Monday, October 16, 2017

Taxi Cab Etiquette

“Now there is just one thing more. The eternal question of the tip interjects itself. I have become a slave to the *tip habit, but I have regulated the system in my indulgence. I follow the old rule, and the only proper one, of giving the chauffeur not more than 10 per cent of the cost of hire for the time in which the machine has been in use. This is a custom that should be observed with iron clad firmness, and it will no doubt save many embarrassing situations.” from 1910  
 * The tip percentage has gone up in 107 years. In 2017, it is recommended that drivers should be tipped 15% to 20% of the fare.

Miss Rose Stahl Explains What Is Deemed Proper Way to Use Them...
Gives Views For Those Who Have Adopted Latest Model of Conveyance

Etiquette, of whatever kind, has existed since time began, and the development of ideas and the establishment of customs have brought about consequent changes in the rules that govern manners. In every department of conduct, some law is laid down that directs the proper way to do a thing. At the table a general code of etiquette prescribes the use of the salad fork, when the entree course is served; another set of rules gives the gentleman his cues for walking with a lady on the street and the personal decorum of a traveler upon a railroad train is fashioned after a long line of precedents that point to the right thing to do, under each and every circumstance. In the old days of the coach and four, etiquette played an important part in the coaching parties. 

When cities were built, and the hackney coach came into vogue, the code of manners was modified to suit the situation. The auto brought its set of rules and they obtain today, while all the world and the cartoonists speculate in thousands of ways of what will constitute bad manners and what will give evidence of correct breeding when the avenues of transit will fashion their crazy courses through the whirling eddies of the air. In so simple a proposition as the propcr conduct in the use of a taxicab on an afternoon in a big city, a recent discussion revealed a surprising ignorance among the ladies of a well known club as to what was right and what was wrong in entering or leaving the meter governed taxi. Miss Rose Stahl, the leading lady of James Forbes’ comedy, “The Chorus Lady,” who was elected to membership in the organization upon her return from her London engagement explained what she considered the ins and outs of the methods a lady should observe. 

“As we all know, America is not the home of the taxicab," said Miss Stahl in an interview yesterday. "It first saw the light of day in Paris and London and was immediately accepted by the ladies of those cities as quite the proper thing. But being a novelty, more or less, the ladies began to use it with no regard for the etiquette which should govern those who are wont to spend our afternoons calling upon friends or shopping in the downtown districts. I was agreeably surprised to note that my sisters in New York and the other large cities of the United States, where the taxicab has come to stay, know what to do and when to do it, when it comes to riding in the nervous little machines. 

Tips on Entering

"To my way of doing the thing the proper way, is to enter the cab with as little ostentation as possible. This gives ease and grace and creates the minimum amount of notice from the curious, who are bound to stand by and witness the performance. "Upon alighting, do not look about you up and down the street, to see if you are noticed. Step quickly to the center, read it and ascertain the amount of the fee you owe, pay it and be gone. Now there is just one thing more. The eternal question of the tip interjects itself. I have become a slave to the tip habit, but I have regulated the system in my indulgence. I follow the old rule, and the only proper one, of giving the chauffeur not more than 10 per cent of the cost of hire for the time in which the machine has been in use. This is a custom that should be observed with iron clad firmness, and it will no doubt save many embarrassing situations.”

 Confusion is Certain  

“It seems peculiar, doesn't it, that so trivial a thing as the entrance of a lady into a taxicab should foster such a confusion of ideas as seems to exist, but it’s certain.” Miss Stahl then rang up Franklin 123 for an Alco taxicab, and as she was leaving the hotel said: “Now if you will come along I will explain what I mean.”– San Francisco Call, 1910


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

Etiquette and Wealth

By the 1890s, the center of fashionable Newport, and its famous 400, was Ochre Point, Ocean Drive and out Bellevue Avenue, where the nouveaux riche were all building their “palaces.” –Good manners are not the exclusive property of the wealthy. Good manners do not discriminate between the “haves” and the “have nots.” This gent was actually lamenting the stilted snobbery, not the actual etiquette of the wealthy.

