1886 VOL. IV.


For the year ending November 15, 1886.


Pg. 29-41


Transcribed by Deanna Adams Holm, 2001

[Note: With added assortment of advertisements from 1886 Gould's Bluebook of St. Louis ]






In compiling the following brief and necessarily incomplete manual, the object has been only to give concisely those leading rules of etiquette, which are universally accepted by good society, or especially adapted to the social conditions of St. Louis. No attempt has been made to enter into minute details, nor to exhaust the range of a code which has filled volumes, and the purpose of the compilers, will be fully accomplished, if their work shall meet the approval of the patrons of this work.


"Decorum," says a French writer, "is nothing less than the respect of onesself and others brought to bear upon every circumstance of life. In all relations, whether social or domestic, any thing approaching coarseness, undue familiarity or levity of conduct, is prolific of evil.

Bishop Beveridge says: "Never speak of a man's virtues before his face or his faults behind his back."




In introductions among ladies, it is the younger lady who is introduced to the elder, the spinster to the married lady. Ladies of the same age and  social standing are introduced to each other, but when a celebrity is present,  less distinguished persons are presented to her. The same rules hold with gentlemen, the gentleman however is always introduced to the lady. Hasty and unauthorized introductions should be avoided. On meeting after an introduction, it is the part of the lady to acknowledge the acquaintance by recognition. In Europe it is the gentleman who bows first on the street; in St. Louis it is the lady who enjoys this inconvenient privilege. Among intimate acquaintances it is immaterial which bows first.






The custom of shaking hands is gradually disappearing from society. A lady is not expected to shake hands with a gentleman upon introduction. A gentleman has no right to extend his hand first to a lady.

A lady is not expected to shake hands with a caller when he leaves.

Good friends shake hands without regard to rules.

At a social gathering avoid shaking hands with all whom you happen to meet; a polite bow of recognition is sufficient.





When making a call, a gentleman will carry his hat into the parlor in his hand. If his call is prolonged, he may place his hat on a table, but he should  not allow his hostess to attend to this.

When a caller enters, the hostess should rise and may offer him her hand if she wishes. When he leaves, she should accompany him to the door of the drawing room if, as is usual, there is no servant to open the door.

 Guests  whose age entitles them to special respect, should be accompanied to the front door.

A formal call should not exceed a quarter of an hour.

Guests who meet in the same drawing room may converse together without  introduction, but no future recognition is necessary.

Calls in return for invitations received should be made within eight days after the event. Part calls and dinner calls are properly made within three or four days.

If the hostess has a day, the call should be made on her first day after the reception.

First calls are void if not returned within a month.

Formal calls are made between 1 P.M. and 6: in the winter not after dark.

Ladies not receiving, should be "not at home;" the formula "begs to be  excused" is not polite.

A lady in calling, is given a seat beside the mistress of the house. Gentlemen callers find chairs for themselves.

When a lady has a day, a call on her should be made on her day if possible.

Married men who wish to be considered "in society" should call with their wives once or twice a year on their friends.

It is not polite to invite a lady to an entertainment at your house, if you have not called on her, an invitation cannot take the place of a visit, except in the case of a lady, whose age gives her privileges.

A lady leaves her husband's card with her own, her address should not be on her card, unless she is a widow.

A card should be left for each person called on, but not more than three cards at any one house.

Residents will call first on strangers. Strangers should send cards with their address to all acquaintances whose visits they desire. These cards may be sent by post.

All cards left personally, should be turned down either across the end or at the corner.

Cards left at receptions are never turned down.

A lady not in her own house does not rise on the departure of other visitors.

When making calls avoid anything either in conversation or action calculated to excite unfavorable remarks. Boisterousness is especially to be avoided; so are over-loud talk, whispering, criticisms on religious subjects and political disputations. It is exceedingly ill-bred to repeat scandal or to discuss people or topics of questionable character.





Guests should arrive at dinner parties five or ten minutes before the hour named in the invitation.

On going into dinner, the gentleman of the house passes first with the lady on his arm who is the oldest, or the stranger, or for whom the dinner is given. At table he places her on his right. The hostess brings up the rear on the arm of the most distinguished gentleman guest to whom she gives the place at her right at the table. The second places are at the left of the host and hostess.

Cards plain or ornamented should be placed at each place with the name of the occupant.

When dinner is over, the gentlemen again offer their arms to the ladies and conduct them to the drawing room, where coffee is served. After coffee, the gentlemen who smoke, retire with the host to the smoking room.




Evening dress is always in order after dark, never in the day time.

Either white or black ties may be worn with full dress; for balls a white tie is better.

For formal calls, day receptions, etc., the Prince Albert coat with light trousers is prescribed.

Gentlemen are expected to wear gloves on all formal occasions, for dancing, gloves are de rigeur.

Gentlemen who accompany ladies to the theatre at night should always appear in evening dress.





As much care should be taken to exhibit good breeding in public places

as in drawing rooms or at formal receptions. A true lady or gentleman never

forgets the conventionalities of life under any circumstance. Always be con-

siderate of the rights and feelings of others. While it is barely permissable for

a gentleman to smoke in the streets, it would be exceedingly rude to smoke in

the company of ladies.





"A bow," says La Fontaine, "is a note drawn at sight. You are bound toacknowledge it immediately and to the full amount." According to circumstances it should be respectful, cordial, civil or familiar. An inclination of the head is often sufficient between gentlemen, or a gesture of the hand or the mere touching of the hat, but in bowing to a lady the hat must be lifted. 

If you know people slightly you recognize them slightly, if you know them wellyou bow with more cordiality. The body is not bent at all in bowing as in the days of the old school forms of politeness; the inclination of the head is all that is necessary. Ones own judgment ought to be sufficient as to the expressment of the salutation. In bowing to a lady the hat is only lifted from the head, not held out at arms length for a view of the interior.

Gentlemen who are driving are obliged to keep tight hold of the reins,and this is impossible if they remove their hats. A well-bred foreigner would never dream of saluting a lady by raising his whip to his hat.

A well-bred person bows the moment he recognizes an acquaintance, according to the rules of good society everywhere. Anyone who has been introduced to you is entitled to this mark of respect. A gentleman walking with a lady returns a bow made to her (lifting his hat not too far from his head), although the one bowing is an entire stranger to him.





The significations of visiting cards with corner turned.

Upper right corner--Visit.

Upper left corner--Congratulations.

Lower right corner--Adieu.

Lower left corner--Condolence.

Turning the entire left end--A call on the Family.

R.S.V.P.--Please Answer.

P.P.C.--To Take Leave.

Scott's Time Portal to Old St. Louis


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