Food Fun and Facts - Women in Mourning - Proper Etiquette in the 1800's

Facts about Women in Mourning 100 Years Ago

*Etiquette of the Times
Dress the Deceased Simply and Use Flowers Sparingly.

A Widow should be in morning for 18 months. She must be dressed in black, of a dead hue , not a lively blue black.

The Widow's veil is made out of black crepe and is worn very long.
Mourning Period for Parents is one year..

A veil is worn, but not over the face as the Widow's veil.

Mourning for a sibling, stepparents, or grandparents is almost the same as for your parents, but the mourning period can be shorter.

Mourning for an aunt or uncle is 3 months.

 Wives and husbands wear mourning for the relatives of their spouses.

Morning for children would be nine months.





Prior to the late nineteenth century, most Americans viewed dining as a utilitarian duty characterized by common “meat and potato” dishes and complemented by little, if any, polite conversation.

With the boom in industrialism and the sudden growth of the middle class in the 1880s, America's interest in social etiquette rose dramatically.
Consisting of two separate publications,The Ladies' Handbook and Household Assistant (1886) and Short Hints on Social Etiquette (1887),The Ladies' Etiquette Handbook can be read as a testament to the growing division between social classes and, at the same time, as a reflection of the middle class' overwhelming desire to cross social lines through the graces of etiquette.

Written by a Methodist women's church group in Manchester, New Hampshire, The Ladies' Handbook and Household Assistant provides advice on subjects such as church etiquette and the proper handling of cutlery as well as recipes for the socially active household.

Short Hints on Social Etiquette, published as a promotional piece by a Philadelphia soap manufacturer, including descriptions of lavish meals, advice on proper word pronunciation, and illustrations of tasteful calling cards,strives to bring “aristocratic” values into the “republican” home.

The foreword by Kenneth Cmiel, professor of history at the University of Iowa, provides an overview of the historic and social trends leading up to the publication of both handbooks and traces the creation and ultimate development of modern social etiquette.
The Ladies' Etiquette Handbook:
The Importance of Being Refined in the 1880s



Family Life in 19th-Century America

Nineteenth century families had to deal with enormous changes in almost all of life's categories.

The first generation of nineteenth century Americans was generally anxious to remove the Anglo from their Anglo-Americanism. The generation that grew up in Jacksonian America matured during a period of nationalism, egalitarianism, and widespread reformism.

Finally, the generation of the pre-war decades was innately diverse in terms of their ethnic backgrounds, employment, social class, education, language, customs, and religion.

Americans were acutely aware of the need to create a stable and cohesive society firmly founded on the family and traditional family values.

Yet the people of America were among the most mobile and diverse on earth. Geographically, socially, and economically, Americans (and those immigrants who wished to be Americans) were dedicated to change, movement, and progress.

This dichotomy between tradition and change may have been the most durable and common of American traits, and it was a difficult quality to circumvent when trying to form a unified national persona.

Volumes in the Family Life in America series focus on the day-to-day lives and roles of families throughout history.

The roles of all family members are defined and information on daily family life, the role of the family in society, and the ever-changing definition of family are discussed. Discussion of the nuclear family, single parent homes, foster and adoptive families, stepfamilies, and gay and lesbian families are included where appropriate.

Topics such as meal planning, homes, entertainment and celebrations, are discussed along with larger social issues that originate in the home like domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and divorce.

Ideal for students and general readers alike, books in this series bring the history of everyday people to life.

Family Life in 19th-Century America (Family Life through History)





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What grandmother never told you, Advice from the Attic does!

These authentic excerpts from the 19th and 20th centuries range from the amusingly absurd to the truly bizarre.

Discover advice on cultivating the perfectly placid face, the charm of hiding intelligence, inhibiting improper laughter, the dangers of bobbed hair, strange shampoo formulas, eccentric exercises for face and body, and more.

Advice from the Attic:
Perilous Pearls of Wisdom on Beauty, Charm and Etiquette








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The Nineteenth century Woman
Information and Books about Women in the 1800's in America





History of Private Life, Volume IV: From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War

The 19th century was the golden age of private life, a time when the tentative self-consciousness of the Renaissance and earlier eras took recognizable form, and the supreme individual, with a political, scientific and above all existential value, emerged.

Volume Four of this award-winning series chronicles this development from the tumult of the French Revolution to the outbreak of World War I - a century and a quarter of rapid, ungovernable change culminating in a conflict that, at a stroke, altered life in the Western world
. History of Private Life, Volume IV: From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War




To prevent Burying a Loved One Alive*

Since there are no reliable methods for determining death and since new chemical and industrial methods of putting people in comas are multiplying in society, the fear of burial alive is very real. There have been reports of corpses exhumed with hair an nails grown long and fingernail scratches in the coffin lid.

The reader is directed to a recently patented improved burial case.

The nature of this invention consists in placing on the lid of the coffin, and directly over the face of the body laid therein, a square tube, which extends from the coffin up through and over the surface of the grave, and said tube containing a ladder and a cord, one end of said cord being placed in the hand of the person laid in the coffin and the other so that, should a person be interred before life is extinct, he can, on recovery to consciousness, ascend from the grave and the coffin by the ladder, or, if not able to ascend by said ladder, ring the bell, thereby giving an alarm and thus save himself from premature burial and death.

And, if on inspection, life is extinct, the tube is withdrawn, the sliding door closed, and the tube used for a similar purpose.
*from "Keeping Hearth and Home " Long out of Print.



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Forgotten Elegance:
The Art, Artifacts, and Peculiar History of Victorian and Edwardian Entertaining in America

History students and Victorian enthusiasts looking for comprehensive information on dining practices of Victorian America will find this book a vital resource.

Revealing the history of 19th-century dining, clothing, and etiquette, the volume includes sample menus and explicit instructions explaining how to recreate a dinner, tea, breakfast, or lunch in the 21st century.

Collectors of china, crystal, and silver will also find this book helpful because it provides a photograph of each piece of tableware that was used, with a history and description of the item.

After explaining the different dining styles and the way they evolved into rituals of the Victorian era, a formal dinner is examined course by course.

The Schollanders present the history and uses of various wines and show they were matched with different foods.

They also explain the evolution of silver, crystal, and china pieces.

Additionally the book includes an explanation of the seating order at the Victorian table, correct Victorian table manners, invitations and menu cards, correct dress for dinner guests, correct table settings, the role of servants, and step-by-step instructions for recreating a formal Victorian dinner, tea, breakfast, or lunch.

Forgotten Elegance: The Art, Artifacts, and Peculiar History of Victorian and Edwardian Entertaining in America