By Leilani

LifeBuzz Staff

Spice Up Your Life With These ‘Rules’ From A 19th Century Guide To Social Etiquette.

In the late nineteenth century, middle-class Americans were enjoying a prosperity unseen during the years of the Civil War. Prior to this period, the majority of workers relied heavily on agriculture for work. Mass production created new opportunities for growing businessmen. In addition to the Transcontinental Railroad, industrialists such as Carnegie and Rockefeller rose to success. Revolutionary inventions such as Samuel F.B. Morse's telegraph and Thomas Edison's lightbulb affected the world in ways that are still visible today.

However, the late nineteenth century was also a period that writers Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner dubbed the Gilded Age in perfect satire - "a period that was glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath." There were greedy politicians, and industrial workers and farmers worked long hours in dangerous conditions for low pay.

Below, you'll find 33 excerpts from Walter R. Houghton's American Etiquette & Rules of Politeness (1883) that respond to the growing materialism and declining morale of the time. There are also values influenced by the Victorian Age. Which ones still apply after 132 years?

#1. "One may be poor, yet if he possess good manners and an amiable style in his intercourse with people, his poverty is soon lost amid the good will and friendly feeling created among his associates."

#2. “Before we enter society we should subdue our gloomy moods.”

#3. “Nothing is more foolish and vulgar than painting or coloring the lids or lashes."

“Nothing is more foolish and vulgar than painting or coloring the lids or lashes."

Drew Geraci

#4. “Read books of history, travel, poetry and romance."

#5. “Let our children be trained in an atmosphere of gentleness and kindness from the nursery upwards."

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