Who is Miss Abigail?

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

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About

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!

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Archive for July, 2011

Summer Icicles (1955)

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

teen-age glamorWhat else is there do to do on a sweltering summer day but to stay inside and blog about it? Here are some summertime tips from a book called Teen-Age Glamor, written by Adah Broadbent in 1955. These could come in handy on a day like today:

"When the sun is at its zenith, and the days are at their warmest, sunlight fashions and perfect grooming transform you into a summer charmer. This immaculately crisp and cool appearance is worth capturing, so make it yours.

Never, never gasp and sigh about the heat. When the others do ~ and they will ~ you talk about something else. Any yen for arguments is controlled. Why cause your circulation to hurry?

Don’t slump, don’t collapse like a broken accordion in the nearest swing. No one is interested in seeing you go to pieces except Dennis the Menace. Swing, and sip your iced drinks, but there’s sugar in those; the more calories, the more heat your body generates. Icy drinks also interfere with the body’s normal temperature-regulating action. Cold drinks poured incessantly into your stomach are dangerous.

Eat and chatter, but don’t lie around in that swing all day while the others groan, “It’s too hot to lift an eyelash.” Get up and move around and you are cooler.

Summertime fun

Doing things in hot weather make staying dainty a problem. Bathe and shower more often;  a lukewarm shower leaves you cooler than a cold one, which increases the circulation. Pat, don’t rub dry, sprinkle talcum here and there, or spray refreshing cologne over yourself with a lavish hand. These luxuries give that fresh-as-a-daisy feeling which you intend to keep ~ at least for awhile.

Anti-persperants and deodorants are your aids. The liquid kind seems to be the surest safeguard. Make it a habit to use an anti-persperant or deodorant every night, because if it is used in the daytime any moving about may start you perspiring, and the effectiveness is washed away.

Summer clothes are made from many different fabrics, all of them was like a breeze and some need no ironing. The coolest and airiest fabrics are voile, sheer handkerchief linen, breezy batiste, and eyelet cottons; let them be crisp, not clingy.

Some colors give a feeling of coolness, as an icy blue and a pale green. Poppy and nasturtium colors are flattering to many girls, but when the weather is muggy, as well as hot, use those colors seldom.

Here’s fun to you on hot sunny days!"

 

Stay cool, everyone! I’m headed to the pool to sip cool (but not too cold, drinks) this afternoon. I promise not to complain about the heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personality: How to Exert It (1915)

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

“Personality is defined as the qualities or characteristics, personal traits or attributes peculiar to some individual. Specifically, it is that quality which sustains poise through self-control in the face of propitious or unpropitious circumstances,” asserts the preface of H. Laurent’s Personality: How to Build It, which I picked up in Austin last weekend. Do you need to go look up propitious? It’s okay, take your time. I don’t think that word’s been used much lately, except maybe in the National Spelling Bee.

This chapter, titled “Personality: How to Exert It” seemed to be a good one to excerpt for the blog. I found the part on “learn to judge everything for yourself” fitting, given the recent hullabaloo over a certain trial in Florida and some jurors, who were no doubt trying to just do the job they were asked to do, despite the media frenzy.

"In everything, even in the smallest things, get the habit of acting for yourself, without following either the example or the advice you have received. Change them according to your own judgment. Make a style of your own. Do not imitate. It is by imitating that everything original is oneself.

No one in the world is exactly like another. The Creator fashioned us all after a different model. It is ourselves who, by some deplorable turn of our character, have made ourselves all about the same. Follow the laws of nature. Live your own life.

The first thing to avoid is that chronic and contagious folly, fashion, which changes our habits, our thoughts, our body and our life. Accept it only in reasonable form, follow it from a distance and under the least enslaving form.

Conserve your innate originality. Don’t be dragged into tastes which are not your own. Defend yourself against any characteristic of others. Learn to judge everything for yourself without being the perfect repeater of the judgments of others.

It is better to be paradoxical than void of all personality. For there is alway time afterward to correct one’s judgment according to the truth or justice. It gives the mind a chance to work independently, without any help from the brains of others.

Accustom yourself as soon as possible to analytical study. Carefully cultivate your intellect, make things clear to yourself, appraise at its own value what you know well and compare your analyses, your judgments with those already made. Learn to like the unexpected, the new, avoid routine. Be bold, go on ahead. Personality and originality avoid everything that is commonplace.

Practice patience also, kindness to others and will-power. Having developed personality, remember that it should be asserted, and that this exercise is the most difficult part of your task. It depends solely on yourself. Little by little acquire the necessary forces to affirm it."

Recent Acquisitions: Speech and Personality Books

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

I was in Austin, Texas, for the long, hot, weekend and was mostly spending time with family, so I got only a few moments of shopping in at the amazing Uncommon Objects. I could have spent hours there! But due to my uncanny ability to focus and look for and find advice books in high-pressure situations (“only 10 minutes til the dinner reservation! I’m heading over!” called out sis), I scored two books from the “Mental Efficiency Series” while there: Speech: How to Use it Effectively and Personality: How to Build It.

Now that I’m home and looking at these, I’m pretty sure I have another of these in my collection, but I’m having trouble finding it on my shelves just now. Oh wait, there it is: Practicality: How to Acquire It. Funny thing is, the two new books are from 1915 and slightly smaller than the practicality title (that’s from 1916).

I’ll poke around in these and see if I can find something fun to share later this week.

In the meantime, happy belated Independence Day!