Thursday, October 19, 2017

Applauding Royal Court Etiquette

An Italian coloratura soprano of great international fame, Madame Tetrazzini's voice was remarkable for its phenomenal flexibility, thrust, steadiness and thrilling tone. She enjoyed a highly successful operatic and concert career in the U.S and Europe, from the late Victorian Era to the 1920s.


In her last year of residence in America, Madame Tetrazzini, has added much to her English speaking attainments and she now acquits herself delightfully in general conversations. She is persistent in using English words and when these fail her, her dramatic art is brought into use and she acts out the word. As we pulled into the station on the way to Los Angeles the bell on the engine clanged monotonously and she was reminded that in Italy the bells hang in church towers, "We have no bells on our trains there,” she said, "but only" and then the word "whistle," not coming readily to her tongue, she puckered up her lips and emitted a low, melodious imitation of a train whistle. 

Describing her Continental experience last summer the diva mentioned her singing at the opera during the coronation ceremonies in London, She described the wonderful floral decorations of the theater itself and then the astounding display of jewels as they appeared upon English royalty and the men and women representing the foreign courts during that remarkable pageant. The jewelled headresses of the Indian princes, Maharajas and other notables received vivid description from the singer and then she alluded laughingly to the incident of her own appearance when despite Court decorum and in defiance of rules of etiquette, the King and Queen clapped their hands enthusiastically and brought forth a demonstration of applause otherwise unheard of in that performance. Madame Tetrazzini explained that applause on such grand occasions is not customary and occurs only when led by the members of the royal family, so that her ovation earned an extra fame for her. “They said I had a wonderful claque,” said she, "with the King of England to lead it.” – Los Angeles Herald, 1912


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

White House Etiquette and Tone

Hamilton Jordan, President Carter’s “right hand man.” – “The White House yesterday issued a 33-page white paper contradicting a published account of a Jan. 27 barroom occurrence in which presidential aide Hamilton Jordan was slapped by a young woman. The account in Sunday's Washington Post Magazine asserted that Jordan was struck after spitting his drink down the woman's blouse. "I did not say or do anything that night to any woman that was improper, and I categorically deny that I spat my drink on anyone. I did have an unpleasant encounter with a woman at the bar, but it was not precipitated by me of anything that I had done," Jordan said in a statement released by the White House...” – Portion of a Washington Post article, February 21,1978

A Timely Historical Etiquette Post:

“Didn’t You Know, My Dears?” 


WASHINGTON - “You won't find it listed in the U.S. Constitution or in the transition team’s notebook, but one of the highest duties of a new President apparently is to uphold, enhance and adorn the social life of Washington. I am quite sure Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and all the President’s men scarcely gave that a thought before moving into the White House. Now they are having to give it more time and attention than they would like. Believe me, it is a no-win proposition. I say that because of the latest federal flap over the tavern tribulations of Hamilton Jordan, the President's prominent non-chief of staff and man about town. But Jordan is only a recurring cross the Carters have to bear. 


There have been others and there will be more. For reasons rooted in local tradition, members of the First Family and the White House staff are supposed to be models of decorum and Emily Post etiquette. They are expected to be versed in the social graces and protocol; to remember what to do with a fork and what not to do with a finger bowl; to know when it is all right to go tieless and shoeless; that it is never alright to get pickled in public. This city is as stuffy as any other in America. It has its own ‘standards’ of acceptable conduct, born of a peculiar mixture of politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, lobbyists and the press, all of whom coexist in a useful but fragile social relationship that is subject to shattering every four years. It does not react warmly to those who buck the system or offend its practitioners. 

Politically speaking, the Carter crowd already has discovered that Washington does not adjust easily to those who come in as ‘outsiders’ and want to stay that way. As even Jordan admits, the Carter administration wasted a lot of valuable momentum its first year because it thought it was unnecessary to first learn how the rest of political Washington works. Socially speaking, the same is true. In its own way, Washington is as provincial as Plains, Ga., although I doubt any of its social lions or lionesses would admit it. Lusting in one’s heart or in private is fine, even for a ranking White House official, but heavens, not in a public place like Sarsfield’s singles’ bar or at a posh Barbara Walters dinner party. The trouble is that Washington expects, even wants, those who live and work in the White House to be like the preacher’s family in a small town: above reproach. The White House is the sun of the local solar system. Everything here revolves around it, socially as well as governmentally. It sets the climate in which Washington lives. But expecting local folk to be always happy with the social tone set by the White House, is as futile as expecting people to be happy about the weather. 