Wealth vs. Happiness
A Millionaire  Sighs for Freedom From Conventionalities

“I never realized more forcibly that wealth does not bring happiness than one day at Newport,” said Austin Corbin, the millionaire banker and President of the Reading Railroad. “I had been moving along the fashionable drives scanning the faces of the passers-by. All were evidently bored to death. The ladies, arrayed in richest carriage toilets, seemed afraid to move lest they should disarrange their apparel. Not a ripple of laughter did I hear. All seemed to have arrayed themselves in their best and gone out to drive because it was a duty they owed to their social position to be seen among the other fashionables. Everybody's spirits seemed completely bowed down beneath the weight of fashion, decorum and etiquette, so inseparable from wealth. 

“Leaving the four hundred element I drove to an unfashionable and remote part of the beach. There in an eligible-situation, at just the right distance from the water for enjoyment, I saw a neat cottage adorned with the legend, ‘Mrs. O'Donnelly's ladies’ and gents’ boarding-house. Terms, $6 per week.’ A number of athletic young men and a bevy of buxom, rosy cheeked young girls were congregated on the porch and lawn. What a contrast the charmingly, healthful and natural appearance of these young people to that of the blighted, artificial victims of fashion I had just left. They were all in negligee costume, and merriment, playfulness and health sparkled in every eye and rang out heartily from every lip. „ “‘Oh.’ I thought, “if I could only escape from the fashionable prison, called a hotel by courtesy, where I am confined, with what inexpressible joy I would board at Mrs. O'Donnelly's.’”—Pittsburg. Dispatch, 1891


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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Jeffersonian Etiquette and Style


Manners and Customs at the White House at the Beginning of the 19th CenturyWhen Jefferson became President, and shocked Mr. Merry with his morning slippers!  The new British diplomatic representative to the United States, Anthony Merry, and his wife were shocked and insulted when the president received them in worn clothing and slippers. In December 1803 at a formal dinner in the White House, no one offered to escort Mrs. Merry to dinner. In the dining room, Merry and his wife had to scramble for places at the table in competition with the other guests. Others had the same experience. Read more on Jefferson’s “Pell-Mell Etiquette” here.

The habits of the last century in respect to decorum were just receding ; men were — for better or worse — ceasing to occupy themselves about peronal externals, and the customary suit of solemn black was only just coming into vogue. The old regime was dying, and its disappearance was as conspicuous in England as in France, in America' as in England. This is easily illustrated. If we were to read in some old collection of faded letters a woman's animated description of a country visit paid to one who seemed the counterpart of Addison's Sir Roger de Coverley, we should naturally assume that the date and address of the letter must be very far away in space and time. 


Suppose that the narrator should tell us of a fine country house, surrounded by lofty elms forming two avenues, the one leading to the high road, the other to the village church. There are family portraits in the hall, a book-case containing the first edition of the Spectator, and a buffet of old plate and rare china. The guest remains over Sunday, and her host, wearing wig and cocked hat and red cloak, escorts her down the avenue of elms through the rural churchyard to the village church. At every step they pass villagers,who make profound obeisance, and at the conclusion of the service the whole congregation remains standing until this ancient gentleman and his friends have passed down the broad aisle. Who would not fancy this a scene from some English hamlet in the days of Queen Anne? Yet it all look place in the present century, and in the quiet village of Harvard, Massachusetts, little more than thirty miles from Boston, and now only noted as the abode of a little Shaker community and the scene of Howell's "Undiscovered Country." 

The narrator was the late Mrs. Josiah Quincy, and her host was Harry Bromfield, elder brother of the well known benefactor of the Boston Athenaeum. He was simply a "survival "of the old way of living. He spoke of State Street as King Street, and Summer Street as Seven-Star Lane, and his dress and manners were like his phrases. Such survivals were still to be found, here and there all over the country, at the precise time when Jefferson became President, and shocked Mr. Merry with his morning slippers, and Mr. Sullivan by opening his doors to the world. 

