I have recently acquired an original copy of a little book of manners written in 1884. The 4 1/2 x 6 inch handbook is packed full of etiquette for those seeking to improve their manners in the late 19th century. The book is entitled, “Don’t: A Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties More or Less Prevalent in Conduct and Speech”. The author’s psuedomymn is Censor, though a later publication tells his true name as Oliver Bell Bunce. ” The inside cover reads:
“I’ll view the manners of the town.”
Comedy of Errors
@ D. Appleton & Company, New York, 1884
Now in the public domain, I will be recording a few excerpts from this little book here for your entertainment and reading pleasure.
You and I both will be thankful that we no longer must confirm to these rules of ettiquette, although today’s society could stand to conform to a few “dont’s” such as which follows: Don’t let your g-string show above your jeans, don’t let small children watch TV commercials (for many reasons), don’t forget to take your hat off at appropriate times, don’t forget to ask a blessing on your meals, don’t forget to have manners while driving, and girls, why do you have to be the aggressor in a relationship – don’t! you are worth being wooed.
And now, to the don’ts of the 19th century. Please feel free to post your comments.
Here are a few vignettes from the book:
In the Drawing-Room –In Public –
In Speech –
In General –
Affectionately addressed to Womankind –