Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Etiquette and Empress “Sisi”

Chafing and frustrated at the strict regimen, etiquette and ceremony of Habsburg royal life, Empress Elizabeth, or “Sisi,” routinely defied protocol. Her mother-in-law, disapproving of Elizabeth, named her first child after herself and insisted on taking control of the child. In fact, her mother in-law demanded she give up control and allow her to rear all of Elizabeth’s and Franz Joseph I’s children. Elizabeth holds the record as the longest reigning Austrian Empress. For 44 years, Elizabeth championed independence and individualism. Elizabeth was assassinated when visiting Geneva, by an Italian anarchist. Upon death, Elizabeth became a world-renowned icon.


We are not, after all, to be permitted to catch a glimpse of the fair Empress of Austria, though she did pass through Paris a few days ago. About a thousand people went to the railway station to see her come in, but the lovely Elizabeth, at the last moment, quickly changed her destination and came into Paris by another route, thus disappointing the eager crowd of sightseers. She is well worth looking at, is this fairest of Royal ladies, though she is 38 years of age and a possible grandmother besides. 


I saw her at Vienna ten years ago; she then looked about 20, slender as a reed and graceful as a deer, with the lovliest dark eyes in the world, and such a profusion of dark silky hair that it fell, coil upon coil, from under her coquettish little hat, only restrained by the meshes of a fine silk, hair net. Her style and elegance were unsurpassable, far exceeding, to my mind, the more artificial graces of Empress Eugenie. She dresses very simply now, it is said, usually in black, gray, or lilac, never having worn gay colors since the death of her eldest daughter, several years ago. 

Her manners are marvelously sweet and winning, and she is as popular as she is beautiful. Truth compels me to state that it is currently reported that she henpecks her Imperial spouse unmercifully, and that he, like a wise man, submits quietly to her dominion. When she first arrived at the Imperial Court, she gave immense offense to her haughty mother-in, law, the Archduchess Sophia of evil memory, by insisting upon going out walking (think of profaning the sacred feet of the Empress of Austria by contact with the vulgar earth!) and carrying an umbrella, which last is, we believe a fatal sin against Royal etiquette.  She inherits the simplicity of her manners from her father, the Archduke Maximilian Luitpold, of Bavaria. This gentleman always travels very quietly, and with no more state or form than any ordinary private gentleman. 

He was recently on his way from Munich to Vienna to visit his daughter. In the same compartment in the train with himself, was a talkative little Austrian tradesman, who soon got into a conversation with his quiet-looking companion After talking over matters and things for some time, and getting ample information about his business, etc... he asked: “And, pray sir where are you going?” “To Vienna.” “On business?” “No, to visit my daughter who is married to an Austrian.” “Is your son in law in a good business?” “Well— tolerably good— but troublesome at times.” “What is he?” “The Emperor.” At his answer, the poor little man became covered with confusion, nor could all the laughing protestations of the good-natured Archduke avail to reassure him and he darted out of the carriage at the very next stopping-place. – Paris Letter to the Philadelphia Telegraph, 1875


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

Monday, April 23, 2018

Etiquette Epitomized for Women

Woman's redingote, c. 1790. Silk and cotton satin and plain weave. Los Angeles County Museum of Art

1905 in “Winter Women’s World”

A New Walk 

“A new figure and a new poise have been called into existence by the winter fashions. A slow, languorous movement of the limbs is therefore cultivated, as being more conducive to grace when wearing the long redingote coat and the newly introduced ‘Princess Styles.’ The new walk is just a little suggestive of the ‘Gibson Girl,’ but in a modified form. 

“The figure is held upright at the shoulders, with the slightest forward bend at the waist, the head is erect, the chin in, and the legs swing from the hips. The practice of sleeping on the back or one side is fatal to the new poise. If the woman of fashion would look tall and stately she must sleep face downwards, with a small pillow tightly wedged under her chin in order to avoid suffocation.”

Etiquette Epitomized

A written reply to the hostess is required to a written invitation to a dinner luncheon or card party.