Thomas Jefferson's way of living in Washington exhitbited a profuse and rather slovenly hospitality, which at last left him deeply in debt. He kept open house, had eleven servants (slaves) from his plantation, beside a French Cook and Steward and an Irish Coachman. His long dining-room was crowded every day, according to one witness, who tested its hospitality for sixteen days in succession ; it was essentially a bachelor establishment, he being then a widower, and we hear little of ladies among its visitors. There was no etiquette at these great dinners ; they sat down at four and talked till midnight. 

The city of Washington was still a frontier settlement, in that phase of those outposts when they consist of many small cabins and one hotel, at which everybody meets. The White House was the hotel ; there was no "society" anywhere else, because nobody else had a drawing-room large enough to receive it. Pennsylvania Avenue was still an abyss of yellow mud, on which nobody could walk, and where carriages were bemired. Governor Morris, of New York, described Washington as the best city in the world for a future residence. " We want nothing here," be said, "but houses, cellars, kitchens, well-informed men, amiable women, and other little trifles of this kind, to make our city perfect." -T. W. Higginson, in Harper’s Magazine, 1884


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

Etiquette and Society’s Evils

Depiction of a Victorian Era lounge lizard, flirting with two young women. – “These gross breaches of decorum and violations of the rules of decency, cannot be taken notice of by those who are subjected to the inconvenience and mortification arising from such reprehensible acts.” 

Evil Society

It has been a subject for complaint, and very justly too, from those who have brought their families here, of the many occasions on which virtuous females are unwittingly insulted or placed in disagreeable and unpleasant predicaments by the rudeness and ill manners of the many loafers and unworthy characters who now infest our community. The many men who openly indulge in acts of licentiousness, publicly violate the rules and usages of decent society, and who are palpably guilty of the most inexcusable breaches of decorum and good behavior, must eventually hide their diminished heads, cover their deeds with darkness, or conform to a system of morals that now governs our most worthy and refined communities. 

There are, very unfortunately, many persons among us who apparently have nothing else to do but to idle away their time in hanging around bar-rooms or standing on street corners and public places, whistling for want of thought, and vulgarly staring into the face of every female who passes by. We have heard numberless complaints from our most respectable and worthy citizens, whose families in walking through our streets are subjected to the impudent stare, licentious criticism or ribald jest of some loafer whose daily haunts are the card table and the rum shop. And again, many whose families visit places of amusement or popular assemblages, are to be thrown in company with brazen-faced harridans and depraved characters whose presence, pollutes the atmosphere of all public places in the city. 

The habits contracted by many persons who were here at an early day, have not been corrected by the better influences now prevailing and many are so lost to shame and so far forgetful of self-respect as to form associations which their early education would have taught them to shun with the greatest care. The most charitable supposition would lead us to believe that a residence here of a few years without the benefits to be derived from refined and moral associations might have had sufficient influence to make one forget the duties he owes to himself and society. 

These gross breaches of decorum and violations of the rules of decency, cannot be taken notice of by those who are subjected to the inconvenience and mortification arising from such reprehensible acts. As evil they will naturally grow, small by degrees, and beautifully less as our country grows older and will eventually disappear before the irresistible force of public opinion. The rudeness of society, the unsettled condition of the country, or the long absence from domestic comforts nnd restraints, by conventional rules of civilised communities, should never for a moment make a gentleman forget what is becoming of himself and due to those around him. – Daily Alta, 1852


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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Children’s Social Etiquette Education

Any attempt at overdressing is at once frowned upon by wealthy mothers of today, and it would surprise many a poor mother to see the garments that the rich children, whose inheritances are matters of almost national gossip, wear habitually. Plainness, when it does not mean ugliness, is what is insisted upon! 

Their Dress and Deportment - Work Time and Playtime - Childish Manners and Development

The small child of today begins her social education when she is six or eight years old by going to the juvenile dancing or gymnasium class. A most successful Swedish teacher in New York, who has the names of many prospective little millionaires on her books, says that she endeavors to teach her small charges that they must strive to do as she instructs because they are gentlewomen, and that being gentlewomen, they cannot possibly be guilty of the many breaches of manners and decorum that are all too often indulged in by heedless childhood. 


