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 February, 2006

Media Blitz (hopefully!)

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

I’m getting excited! I received my first copies of Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage recently and it looks great, if I do say so myself! Hats off to everyone at Thunder’s Mouth for pulling it all together. You readers should be able to have it in your hands sometime in March or early April, I hope. Click the book tab at the top of this page for more information.

We’re now moving on to publicity, so keep an eye out for reviews and articles in the coming months. If anyone out there wants to get in touch with the publicity folks at Thunder’s Mouth to book me for events or signings, or to inquire about reviewing the book, send a comment to this blog and I’ll get you the appropriate information. Beware: I’m pretty new to this publishing a book thing, so I still get a bit giddy when I say “my publicist.” I’ll try to maintain composure.

1932: Manners to Books

Monday, February 20th, 2006

Digging through an unorganized pile of some of my books, I found one I’d forgotten I had, titled Mr. Manners: A Manual of Good Manners, by Rose Henniker Heaton. It was published in 1932 by Burns Oates & Washbourne, London. The title page continues: “for Good Children, together with AWFUL EXAMPLES of WILD MANNERS and WILD CHILDREN.” There’s not much more description than that, other than a chart of The Manners Family: Father, Mother, Nicky (aged 9), Jane (aged 8), Simon and Simonette (twins, aged seven), Toby (aged 6), and Petronella (aged 4). Hmm, Father and Mother must have been quite the busy couple.

Here’s an example of how this little book reads, from a section titled “Manners to all Kinds of Things”:


“Books,” said Mr. Manners, “should be treated like friends.” But alas!

NICKY scribbled little men in blue chalk over his.
JANE bent the covers backwards.
SIMON upset his milk over his while reading at table.
SIMONETTE turned down the corners.
TOBY left his in front of the fire in the winter, and on the lawn in summer,
PETRONELLA took care of hers so that she would be able to show them to her great-great-grandchildren when she was an old lady.

Go Petronella!

Prelinger Archives

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

My old iPod mini (in pink, of course) started to go this month, so I splurged and got myself a new iPod – the one that can handle videos. In addition to downloading a few clips from iTunes, I wandered over to the Internet Archive to see if I could download some of the Prelinger Archives films and convert them to iPod use. If you don’t know about this resource, you must go there immediately and view some classic ephemeral films which are, I’m happy to report, in the public domain.

While there are many fabulous films, some favorites of Miss Abigail are:
Are you Popular?
Everyday Courtesy
Molly Grows Up
What to do on a Date

For more fun, see this browse list by subject/keyword.

And if you want to learn more about films like these, I highly recommend author Ken Smith’s book Mental Hygiene: Classroom Films 1945-1970.

A tribute to Frieda

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

This week, I lost a wonderful friend, my dog of 9 years, Frieda. In the early days of MissAbigail.com, she was the one who would force me to take a break from the computer to take her for a long walk on Capitol Hill, or present me a loud squeak toy to interrupt my typing. She was the dog that sat on people’s heads (don’t ask), the dog who would wake me up by pawing the alarm clock and staring at me, the dog that begged with silly chewbacca sounds, the dog who had an opinion on which direction our walks took us, and the one who liked to plop down in the cool waters of Sligo Creek, for a rest. She’s the one that everyone adored.

She was the best terrier mutt a girl could have, and I miss her so. I’m betting she’s chasing squirrels, begging for treats, and getting some belly rubs in the doggy afterlife. She’d insist upon it. So long, friend.