During the Eisenhower years, when I first came here, nobody accused administration officials of risqué behavior. But, my, how they grumbled about the stodginess of the White House social scene. Dullsville was replaced by Camelot when the Kennedys came in. Washington was entranced, intrigued and enlivened by the social style of the young President and his Jacqueline. The Johnsons set a more down-home and boisterous pace, but it was still judged to be within the Washington tradition. The Nixons tried hard but it came off as too much pretension, while the Fords’ social example was rated as sort of a Grand Rapids version of the LBJ era. The social tone being set by the Carters is more permissive, more do-your-own-thing, than Washington society would like. And that goes equally for Amy reading a book at a State Dinner or boozy bar-hopping by Jordan, Jody Powell and top presidential assistants. 

Mr. Carter came to town determined to govern more openly than any president before him. His Cabinet members and high appointees were to have no conflicts of interest, no hidden motives, no cozy deals out of public view. His style of governing was going to be like living in Macy’s window. But Washington, and perhaps a good part of the country, would prefer it if the Carter people would behave in public as though they were living in Macy’s window. Perhaps Mr. Carter is of a mind to insist on that, if only to protect himself from the political embarrassment of social misbehavior. It is not terribly uplifting for the country when the President’s White House legal counsel has to be sent out, on government time, to take a sworn statement from a bartender that the President’s highest assistant did ‘no spitting, no touching’ during an altercation with a young woman at the bar.” – Editorial in The Desert Sun, 1978


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

19th C. Japanese Etiquette

Table etiquette has elaborate rules, which high-bred ladies and gentlemen must strictly follow. A maid-servant always waits, kneeling, at a short distance, before a clean pan of boiled rice, with lacquered tray, on which she receives and delivers the bowls for replenishing them. Fragrant green tea is always used at the end of a meal, but sugar and cream never.

The Japanese Home:
The Dwellings and the Domestic Life of the Quaint People

If a man of taste should enter a Japanese parlor he would not fail to be surprised at the display of marvelous and exquisite taste. Yet I have often heard the sayings of foreigners that "the Japanese house has no furniture and is absolutely cheerless and empty." This is quite wrong. I must say that they have no taste of the Japanese art, for the men of taste are agreed in saying that the art of decoration in Japan is excellent. If anyone has some taste in this art, he will perceive that the hanging picture on the toko wall, elaborate arrangement of flowers, pictures on the framed partitions and all decoration, however trifling, reveal infinite taste.

The tastes of the Western people differ so much from ours that the decoration in the chambers seems almost childish to the Japanese eyes. The gorgeous display of colors in their rooms would please our children to look at. Drawingrooms piled up from corner to corner with toys, shells stones, dishes, spoons and different novel things always remind us of our curio-shops, a bunch of flowers is stuck in a vase without form and without order. The pictures in the rooms hang perpetually, though the face of nature and feeling of man chance from time to time. All these sights which we are accustomed to see in the European house excite in us nothing but wonder. Yet this is the taste of the Western people; we have no right to criticize it.

In Japan, the family never gathers around one table as the European or other Asiatic peoples do, but each person has his or her own separate small table, a foot square and a foot high, and always highly decorated. When they take their meals they kneel upon the mat, each taking his table before him. The little lacquered table generally contains a small porcelain bowl, heaped up with deliciously cooked rice, and several lacquered wooden bowls containing soup or meat, and numbers of little porcelain plates with fish, radishes and the like. The way of cooking, of course, is entirely different from the European. 

Two pretty chopsticks, made of lacquered bamboo or wood, silver or ivory, are used, instead of knife, fork and spoon, and all people use them with great skill. All foods are prepared in the kitchen so as to avoid any trouble to use knife and fork. Soup is to be drunk from the bowl by carrying it to the mouth by hand, in the same way as people drink tea or coffee. Table etiquette has elaborate rules, which high-bred ladies and gentlemen must strictly follow. A maid-servant always waits, kneeling, at a short distance, before a clean pan of boiled rice, with lacquered tray, on which she receives and delivers the bowls for replenishing them. Fragrant green tea is always used at the end of a meal, but sugar and cream never. — Harper's Bazar, 1895


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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Second Class Rail Etiquette


1840’s depictions of Third, Second and First Class Railroad car in Great Britain – It was only in the 1840s that a law was passed to ensure third-class carriages were covered. These drawings of 1st, 2nd and 3rd class railroad cars appeared in the Illustrated London News in 1847 – from UK.gov
  

Travel in Second-Class Cars

Editors Press: —As we have much pride in the good name that the young and growing State of California should bear, I will endeavor to point out one step that we, as well as the older States are taking, which it would seem a little thought might show unprofitable and ungenerous, if not inhuman, wicked and immoral in its tendency. I refer to second-class railroad travel. Most of the railroads have provided themselves with a plain, cheap car for each passenger train, to which they invite the emigrant, the common laborer, and all who may feel, from necessity or otherwise, obliged or inclined to economize. That is all well. Now we would invite the readers attention to the daily picture presented in this second-class car. 


