Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Five best etiquette guides

Laura Claridge, author of Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners, named a five best list of books about etiquette for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior
by George Washington

Though often credited with writing this treatise on manners, the 16-year-old George Washington at best merely translated the rules compiled in 1595 by French Jesuits. A translation had already appeared in England long before the young Washington produced what may have been a school assignment, but in the folklore associated with our nation's first president, his name has been attached to the advice given in "Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior." In any event, the American document retains its interest as a window into the standards of behavior that Washington thought, early on, to set for himself and, by extension, for his nation. One of the rules would become increasingly relevant to the leader after he received his ivory (not wooden) dentures: "Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth Napkin Fork or Knife but if Others do it let it be done wt. a Pick Tooth."
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue