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This is a guide to help you study etiquette and manners. It will primarily concentrate on home etiquette—rules for behavior at table and when a guest—rather than business etiquette, Netiquette or etiquette across cultural boundaries, which are large enough for their own pathfinders! For the sake of brevity and focus, this pathfinder will also concentrate on the traditional etiquette of Europe and the United States; other cultures are likely to have different cultural norms. Some of the questions this pathfinder will help you answer include:
- Should I bring my hosts a gift of liquor when I’m a guest for the weekend?
- What do I say when someone ‘comes out’ to me?
- How quickly do I need to write that thank-you note to Auntie Dot?
- What was etiquette for ‘going Dutch’ on a date in the 1950’s?
And, of course…
- Which fork do I use?
If you would like to seek out books on etiquette at your local library, you can try looking under some of the following Library of Congress Subject Headings (these can usually be searched through the online card catalog at your library):
- Etiquette—United States
- United States—Social Life and Customs
- Europe—Social Life and Customs
The heading Etiquette can be subdivided geographically, so if you are looking for etiquette literature on other cultures, you can look under Etiquette—Japan or other geographic region. If your library uses the Dewey Decimal System rather than the Library of Congress system, you may find books on etiquette under:
- 640: Home economics &family living
- 642: Meals &table service
- 647: Management of public households
- 648: Housekeeping
- 649: Child rearing &home care of sick
Additionally, etiquette relating to specific regions may be found under that region in the 900s, and business etiquette under 506: Organizations &Management.
These are among the classics of contemporary etiquette writing. Continually updated, these are the Beowulfs of behavior and the Mahabharatas of manners:
Martin, Judith. Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior. New York: Warner Books, 1983.
Vanderbilt, Amy. Complete Book of Etiquette. New York: Doubleday, 1958.
Post, Emily and Peggy Post. Emily Post’s Etiquette. 16th ed. New York, NY : HarperCollins, 1997.
These guides cover the basics of etiquette for adults (although some of them include sections on manners for kids.)
The Advice Lady http://advicelady.com/answerpage.asp?category=Manners. Advice on manners from a non-professional. Read others’ questions and the Advice Lady’s answers, or ask her your own.
Etiquette from About.com http://entertaining.about.com/cs/etiquette/index.htm. A portal site leading to a variety of other etiquette resources online.
SoYouWanna Improve Your Table Manners? http://www.soyouwanna.com/site/syws/tablemanners/tablemanners.html. A brief tutorial on the basics of table manners.
Fox, Sue. Etiquette for Dummies. New York: Hungry Minds, Inc, 1999.
Greenleaf, Clinton T. A Gentleman’s Guide to Appearance. Holbrook, Massachusetts: Adams Media, 2000.
Mitchell, Mary. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Etiquette. Indianapolis, Indiana: Alpha Books, 2000.
Morgan, John. The Times Book of Modern Manners: Perfect Behavior in an Imperfect World. London: HarperCollins, 2000.
Paskoff, Sharon G. Easy Etiquette: Sample Thank-you Notes and Sympathy Cards. Memphis, Tennessee: Starr*Toof, 1999.
Emily Post, 1922. http://www.bartleby.com/95/index.html. The original text of Post’s Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home.
These books are intended for children and teenagers. They generally cover both the “how-tos” and the “whys” of table manners.
Rigby, Jill M. Manners of the Heart: Manners and Etiquette for Children. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Respectfully Yours, Inc. 1999.
Riley, Donna Paige. What is Etiquette, Anyway? A Book About Manners for Children (But Grownups Can Read it Too!). Stone Mountain, Georgia: D.P. Riley/Anod Press, 1997.
Shaughnessy, Diana. Let’s Talk About Good Manners. New York: PowerKids Press, 1997.
Steward, Harris B. Grungy George and Sloppy Sally: A How-Not-To Manners Book for Mature Children and Adults. New York: Vantage Press, 1993.
Thompson, Robin. Be the Best You Can Be: A Guide to Etiquette and Self-Improvement for Kids and Teens. Pekin, Illinois. Robin Thompson Charm School, 1999.
These are both etiquette books from the past and books about the etiqutte of the past.
Miss Abigail’s Time Warp Advice. http://www.missabigail.com. A potpourri of advice from the past century or so, presented in Q &A style.
Eldridge, Elizabeth. Co-ediquette: Poise and Popularity for Every Girl. New York: E.P. Dutton &Co. 1936.
Haupt, Enid Annenberg. The Seventeen Guide to Your Widening World. New York: MacMillan, 1965.
Nivelon, F. The Rudiments of Genteel Behavior. Oldwick, NJ: King’s Arms Press &Bindery, 1999. (Originally 1737.)
Washington, George. George Washington’s Rules of Civility: Complete with the Original French Text and New French-to-English Translations. John T. Phillips, trans. Leesburg, Virginia: Goose Creek Productions, 1999.
This pathfinder created by Abigail Leah Plumb