The outside appearance is quite plain, needing no other sign to indicate to the traveler which one in the train it is. As you enter you find plain seats, may be cushioned, and may be plain boards, with equally cheap finish of inside work generally. That too, is all well. Seated in this plain car may be seen men of all nationalities, and possibly among them as pure hearts as can be found among the passengers of the ears before or behind them. We also find lady-like looking young women and quite frequently the mother with her precious charge of children, with a heart yearning for good influences to aid her feeble hands in teaching sobriety, good language, and decorum. But the opposite is true of the picture which this car presents. It is made the receptacle of all the bold drinking, profane language, and unmitigated old pipes, and cigars , struggling over each other for mastery in the amount of smoke they may be able to get into a small coach. To add further to the imposition on the better portion of the inmates of the befogged car, many passengers from first-class coaches feel an apparent pride in retiring to a second-class car to indulge in all those ungentlemanly and filthy habits.

We believe this state of things is unprofitable to railroad companies, as it is certainly unpleasant to many who travel in such cars. It drives many of the better class of poor from these thoroughfares and we believe its reformation would be attended with results similar to those which were noticed in the reform of the postal system. When the Government charged twenty-five cents for letters the poor could send but few, making very limited interchange of thought, and not paying mail expenses. But when the postage was reduced to three cents, a revenue sprang up. All can now afford the gratification of a correspondence. Now suppose the same watchfulness by the conductors in the second-class car, as in the first, in regard to etiquette. The mighty people, the masses, would travel; gaining information and paying back in cash. All railroad men who become instrumental in abating the nuisance complained of, and aiding the poor, but highminded, to travel in your plain but respectable second-class cars. –Way Side, 1871



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

Etiquette for Dog Owners

A reminder to the dog owner who doesn't think enough of his pet to train it properly, that he’d better keep the little chap on his own premises (or car, as the case maybe) until he can teach him sidewalk decorum.

Dog Petiquette

In Denver, Colorado, a grocer, who knows both dogs and human beings, installed hitching posts for dogs outside his store. He put leashes on the posts long enough so the dogs were comfortably tethered, but short enough so they couldn't get near enough to each other to scrap. And he put locks on the leashes, so that fine breeds, as well as mutts, would be safe while their owners shopped. That grocer must have pleased many citizens who owned dogs and a great many more who didn’t. For however much we love our dogs, they don't belong in grocery stores, nuzzling the fruits and vegetables and shedding hair indiscriminately, however unintentionally. 

In New York, and unfortunately in only a very few other cities, street signs warn strollers, “Curb Your Dog.” It is a reminder to the owner who doesn't think enough of his pet to train it properly that he’d better keep the little chap on his own premises until he can teach him sidewalk decorum. A cleaner, pleasanter community might result locally if such hints were to be taken seriously here. And if organizations in putting our best foot forward both for the benefit of local folk and for visitors among us, don’t push the idea as a good one, we'd be surprised. – Sausalito News, 1941


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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Etiquette and Pre-Schoolers

Little children have no appreciation of social usage. Indeed they have no use for it whatever, as yet they have a long way to go into their social development, before parents can expect them to defer to another child simply because he happens to be a guest. Lessons in fair dealings come first; etiquette can wait until the child is ready for it.

Your Child
By Jane Coward

When little Judy, who was visiting, decided that she wanted the toy with which three-year-old Allen was playing. Allen’s mother called him aside and whispered that he was the host and must let his guest have whatever she wanted. Just as any other normal youngster would have done under the circumstances, Allen refused. Then, after some pleading on mother's part, he reluctantly handed his toy over to his little friend, but promptly slapped her. It so happens that the toy in question was Allen’s favorite. But even if it weren’t a favorite plaything, a toy always seems more desirable to a youngster when another covets it. This always makes him feel proud of his ownership. And it won’t do any good to criticize the sudden change by saying, “You never cared for the toy before!” He cares for it now, and that will be enough to make him feel and behave with possessiveness where it is concerned. 

At no time should parents insist upon drawing room decorum for pre-school-age youngsters toward their little guests. Little children have no appreciation of social usage. Indeed they have no use for it whatever, as yet they have a long way to go into their social development, before parents can expect them to defer to another child simply because he happens to be a guest. First, they must learn to get along with little people. For this they have to learn respect for property, to take turns, to share things. Disagreements like the one described above between Allen and Judy are bound to arise wherever youngsters meet, whether at the playground, in nursery school or at each other’s homes. And the person in charge must be prepared to deal with them on a basis of equality. Judy, for example, might have been urged to offer a toy to Allen in exchange for the one which he was using. No matter that he was her host. It takes years for children to learn give and take, and training has to be pursued diligently as opportunities arise. Lessons in fair dealings come first; etiquette can wait until the child is ready for it. – Madera Tribune, 1942


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

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