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 April, 2011

Swimming in the Steno Pool

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Swimming in the Steno PoolEveryone should run right out (or get yourself to your favorite online bookseller) to order my friend Lynn Peril’s new book Swimming in the Steno Pool: A Retro Guide to Making It in the Office. Mine just arrived in the mail and I can’t wait to dive into the steno pool! Lynn’s a fellow advice-book-collector and regular writer of the “Museum of Femoribilia” column in Bust Magazine.

More information is available on the publisher’s website.

Congrats, Lynn!

Book Talk and Signing in Baltimore this Saturday

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Just a reminder that I’ll be doing a book talk and signing at the Enoch Pratt Light Street Branch, 1251 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland, at 3:00 pm this Saturday, April 16th.

From the blurb: “Learn how a thrift-store purchase and part-time hobby led to a column in the London Times, the publication of her book, and more recently an off-Broadway production of the same name, starring Eve Plumb (Jan Brady).” I’ll have some of my book collection with me to show you (including the fine one pictured here), and my book for sale.

I’ll even have two pairs of tickets to the Miss Abigail show in New York City to give away! And plenty of discount coupons to hand out.

More details are on Enoch Pratt’s site.

Hope to see you all there.

Stone Ridge Book Sale this weekend!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

In previous years, I’ve picked up some good used book finds at the Stone Ridge Book Sale. The event returns this weekend, in Bethesda, Maryland.

That Monday $10 a bag sale is particularly enticing ~  if the government ends up furloughing this weekend I’ll have some extra time on my hands, anyway!

Invitation for a Drive (1891)

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

I’ve got this pretty beat up book from 1891 called The Business Manual; A Complete Guide in all Mercantile and Legal Transactions and Reference Book for Every Day Use (well used during it’s time, I presume). It covers a wide variety of topics, from how to measure coal, to how to make an ice chest. It also includes handy charts of the weights of cattle and the number of years seeds retain their vitality. It tell business folk of this amazing thing called the “telephone” and describes type-writing. Did you know that “an expert can write from 90 to 100 words a minute and commands a salary of from $10 to $15 a week”?

I loved this section, though, on the “Laws of the Road.” The vehicle of choice that time? Well, the accompanying image says it all:

Laws of the Road

Here’s what the author had to say about driving around at that time:

"The primary law of the road is that all persons using the same must exercise due care to prevent collisions and accidents. No one can claim damages for an injury mainly caused by his own negligence.

Vehicles of every kind, meeting on the highway must keep to the right, if at all possible. When there is no other vehicle near, a driver may use any part of the road he chooses. When two teams are going in the same direction, the one in the lead need not “turn out” if the one in the rear wishes to pass ahead, provided there is room enough at the side to pass by. Every driver is required to use moderation in speed; to keep his carriage, harness, etc., in proper condition, and always to give the right of way to a vehicle with a heavier load than his own.

Riders are not governed by any fixed rules, but are required to use reasonable prudence at all times to prevent accidents. They need less room and can make quicker movements, and are, therefore, not under as well defined rules as vehicles.

Foot-passengers have a right to use the driveway as well as the sidewalk. They must, however, with the driver and rider exercise great care to prevent injury to life and limb while thus walking in, or crossing a public road."

Obviously there were fewer distractions than we have today, but these simple rules could still come in handy.

Once you’ve mastered the road rules, you can send a nice note to a sweetheart to ask her out. This example is from the same book:

Invitation for a Drive