deportment including table manners and social calls. They are quoted from books of that time period.


"Never scratch your head, pick your teeth, clean your nails, or worse of all, pick your nose in company; all these things are disgusting. Spit as little as possible and never upon the floor.

If you are going into the presence of ladies, beware of onions, spirits and tobacco."
The Art of Good Behavior. 1845

"It is a great thing to be able to walk like a gentleman--that is, to get rid of that awkward, lounging, swinging gate of a clown and stop before you reach the affected and flippant step of the dandy. In short, nothing but being a gentleman can give you the air and step of one"
Martine's Handbook. 1866

Jessica said...

Hmm, a magazine I get posted a list on how to "keep your marriage". I love the list, but one thing makes me laugh (probably because my husband could care less).
-Always make sure he's seated at the head of the table-
I understand it refers to respect, but the physical aspect of it seems (to me) ridiculous. Plus, our table is round.

Deanne, I love your books!

Deeanne Gist said...

Oh, those are FABULOUS, Karen!! I'm LOVIN' the don't pick your nose one! Hahahahaha.

And thanks for the resource link. I've got it bookmarked!

Anonymous said...

Being a reader of Deeanne's site I came here to read her blog, and I just had to post.

I am a 1st grade teacher and I am making an effort to teach my students "equiette". I also say ladies and gentlmen, I tell the girls they need to walk, act, and sit like little ladies. I also explain what this means, and they seem to be picking it up. Yes the boys too.

That being said, I did pick up rules for teachers from 1915.
Just to warn you this is long.
1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.
2.You are not to keep company with men.
3. You must be home between the hours of 8pm and 6am unless attending a school function.
4. You may not loiter downtown in ice cream stores.
5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have permission of the chairman of the board.
6. You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.
7. You may not smoke cigarettes.
8. (great one) You may not dress in bright colors.
9. You may under not circumstances dye your hair. (I blew that one)
10. You must wear at least 2 petticoats.
11. Your dress may be no shorter than 2 inches above the ankle.
12. To keep the school room neat and clean, you must: sweep the floor at least once daily, scrub the floor at least once a week with hot, soapy water, clean the blackboards at least once a day and start a fire at 7am, so the room will be warm by 8am.

Some other rules of eariler periods included apparel that was forbidden to wear in public, making the writing utensils.
After ten hours in school, the teacher may spend the remaining time reading the bible or other good book.
Men teachers had 1 free evening to court.
Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed. (well guess I would have been dismissed then.:->)

Sorry this was so long.

brendalottakamaggiebrendan said...

Deanne, I enjoyed reading your post and others comments as well. I have the modern day equilvalent to manners in a book called The Grits Guide to Life, (Girls Raised in the South). One example from the book--Reminder-Good table manners are the ultimate symbol of who you are and how you were raised.Lot of good stuff in this little book!