Lovely Lady: Emily Post

Hello Lovelies, this is my 50th post! Thank you so much to all of my readers, I appreciate each and every one of you dearly! xoxo, Lolo

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.

If you have that awareness, you have good manners,

no matter what fork you use.”

~ Emily Post

Emily Price was born on either October 3 or 30, 1873 in Baltimore, Maryland to architect Bruce Price and Josephine Price. She was the only child of her wealthy family and grew up in an era of servants and chaperones. Emily was educated at home before attending a finishing school in New York, New York. She traveled to Canada, France, and Italy with her father while accompanying him on visits of buildings of his design. In 1892, she married a banker, Edwin Main Post, and they had two sons together.

Emily and Edwin’s marriage began to crumble. In 1905, his cheating eventually lead to a divorce. Ms. Post requested no money from him because he lost almost everything in a stock market crash. Emily began writing short stories that were published in popular fiction magazines of the time in order to supplement her small income and support herself and her two sons. She also wrote several novels, the first being, The Flight of a Moth.

Emily was encouraged by an editor at the Funk and Wagnalls publishing company to write a book on etiquette because she came from a priviliged family and had already proven herself as a successful writer. Her first book, Etiquette—The Blue Book of Social Usage, was published in 1922 and instantly became a best-seller. This success brought her fame and fortune.

In her book, Ms. Post’s portrayed that good manners begin with consideration for the feelings of others. These etiquette techniques include good form in speech, knowledge of proper social graces, and charm. Her main idea is that the best way to do almost anything is the way that pleases the greatest number of people and offends the fewest. After the book’s publication, readers began sending her questions about topics and situations that were not addressed in her book and thus, Emily added newer versions.

Etiquette was originally written for the nouveau riche who wanted to live, entertain, and speak like the “old-money” society members. The focus of later versions of the book, however, was the character she referred to as “Mrs. Three-In-One,” a woman who acted as cook, waitress, and hostess at dinner parties. Emily also started a column of questions and answers that appeared in 150 newspapers and received as many as twenty-six thousand letters a year. In the 1930s she appeared three times a week on her own radio program, which continued for eight years.

Although Post’s advice on social behavior changed over the years, she refused to give up the idea of the chaperone. She also insisted that it was improper for a woman to visit a man alone in his apartment or to go with him on overnight automobile trips. Her “Blue Book,” which was the American standard of etiquette for years, was reported to be second only to the Bible as the book most often stolen from libraries.

Emily Post maintained her social position, traveled in Europe, and always spent the summer months away from New York City. She wrote other books besides her writings on etiquette, including: The Emily Post Cook Book in 1951, The Personality of a House in 1930, and Children Are People in 1940.  Her inspiration for Children Are People came from the time she spent with her grandson. In 1946 she formed the Emily Post Institute, headed by her son Edwin, to study the problems of gracious living.

Emily Post remained active throughout her life. She awoke early but remained in bed to devote time to letters and her daily column. She always made her first appearance of the day at lunch, which was served promptly at one o’clock. Emily died in her New York apartment on September 25, 1960, at the age of eighty-six as the American expert on etiquette.

I have the 17th Edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette and Peter Post’s Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why and I cannot tell you how many times I have referred to them. From what to wear to the opera to the proper setting of a formal table, these books really come in handy. Two of my favorite tips are that when seated at a table, your napkin should be placed on your lap in the first 7 seconds of sitting, and, if a woman is wearing a hat as an integral part of her outfit, it is appropriate to wear it indoors. As I am very interested in etiquette traditions, I understand that not all people share my beliefs. As Emily says, etiquette is about making other people comfortable so I only hold myself to her standards and never expect others to. I just happen to think etiquette is fascinating.

The Emily Post Institute just came out with an 18th edition this month and I am anxious to read what has changed in the past 7 years. Her books are available on her website and there are also many fun tips to explore there as well.

“A little praise is not only merest justice

but is beyond the purse of no one.”

~ Emily Post

Information gathered from: and
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