December 5, 2018

Children & Manners
Circa 1951
(part 2)

Marlene recently found an obscure comb-bound book from 1951 titled, Your Household Guide. It was originally given out by the Etna Grange No. 387, Ithaca, New York

The book is full of useful tips and information,  most of which are outdated. For example...

"When storing linens, leave them unstarched as the starch rots them."


"Good Cheap Liniment: Break end of one egg open. Put the egg in a glass bottle. Fill the shell with turpentine. Also fill it with vinegar. Put both in bottle with egg and shake well. It is ready for use."

Perhaps in a future blog post, I will share more of these historically curious bits of household advice. But for now I want to focus on the CHILDREN'S SECTION, which begins with several manners that I assume were considered good and appropriate for 1951. Here they are...

1.  Always greet the members of your family when you enter and always bid them goodbye when you leave.

2.  Always rise to a standing position when visitors enter, and greet them after your elders.

3.  Never address a visitor until he has started the conversation unless he is a person of your own age or younger.

4.  Never interrupt a conversation. Wait until the party talking has finished.

5.  Always rise when your visitor or your elders stand.

6.  Never let your mother or your father bring you a chair or get one for themselves. Wait on them instead of being waited on.

7.  If you leave or cross the room you should say "Excuse me."

8.  If a visitor should say, "I am glad to have seen you," you should say, "Thank you."

9.  Never run up or down the stairs or across the room.

10.  Talk in a low, even voice. It denotes refinement.

11.  Always give way to the younger child. It is your duty to look after them instead of fretting them.

12.  Never retire without bidding the members of your family good night.

Follow these suggestions and you will assist in making the members of your family happy as well as in benefitting them in many other ways.

I was born in 1958. I don't recall ever being taught manners like these by my parents. I well remember being taught certain table manners, and some of the above manners were naturally assimilated, but not specifically taught.

My mother did, however, have an Emily Post book on etiquette in the bookcase, and I remember looking through it as a youngster.

I think it's safe to say that here in 2018, basic good manners are still taught to young children by their parents. The most obvious example being to say "Thank you" when given something. But advanced manner teaching is rarely ever taught in a deliberate way.

This lack of manners appears to be sorely lacking in our culture these days. 

Personally, I think my own manners can be improved on by more intentionally following the manners advice in the 1951 Grange book. 

I'm wondering.... 

Do you remember being taught manners like those above as a child? 

Do you have a book of etiquette in your home?


  1. Herrick - Other than their Bible stories, my children all read Bob Bennett's Book of Virtues. Not sure if that counts as a "book of etiquette" per se but they comment today that it was useful. Which reminds me: it is such a blessing to my wife and I when they come back and say "thanks" for all those life lessons.

    1. Elizabeth L. Johnson said, I have William Bennett's books of virtue and find it to be a book of morals and wonderful for teaching others. I even purchase copies for my children, to use with their children.

  2. Herrick, I was born in 1949. I don't remember being taught manners but I just knew that certain things were not okay. To this day, someone who has a title in my life (a doctor or a pastor or someone in leadership) I cannot call by their first name. Our pastor is very relaxed and I know him very well but cannot call him "Joe." I know that came from my upbringing. I never ever talked back to my parents or called them by their first names. We didn't "teach" manners either, except as things came up. Our daughter is respectful and has actually said "thank you" to us for making her tow the line. Wonder how our granddaughter is going to be taught? Seems that children now days are buddied by parents. hmmmmm

  3. Born in 1951, I was raised a Catholic. The nuns taught me manners. When I did not behave, it was a crack over the knuckles with a pointer or ruler,knuckle sandwich to the head, pulling the hair, or twisting of your ears. I became very mannerish. lol

  4. Judith Martin a.k.a. Miss Manners has several good books on manners that I enjoyed reading when I was in my late teens and early 20's. Here is some of her wit:

    Emily Post was another book I had, but It was pretty dry.

  5. Elizabeth L. Johnson said, My mother purposefully taught us children our manners. Afterward I was made fun of when I answered the phone formally, and used surnames for my elders. My husband who was raised by a mostly absent mom, and a mostly absent father was taught no manners. When I endeavored to teach our children manners to their elders, I was made fun of. Now our grandchildren are not taught the line of respect toward elders; everybody's on a first-name basis. I do try to make an influence, however, every time I visit. Our society suffers stupendously more than we realize because of the lack of mannerly respect. Parents are afraid of their children, and afraid of taking responsibility for them. They pay so much attention to the career/job, they neglect the home and children.

  6. Thanks again everyone for these comments. I really enjoy the feedback.