I am not quite sure how the modern young woman just starting out in life, or anyone for that matter, can get by without Vogue’s Book of Etiquette, copywrite 1948; it certainly came in use to my daughter recently.
Full of pertinent advice, the book features whole sections on topics such as: A Girl on her own, Entertaining without a maid, Debutantes, and (of course) Being invited to the White House. More mundane subjects such as introductions, dressing, table manners, and home décor are also covered.
A few of my favorites:
Never Dine Alone with a Married Man, unless his wife is your great friend; pg. 39 (hmmmm….)
[The rule of not walking arm in arm with a man] is no longer observed by less conservative women, but no woman should unhesitatingly take the arm of a casual acquaintance, particularly if he is a foreigner, for no reason other than that it is a pleasant way to walk; pg. 36
Dear (Name): I am very sorry not to be able to send at once the $375 I owe you. I’ve gotten in a bit of a jam at the moment, and I won’t be able to do very much about it for another month or six weeks. By that time, everything ought to be in fine shape, and I expect it should be all paid up three months from now. I enjoyed our game so much. My only regret is that I have had to bother you with these details. Sincerely, (Name); Pg. 87
So how did this help my daughter? Well, we were discussing whether or not she had six months or a year to get out thank you notes for her wedding gifts. Answer: Three Weeks! Don’t believe me? See page 225.
The Vogue Book of Etiquette, by Millicent Fenwick, Published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 1948. If you can get your hands on a copy, it actually does have some pretty useful advice...even for today!