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!


Posts Tagged ‘hygiene’

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.







Incinerate your Maxi Pads with the Incinerette

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

While in Australia for a work trip in early April, a few of us meeting attendees took a couple of days after to hit the road up the coast back to Sydney for our flights home. While in a public restroom in Jervis Bay after a dolphin watch boat ride, I spotted this fantastic machinery, for incinerating sanitary napkins. Burn, baby, burn! Wish I could have seen it in action, but unfortunately it was all rusted…

1929: Personal Hygiene

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Wooweee is the D.C. area hot this weekend! Even with the mid-afternoon hours wasted away napping in the central air conditioning (not even the dogs want to go outside), it’s been pretty unbearable. And in the short time I did spend outside, well, I’ll be honest, I’ve been perspiring quite a bit. What’s a girl to do?

Well, this girl of course turned to the books for a little advice on personal hygiene, specifically how to “neutralize body odors.” This was found in volume one of Lovely Ladies.

There are so-called deodorants on the market which neutralize body odors. If you have the idea that they are injurious to you, and that by suppressing excess perspiration in a certain place it will only appear somewhere else, then use one of the powder deoderants which neutralize all body odors without in any way suppressing elimination through the pores.

Deodorants, talcum powder, astringents, mouth washes, the proper treatment of the skin areas that are too active in their functions of eliminating waste will remove all possibilities of unpleasant odors. If the area under your arms, for instance, is overactive in its eliminating functions, you can gradually and harmlessly close the pores and make them smaller and consequently less active with the use of a mild astringent after bathing. You can completely neutralize foot odors and in time quite correct any such abnormal condition by bathing them night and morning in a saturated solution of boracic acid and then dusting the powdered boracic acid into them in the place of talcum powder. Of course, you will not have to do this for longer than a week or two at the most, because after the condition is corrected just using the powdered boracic acid instead of talcum will keep them in a healthy condition.

Just as a warning, I wouldn’t recommend trying these treatments without doing some further research (I guess boracic acid is still used these days, but seems a bit scary to me). But still, I thought that bit about closing your pores entertaining for a hot summer day.