At the gymnasium, a little bloomer suit of white Henrietta or cashmere or mohair is worn, with white stockings and white canvas rubber-soled shoes. Boys and girls stand side by side and learn the same exercises, and the nursery maids stand outside and follow the lesson throughout, so that they may intelligently aid the little pupils in practice at home. The dancing class is a part of the regulation gymnasium curriculum, aud such of the little folks whose parents desire it are taught solo dances, which really bring out quite a little of the child's personality.

At an entertainment where children undertook all of the performance, one little girl appeared in a dance and chorus which did not take very well, and so was not encored. At its conclusion she betook herself to her mother's box and watched the part in which her cousin appeared. This was wildly encored, and the mother feared that her small daughter's feelings might be hurt. But the little one smiled and said: "What do you think, mother; they made Maisie's class do their dance three times over. I guess they did not do it quite right the first time, and so they had to do it over again. 

Very quickly do the youngsters nowadays appreciate what is good form in dress and other matters. Any attempt at overdressing is at once frowned upon by wealthy mothers of today, and it would surprise many a poor mother to see the garments that the rich children, whose inheritances are matters of almost national gossip, wear habitually. Plainness, when it does not mean ugliness, is what is insisted upon. 

For the dancing school the favored style is a fine lingerie frock, with delicately tinted or white hair ribbon, and sometimes a sash. Either white or black silk stockings aud black patent leather slippers are worn, colored footwear being considered in very poor taste. Colored silk stockings or slips are permitted only to girls who have seen at least a dozen summers: they are supposed to find no place whatsoever in the wardrobe of her younger sister. – Los Angeles Herald, 1906


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

Salad Etiquette

The Waldorf’ Astoria’s maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky is credited with creating the Waldorf salad. After working at other establishments, including Delmonico’s, he retired in 1943, after working at the famous New York hotel  for 50 years.

Everything About Salad Etiquette
🥗 Questions and Answers on Salads 🥗 


Q. Should one eat the lettuce or salad green under the salad? 
A. Yes. It is part of the salad, is intended to be eaten, and polite guests will eat at least a little. 

Q. May lettuce be cut with a knife? 
A. Yes, if necessary—providing the knife has a sliver blade. (This custom arose because steel knives turned black.) Most hostesses serve salad that does not require cutting, but in many homes a salad knife is always provided with leafy salads. 

Q. May salad be served with the meat course ? 
A. Yes, a simple tart salad may be served right with the meat course. The individual salads are placed at left of dinner plate. When salad is a separate course, place it directly in front of the guest, after removing the dinner plate. 

Q. Where does the salad fork go, in the table setting? 
A. The salad fork goes to the left of dinner plate, then come the meat fork and left of that the fork for fish or entree. If a salad knife is used, it goes at right, next to the plate. 

Q. May salad be passed? 
A. Yes, and this is an effective way to serve salad at a party or buffet supper. Be sure, however, that each individual salad is easy to remove from the platter. 

Q. Is salad ever eaten from the dinner plate ? 
A. When garniture salad is served, such as a bit of slaw or similar mixture, to accompany meat or fish course, it may be eaten right on the dinner plate —either taken with a spoon or served as a garnish. 

Q. Must salad always have a plate to itself ? 
A. For parties, such as bridges, teas or luncheons, what the restaurants call a “club plate” may be used—the salad (in lettuce cup or shell) is then right on the large plate, with the other foods grouped on the same plate. 

Q. Should dressings be passed, even when the salad has been prepared with salad dressing? 
A. This is at the discretion of the hostess. Some salads are served without dressing, so that their beauty of arrangement will not be marred, and these require the passing of dressing. Too, some guests may prefer more dressing, and it is courtesy to permit them to have it. — Coronado Eagle and Journal, 1938


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

Friday, October 13, 2017

Victorian “Mashers” Lacked Manners

Old family photos show that dressing in drag for fun is nothing new. But to dress as the opposite sex, simply to shock, “go slumming” or to get away with rude behavior, is unacceptable.

Rudeness and Victorian Female “Mashers”
The well-bred young woman, shedding good manners and decorum for “fun.” 