The first invitation from a new acquaintance should always, where it is possible, be accepted.

When rising from the table at a dinner, luncheon, etc., It is not necessary to replace one’s chair.

At the leave-taking, it is permissible, and an act of friendship and courtesy, to shake hands with your hostess. – Los Angeles Herald, 1905


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

13 Victorian Etiquette Tips for Men

Did you know that flowers and candy comprise the gifts which, according to etiquette, a young woman may receive from a man friend? And that a gentleman alway sends his card with a gift?

Thirteen Points of Etiquette

Thirteen questions gent by “Bashful,” concerning the correct deportment of a young man in his relations with young women, are answered in the following: 
  1. It is not the correct thing for a young man to call upon a girl unless he has first received her permission to do so. 
  2. If a young man desires to make the acquaintance of a girl whom he has never met, let him ask some friend of hers for an introduction, or obtain a letter of introduction to the young lady. 
  3. Two gentlemen should never try to “sit each other out” when calling upon the same young woman. The caller who arrived first, ought to leave first. 
  4. When making a call, the young man should leave his umbrella, overcoat and rubbers in the hall, also his hat and cane. A formal call should not be of more than half an hour's length. 
  5. If a man is escorting two ladies, only one of them should take his arm, the other walking by her side. A gentleman does not offer his arm to the second lady unless there be some special reason, such as the bad condition of the sidewalk or feebleness on her part. 
  6. A man does not offer his arm when walking with a lady in the daytime unless it be on a crowded street or slippery walk. 
  7. Flowers and candy comprise the gifts which, according to etiquette, a young woman may receive from a man friend. A gentleman alway sends his card with a gift. 
  8. When a gentleman is introduced a second time to a lady whom he has met before, it is not necessary for the lady to mention the previous meeting. Gentlemen are expected to ask for introductions if they do not know the ladies who are without partners at a dance. 
  9. Gentlemen and ladies do not enter a room arm in arm. The lady enters in advance of the gentleman. 
  10. Gentlemen should always shake hands with other men when introduced, but a man should never offer to shake hands with a lady unless she indicates a desire to do so. 
  11. A gentleman lifts his hat to a lady acquaintance whom he meets on the street, and also to any lady whom the person walking with him happens to salute, but he does not look at the lady if she is not an acquaintance of his. 
  12. When a young man escorts a girl to her home, he goes with her to the door and leaves when she is admitted, unless she invites him to come in. 
  13. If a young man wishes to invite a girl whom he has met only a few times to go with him to an entertainment he had better send her a written invitation by mail or ask permission to call, and then when he calls, invite her. It would be correct to ask for the young lady whom you wished to see, if some member of her family whom you did not know came to the door to admit you. – Marin Journal, 1895

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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Global Umbrella Etiquette of Old

“It is a sign of low-breeding to fidget with the hat, cane or parasol during a call. They are introduced merely as signs that the caller is in walking dress, and are not intended, the hat to be whirled round the top of the cane, the cane to be employed in tracing out the pattern of the carpet, or the parasol to be tapped on the teeth, or worse still, sucked.”


Umbrella Etiquette Unique to China, Japan, Turkey, India and the U.S.

In China, ladies were attended by servants who held umbrellas over their heads. The Chinese and Japanese introduced both the umbrella and parasol into their decorative work and athletic sports. And although it may have been raining, no Japanese person was allowed to put up an umbrella while her Majesty was passing by.

In India, the umbrella was the emblem of royalty, the sign of a Rajah. So natives generally folded their umbrellas before a Rajah, and not before anybody else, however great, it was not a part of the dress, but a protection from the rain or sun, a necessary appendage, just like the watch and chain. A coolie was not bound to fold his umbrella when a brigadier general rode past. But a menial generally closed down the umbrella upon seeing his master, whom he considered his “King.” But no Indian, however humble, ought to have folded up the umbrella, even before a magistrate, because he was neither the master of the humble passer-by, nor his superior officer, nor was he bound to salaam him. But if he did, no harm. In a word, natives generally folded the umbrella before a master or a superior officer, and not any other citizen, however great and this was no insult.

