Who is Miss Abigail?

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

Find me on…

Get the feed


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 ‘mouth’

How to Cure Chapped Lips (1916)

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Wondering how to cure chapped lips?

Instructions from a 1916 book by Professor T. W. Shannon:


Take 2 ounces of white wax, I ounce of spermaceti, 4 ounces of oil of almonds, 2 ounces of honey, 1/4 of an ounce of essence of bergamot, or any other scent. Melt the wax and spermaceti; then add the honey, and melt all together, and when hot add the almond oil by degrees, stirring until cold.

2. Take oil of almonds 3 ounces; spermaceti, 1/2 ounce; virgin rice, 1/2 ounce. Melt these together over a slow fire, mixing with them a little powder of alkane root to color it. Keep stirring till cold, and then add a few drops of the oil of rhodium.

3. Take oil of almonds, spermaceti, white wax and white sugar candy, equal parts.

These form a good, white lip salve.


Instructions from Miss Abigail, 2011:


1. Head on over to your local drugstore, down the toothpaste isle, and purchase lip balm.

2. Even easier: click here, pick one, place order. Wait until delivered.

These provide good, white (possible other colors) lip salves.



1960: Gateway to Beauty: Your Mouth

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

OK, I admit it, I’m an America’s Next Top Model junkie. While watching the finale tonight, it dawned on me that it really all came down to the mouth this year. Winner Danielle’s voice and southern accent, Joanie’s bad-to-good teeth but still nervous smile, and Jade’s non-stop excuses for why the judges couldn’t see how fabulous she was. They were all beautiful gals, but their mouths really got the best of them.

Mouths have paid an important part in the classic beauty advice books. One example, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall by Gayelord Hauser (1960), has a whole chapter titled “Gateway to Beauty: Your Mouth.” There’s advice for all of our three finalists here:

The Voice of Beauty: I have seen good-looking women, beautifully groomed and gowned, destroy the illusion they had labored so hard to create, the minute they opened their mouths . . . . Make a recording of your voice and listen to yourself. It will tell you the truth about how you sound to others. You may be quite shocked at what you hear. . . . Your voice is you, showing your depth of feeling or lack of it, your warmth or selfishness. You can improve your voice just as you can improve your skin.”

Your Teeth, Keys to Beauty: Your teeth can make or destroy your beauty. They are your keys to beauty, not only of your face but of your whole person. . . . Look in your mirror. Smile! A smile lights up the face like the sun breaking through clouds. Does your smile do that?”

And Jade, dear Jade:
Silence is also Beautiful: Listening to a lecture by Dr. Spiske, the head physician at Dr. Buchinger’s famous clinic in Uberlingen-am-Bodensee, Germany, I learned a new word; he spoke of an ugly disease which is spreading all over the world. He called it verbalismus. Talking too much, idle chatter, can become such a waste of life. . . . If only we could learn to be silent unless we have something constructive to say, it would be a much more relaxed world to live in.”

Maybe Tyra would be wise to make the girls next season read a few beauty advice books for one of the weekly challenges. There could be a quiz at the end.

I’d be happy to be a guest judge, of course.