Manners by Emily Post

OK, now I’m getting depressed. If you remember, I wrote just a short time ago about whether or not it was allowable to congratulate the bride or whether you should say best wishes. Most of the younger people in my office had never heard of such a rule of etiquette. At the end of that column I queried “What would Emily Post say?”

Now I find that all of those that didn’t know about the best wishes rule have no IDEA who Emily Post was. I was frankly shocked. I had grown up reading about and being schooled by Emily Post’s advice. Emily Post was born in 1873 and became an author who published a few works of fiction before she published the book that would rocket her into etiquitte fame. The name of the book is “Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage” . This book was intended to help the general population know how to properly conduct themselves in almost any social situation, including, of course, weddings.

Emily Post became so in demand for advice that she even hosted a popular radio show and wrote a newspaper column for those with social dilemmas that they could not solve alone. Her book remained wildly popular and in 1945 it was reported that USO clubs worldwide reported as many as 16,000 requests a week for “Etiquette”. Only the Rand McNally Atlas was more requested.

I’m not sure when I became aware of Emily Post’s etiquette, for she died the year I was born, 1960. I believe however that perhaps her etiquette was so timeless that even 40 years later her rules still made sense to people trying to do the right thing.

Emily Post was a powerful and humorous woman. Her history lives on at the Emily Post Institute, which specializes in, of course, etiquitte. Her grand daughter-in-law, Peggy Post, writes an etiquitte column for Good Housekeeping, among other magazines. Other family members also work at the institute writing about manners and giving lectures to businesses and organizations.

So, that’s who Emily Post was. From now on, before I mention anyone in this column I’m going to ask my 17 year old daughter if she has heard of them.

Best Wishes, Barbara