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 April, 2012

Interview in The Nervous Breakdown

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The Nervous BreakdownCheck out this fun interview of me over at The Nervous Breakdown. I was quizzed about my adventures as Miss Abigail by , who I met years ago while working on a project for my day job at the Library of Congress. Learn more about how I got started, and how the book and play came about.

What’s Your Charm Rating? (1955)

Monday, April 9th, 2012

So here’s how things go around here somedays. Yesterday I thought about doing an Easter post, and then got distracted by the lovely D.C. weather and went to the National Arboretum with some friends instead. Then I meant to do the post last night, but ended up watching the toe-tapping movie Easter Parade on TV instead.

By the time I got around to doing this post this evening, Easter was way over and the game I was going to share with you, which involved tying strings to the ends of lilies and winding the strings around the house, with each guest following the path to find a candy Easter egg or little holiday trinkets (remember the “cobweb string game“? Like that!), seemed old news and a bit dull.

So I turned around in my office chair, plucked Figure Correction and Beauty for You, by Virginia Fallon, off my shelf, and found this instead! Much more fun! I hope you enjoy. Next time I’ll quote from the following chapter, which is about “Spring Cleaning” yourself. Fits well given my recent bathroom renovation to include a deep tub.

"How can charm be measured? It is an indefinable something, and allure, difficult to capture artificially. If you try to force yourself into some pattern, you are in danger of becoming stilted and affected.

Many a girl has fallen into this trap. Aping the manners of some favourite film star, putting on a phoney accent, either American or British, trying to assume a suave sophistication, she grates on the nerves, becoming as awkward and tiring as a sore thumb.

For charm, above everything, must be natural. It must flow from an inner sincerity. There are a million imitation film stars ~ the advertisements of the cosmetic manufacturers seem to cater specially for them ~ but there is only one YOU.

YOU are different from anyone else in the world, from anyone who has ever lived, and from anyone yet to come. Reduce the body and mind to a parcel of chemicals and perhaps there isn’t much difference between people, but somehow in the way those chemicals have been mingled and built up, a new inimitable something has been created.

Give your individuality full play. Make the most of that difference. Concentrate on being YOURSELF.

A recent survey of over 1,000,000 American women conducted by the research department of a well-known University listed the following factors of feminine charm. Points are scored out of one hundred. Check your score against it and see how you rate.

Figure… 15 points
Personality… 12 points
Voice… 12 points
Posture… 10 points
Health…10 points
Skin… 8 points
Eyes… 8 points
Hair… 7 points
Teeth… 6 points
Intelligence… 6 points
Hands… 4 points
Dress… 2 points

I must confess that there are several surprises among the ratings. Intelligence is put extremely low, but I suppose it only goes to prove that University Dons, like other men, prefer a woman to have a good figure, with beauty of face and complexion rather than a bluestocking outlook.

Dress does not appear as high in the list as many people might imagine, but it is true that a woman can be charming and attractive without wearing Paris creations, whereas many women in the latest Dior gowns are far from attractive.

Important to notice is the high placing of that magic quality ‘personality’ and also that voice, posture and health come well up in the list. Why not check your rating against the charm list, and then go about improving your weak points till you score 100 per cent."

Now, Miss Abigail must confess that she was a bit confused about how to go about rating oneself. If I have a figure and skin, does that count for something? Or do my eyes and teeth have to be most excellent (by what standards, do tell?) to give me all the points I need? If you figure it out, let me know your score!