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 December, 2011

1928: Installing a Shower-Bath

Monday, December 19th, 2011

We’re in the midst of planning a bathroom renovation, and although the driving force behind it is to replace the tub with a deep one that I can actually bathe in, I was amused to find this advice about “Installing a Shower-Bath.” It appears in The House-Owner’s Book, written by Allen L. Churchill and Leonard Wickenden in 1928 (the decade our house was born). The book is mostly for those constructing their own new houses, and is beyond my expertise, but I did also enjoy the chapter on “Special Appliances” where they describe, among other things, an “Iceless Ice-box”; an in-house system to burn your own garbage to then fuel the house; and a central vacuum cleaning system which will “be as common, in a few years, as central heat.” Sounds an awful lot like my mom and stepdad’s whole house vacuum that was installed when they built their house a few years ago, still a pretty rare item in today’s homes.

But I digress ~ back to the bathroom!

"If no house is complete without a bathroom, no bathroom is complete without a shower-bath. It is no so long ago that the man who proclaimed that he preferred a shower- to a tub-bath was considered a freak or a poser. But those days are past. It is now recognized that a shower-bath is not only more invigorating,~ it is more cleansing. Fresh water constantly pours upon the body, washing away all impurities, and producing a sensation of cleanliness and well-being which the tub-bath can never give. . . .

The ordinary head-shower is sometimes unpopular with the women of the household because, with it, there is difficulty in avoiding wetting the hair. The type of shower which sprays water onto the body in a semi-horizontal manner usually finds more favor with them. It is claimed that with this type of shower, no curtain is needed because the water strikes the body at such an angle that it runs directly downward into the bath. This may be true if the user is of a placid disposition and takes his shower-bath in a calm and dignified manner. With most men, however, the sensation of water raining onto their bodies causes them to inflate their chests, and fling their limbs about generally. In any case, a shower-bath loses a good deal of its fun if one has to bear constantly in mind the need of avoiding violent activity, so that the curtain will usually be found well worth the slight extra cost."

Miss Abigail {the show} is heading on the road!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

If you’re in Rochester, Fort Lauderdale, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Norwell, or Palm Beach ~ you’re in for a treat. I just received the schedule for the touring show of Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, the play inspired by my book:

1/19 – 1/29/12: Downstairs Cabaret, Rochester, NY

2/3 – 2/4/2012: The Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

2/8 – 2/12/12: Playhouse Square Foundation, Cleveland, OH

2/16 – 2/19/12: Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Milwaukee, WI

2/22 – 2/26/12: The Company Theatre, Norwell, MA

3/1 – 3/11/12: Downstairs Cabaret, Rochester, NY

3/20 – 4/1/12: Raymond F. Kravis Center for Performing Arts, W. Palm Beach, FL

These dates/locations are subject to change, of course. Check the theater websites for more details, and to buy tickets!

Takoma Park Authors’s Book Sale This Saturday, 5-7pm!

Monday, December 5th, 2011

I’ll be at this event on Saturday, in my home town of Takoma Park, Maryland. Stop on by to pick up a signed copy of the book! And if you don’t want a book, you can just have some cheesecake and stop by to chat. Hope to see you there!


3rd Annual Takoma Park Authors’ Book Sale

Come meet Takoma Park authors, who will be selling and signing their books. There will be a great selection – and books make great holiday gifts!

Enjoy delicious sandwiches, baked goods, desserts, and beer and wine that will be available for purchase while you peruse the books and chat with the authors and neighbors.

 5 – 7 p.m.  Saturday, Dec. 10th

Capital City Cheesecake

7071 Carroll Avenue

Takoma Park, MD