Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!


Archive for January, 2006

1935: Play

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

I’ve been spending my Sunday sewing velvet curtains for a puppet theater that my dad built for my nieces, Olivia and Iris. It is a belated Christmas present to them from him, and I offered my ~ahem~ skills as a sewer of straight edges and square and rectangular shapes (about all I can handle — I received a C- grade in the “sew something” part of home economics in 7th grade. I don’t know why they didn’t like my shorts with bows on the side!).

Anyway, while working on the curtains, I’ve taken to occasionally pulling out my Bert (of “Ernie and” fame) puppet to test them out, and it got me thinking about how I’d rather play with puppets than go to work tomorrow. So with that thought, I bring you this little excerpt from a book titled Play: Recreation in a Balanced Life, written in 1935 by Austen Fox Riggs (Country Life Press, N.Y.). The book is devoted to helping overworked adults feel more like kids again. Can’t argue with that!

“To find the best kind of play for yourself, you must be sure not to be too serious. You must explore the land of play with your sense of humor to the fore, realizing that it is a wonderland of make-believe where there is laugter but where the word ‘ought’ is unknown. In this voyage of discovery let your motto be: ‘You can never tell.’ Keep your mind open as well as curious. With such a point of view and attitude, choosing play by the ‘trial and error’ method can be relied upon to produce the quickest and best results. You never can tell what you will discover. Indeed, you may and probably will uncover latent abilities of which you were totally unaware. It may be a skill with needle or loom or facility in metal work or in fine wood carving. You may find a thus far undeveloped love of nature together with an interest in wild life which you never even suspected yourself, though you cannot be sure until you have carried the experiment into action. When the discovery is finally made and proved, the outcome will be yours for all time.” (pp. 80-81)

Getting Closer

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

I’ve been so distracted lately — my dear sweet dog Frieda’s been quite sick, sad to say — that I’d almost let the Miss Abigail book slip my mind. But then the “uncorrected proofs” showed up in my mailbox today, and there it was, in my hands. Not the final thing, of course, but it now has weight to it that the digital files that I’d previously viewed didn’t have. Pretty exciting to this first time author!

You, of course, will have to wait a few more months before you get to hold it.

1880: Advice for the Senate Judiciary Committee

Sunday, January 15th, 2006

My hope is to occasionally use this space to share some short excerpts from the advice books, taking clues from the news or personal experiences, or if I just happen to find some fun things to share.

To kick it all off, I’ve located some tips that I think the Senate Judiciary Committee may have benefited from as they droned on and on, lecturing – I mean asking – Samuel Alito questions this week.

Avoid long arguments
Long arguments in general company, however entertaining to the disputants, are tiresome to the last degree to all others. You should always endeavor to prevent the conversation from dwelling to long upon one topic.

Interrupting a Person While Speaking
Never interrupt a person who is speaking. It has been aptly said that “if you interrupt a speaker in the middle of a sentence, you act almost as rudely as if, when walking with a companion, you were to thrust yourself before him, and stop his progress.”

Source: Ruth, John A. Decorum: A Practical Treatise on Etiquette and Dress of the Best American Society. New York: Union Publishing House, 1880.

To see more advice from Miss Abigail, wander on over to my newly revamped browse and search pages.


Friday, January 13th, 2006

So apparently the idea of turning a website or blog into a book is the new hot thing! Check out this contest. Unfortunately my book comes out too late to submit an entry this year. Next year, for sure!

Miss Abigail has been around a lot longer than blogging, so I’m glad they’ve included good old-fashioned websites in their description.

Why call it the Abiblog?

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

Short for Abigail-blog, of course.

I’m also known as Abbie, so I guess I could have used Abblog or Ablog, but I thought Abiblog sounded more amusing.

That’s why!


Sunday, January 8th, 2006

Hi everyone. I’ve decided to cave in to peer pressure and start a blog. All the cool kids are doing it, right?

I’m going to use this to provide updates about my new book, which is due out in March 2006. Thunder’s Mouth Press in New York is publishing it, and it’s called Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage. You can pre-order it by clicking on the book cover in the sidebar, or click on the book tab at the top of the page.

And by now, if you’re a regular visitor of Miss Abigail’s Time Warp Advice, you’ve probably noticed that this site has undergone some changes recently. In anticipation of the book launch, I’ve tried to make it a little easier to navigate and find the advice that’s been given on the site over the years. I do hope you enjoy the changes.