In western Turkey, it was necessary to close an umbrella on meeting people of high rank, and a European traveler who was passing one of the Palaces of the Sultan was nearly run through by the guard before he comprehended that he must put down the open umbrella he carried. Every one passing the actual residence of the Sultan lowered his umbrella as a salutation to “the brother of the sun and the moon.” 

And according to Frost’s By-Laws of 1869, an American lady, “When calling, keeps her parasol in her hand, and is not required to remove her glove. It is a sign of low-breeding to fidget with the hat, cane or parasol during a call. They are introduced merely as signs that the caller is in walking dress, and are not intended, the hat to be whirled round the top of the cane, the cane to be employed in tracing out the pattern of the carpet, or the parasol to be tapped on the teeth, or worse still, sucked. No lady will be guilty of the vulgarity of sucking the head of her parasol in the street. To eat anything, even confectionery, in the street, is a sign of low breeding.”


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

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sexual Harassment and Etiquette

With the new code of office etiquette, the stenographers also demand a minimum wage of $10.00 a week and the eliminating of swearing on the part of employers.

Stenographers Put Ban on Kiss
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 
Oath from Bosses

BOSTON, May 16.—Kissing is to be taboo in business offices and the gentle caress must be foresworn by employers in the future if the “clean up” campaign launched by the Union of Stenographers, Bookkeepers, Accountants and Office Employes of Greater Boston today has its desired results. 


With the new code of office etiquette, the stenographers also demand a minimum wage of $10.00 a week and the eliminating of swearing on the part of employers. They claim kissing is submitted to frequently, in order to hold positions and that many employers swear at their fair subordinates. – International News Service, 1916

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

Etiquette Over Royal Pretender

“Some people have declared that the Jacobites used to drink from the finger bowls themselves to ‘Charlie across the water,’ but this is a needless aspersion on the followers of James II...” – The focus of the Jacobitism political movement in Great Britain and Ireland. Jacobites and Charles Edward Stuart (1720 – 1788) aka “Bonnie Prince Charlie” aimed to restore him and his heirs to the thrones of England, Scotland, France and Ireland.


Royal Etiquette for Finger Bowls

During a visit of Royalty in a country house everybody rises when the Royal personage enters a room, but there is another custom which is perhaps little known to the outside world. That is a curious rule regarding finger bowls. 


At dinner parties where any members of the Royal family happen to be present, none of the other guests is provided with a finger bowl. The reason given for this practice is that it is a custom dating from the time of the pretender, when the Jacobites used to drink from them to “Charlie across the water.” – Los Angeles Herald, 1902

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

Etiquette and Tyranny

By invitation only? “Shall persons be excluded from society or be allowed to enter it on their own terms? Society might be so conducted as to make of it a charming and delightful recreation instead of tyrannical business, and those who see this clearly can do much toward making it so.” – Invitation to election for the Executive Board and Officers of the Society for 1895-96, etc... Florence Earle Coates was elected President of the Browning Society of Philadelphia that year. (Photo Public Domain)



The Tyranny of Etiquette

It is impossible to read even the least dogmatic books on etiquette without being oppressed with the conviction that a heavy and binding addition has been made to the code of morals in the bylaws which have to do with visiting cards, invitations, conventional phrases and other minor, but vigorous formulas. It has been reiterated by writers on those subjects that not a single rule of etiquette is arbitrary, but that all prove their reason in the very nature of things, and that those who disregard them simply show their own lack of insight and incapacity to appreciate genuine refinement. 


While this is all very well for society people pure and simple or those who have other definite and absorbing work in life compliance with all the thousand and one trifling points of etiquette is an utter impossibility. The question then becomes, shall such persons be excluded from society or be allowed to enter it on their own terms? Society might be so conducted as to make of it a charming and delightful recreation instead of tyrannical business, and those who see this clearly can do much toward making it so.—Philadelphia Press, 1895


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