Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Sound So Cultured When I Call Myself a "Collector"

Copyright 1884
How many of a certain item do you have to own before you can call yourself a collector?  I am going to say two and I am therefore a collector of etiquette books!  Allow me to explain...

Yes that says illustrated!!
Back in the summer of 2005 I was home from college to plan my mom's wedding.  We decided to head out to the beach for the day and on our way out stopped in the little town of Bodega (made famous by the movie The Birds).  We ended up in an antique store and I found my way to the books.  Shocking right!  A book of etiquette jumped out at me and I knew I had to have it.  Now you may be asking yourself how I remember the exact year that I found this little gem...well I remember because as I said it was when my mom was engaged and when we got home I read to her all the improper things she had been doing with her fiance...

Position of an Engaged Woman
While the engaged woman is not to cut herself off from society entirely, yet she must remember that she has chosen her future husband, and should not encourage undue attention from others.  She is especially to avoid all flirtations.  Her mind should be turned to the future responsibilities which she is about to assume, and taken off the transient participation in social affairs.

Relations of an Engaged Couple
A young man has no right to appear in public with other ladies while his future bride remains at home. He is, after engagement, her legitimate escort.  She should accept no other escort when he is at liberty to attend her.  Neither should be too demonstrative of their affection before marriage.
Page 196

I'm not even going to mention that it was her second marriage.  Gasp!!

Jump forward to present time...I was, again, at an antique store with my husband and in-laws and found....
Copyright 1951

She has a book, I had to add it
Keeping along the same theme, allow me to enlighten you a bit more...

Second Marriages
When a divorcee remarries-unless the divorce is known to have been not at all of her making-the less said about it, the better; the general idea being that since she has once failed at marriage, time is needed to prove whether or not this marriage will be a good one.
Page 77

I mean really mother, you should have known better!

What is my fascination with etiquette books?  They bring about laughter and disgust and anger and amusement.  I love that I can read some things and I am able to laugh about them now.

 I'm off to read about telephone courtesy.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

How times have changed, right? Now, modernists are talking about marriage being an out-dated concept.

I believe if society should ever out-grow marriage and courtesy, then I might consider being a mountain man! LOL. Thanks for dropping by VR's blog and leaving such a nice comment about my book, THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS. Roland

Anonymous said...

If anything, these antiquated etiquette books are hilarious...and make me glad I'm not living in those days. I'd be the example of extreme faux pas.

nat @book, line, and sinker said...

i love these books but am relieved i didn't live back in the day! i can barely remember to send thank you notes after christmas let alone mind my manners about marriage. lol.

i really wasn't poaching when i wrote my post about collecting--i have been offline for a week, not visiting or commenting. i guess great minds think alike as far as this topic goes! :)