Saving her petticoats, retained apparently out of respect for the law that prohibits interchange of costume by the sexes, the female masher is a little man. She is stiff and starch, well set up, and all over buttons. Her hat is made at a man's shop, so is her trim little jacket, so are her innumerable waistcoats, so apparently are her boots. She is essentially tailor-made from head to foot. When the weather is gusty, she covers all over with a tailor-made tight-fitting coat, to which a certain swagger is imparted by the use of the now preposterous and most hideous swaying crinolette. If manners oft proclaim the man, costume certainly advertises the woman ; so the female masher does not assume masculine attire without imitating parrot-like the affectation of her evident model. 

On the pier and promenade of to-day, the man is not in it. It is the woman who laughs loudly, talks at the top of her voice, takes the pavement, and elbows the crowd to the right and to the left. The female masher is neither polite in her manners nor select in her conversation. As a very slight acquaintance she will communicate suspicious stories to a perfect stranger, and there is no slang or popular vulgarity with which she is not acquainted. In a dogcart at the station, she takes the reins ; in the yacht she handles the tiller. She whistles as she walks along the pier, and hitches up her clothes as if she were a sailor. At a dance in the assembly rooms at night she evidently finds the opposite sex so insipid that she seizes upon the first girl she comes across, and whirls her around the room. The ordinary, well-behaved and courteous man finds the "female masher" the most difficult person to contend with, for when she is rude — as she very frequently is — there is necessarily no reply. She can insult and injure without any chance of a "setting down" from any one, unless he be old enough to be her father. 

Such a rebuff one of these impudent minxes received in my hearing the other day at a seaside railway station. A female masher of a pronounced type, after swaggering about a railway station, walking like a dragon, and flourishing a stick instead of a parasol, was anxious to enter a train from which an elderly gentleman was handing his gray-haired wife with her innumerable impediments. The process was too tedious for Miss Masher, who observed far too audibly to her companion, “Well, I suppose when these people have got out we shall be allowed to get in.” There was a malicious sneer in the delivery of this sarcasm which would have frightened a younger man. But the old gentleman was equal to the occasion. “My dear young lady,” said he, “a little patience will do you no harm. In fact, if you practice patience it is possible that some day you may get a husband, though I should venture to consider that it was no desirable event.” Then taking off his hat, he retired with his wife and her parcels. But “Miss Masher” was far too pachydermatous even so much as to notice or appreciate the rebuff. 

She entered the carriage in which I happened to be sitting, and proceeded as follows : She first took up the newspapers which happened to be there and flung them into another seat, occupying, why I cannot conceive, the seat opposite to me.  “I don't know what these papers are, or whose they are, and I don't care,” was her first remark, although as I was the only other occupant of the carriage, it would not have been difficult to solve that problem. The conversation she indulged in with her friend was the reverse of edifying, being a coarse mixture of slang and somewhat vulgar repartee. I am not naturally over-scrupulous or over-modest, but I was obliged to stare out of the window in order to pretend not to appreciate the brazen conduct that, had it been recognized and laughed at, would have been rewarded with a sneer or a scowl, for “Miss Masher,” although she takes enough liberties herself, never allows one. 

During the remainder of the journey my edifying companion employed herself by whistling popular airs and by ruching up her dress in order to pull up her stockings — an occupation harmless in itself, but scarcely in accordance with the decorum of a public conveyance. Now, I was curious to ascertain the habitat of this young lady. Who could she be?! To what class of society could she belong? She was evidently a lady born, if not a lady bred. She was no frequenter of the music halls, where such manners are applauded as something vastly witty. Judge of my surprise when she stopped at a railway station close to the abode of a popular nobleman, and was driven off in the private omnibus attached to the mansion. If, then, such young ladies set so unenviable an example, it is small wonder that the masherdom of society in its most pronounced form should be imitated by other girls and women equally arrogant and equally vain. “Miss Masher,” of Folkestone and Eastbourne, is reproduced in a still more masculine fashion at Margate and Yarmouth. – London Truth, 1883


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