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 ‘thanks’

When You Are A Week-end Guest

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

do not take sides or give adviceAs we creep toward the holiday season, it is wise to think about how to act when we are guests in the homes of our friends and relatives. These tips are also handy for visiting those “special” boys and girls in our lives.

1963: When You Are A Week-end Guest

Only when the boy lives out of town do you ever consider spending the night or weekend at his home. Again never do you accept the invitation unless it comes by way of the boy’s mother or guardian and is relayed to your mother or guardian. An invitation to the boy to spend the weekend at your home calls for the same procedure ~ your mother or guardian phones or writes his mother or guardian.

Arrive at the Expected Time. If you are to be unavoidably delayed, advise your hostess.

The Gift. It is not a must. If you really want to arrive with a remembrance or to send one after your return home, it need not be expensive.

Participate in What Has Been Planned. You may not like baseball, but you go to the game because you are “game” for anything planned unless it be something that you know your parents would forbid, or is not in keeping with your own moral code.

Entertain Yourself. Never do we sit with a bored expression as if we were waiting for something to happen. Read, watch TV; in brief, occupy yourself. But do not become so engrossed in what you are doing as to suggest that you would not like to be disturbed.

Be Helpful. Keep your room in order, make your own bed, respect the furnishings of the home and offer to help with household chores. If there should be any differences (“lively discussions”) among members of the family, do not take sides or give advice.

Departure. We leave on the day we originally planned. We should tell our hostess this date upon our arrival. This gracious hostess will usually suggest that we extend our stay as the day approaches for us to leave, but the equally gracious guest will not accept the invitation unless, because of a special event planned, there is great insistence.

Thank You Note. The “thank you” note is written no later than forty-eight hours after we have returned home. 

Source: Culkin, Anne. Charm for Young Women. New York: Deus Books, 1963.
~ p. 104, 132-33 ~

Thank Me Now For This Advice

Monday, August 16th, 2010

somehow the wrapping just slipped offQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I need to send a thank you note for something that was given to me two months ago. How can I do it without seeming too beggy-sorry-sappy?


A Dear Wizzbo:

My advice to you is to get that thank you note sent right away, before it gets really awkward. Here are some tips for writing your letter, courtesy of the very courteous Lillian Eichler in her 1924 New Book of Etiquette. I’m sure you can think of something cordial to say to make up for lost time.

1924: The Letter of Thanks

It would be ridiculous even to attempt to give here the real letter of thanks that you should write. The letters given here are only empty forms, formulæ, for you to use as a foundation upon which you build your own letter. Let your letter be a free, sincere expression of gratitude, cordial and gracious, unhampered by stilted phrases or expressions.

Write your letter of thanks as soon as possible after the gift has been received or the favour has been done. Write with the warmth and kindliness you honestly feel, and make your letter as cordial as you know how. We hope these models will be helpful:

Dear Mrs. Howland:
You cannot imagine how delighted I was to receive the wonderful mirror you and Mr. Howland sent us. Bruce and I have decided to hang it in our drawing room, and we do hope you will come soon to see how well it looks.
With many thanks,
Yours cordially,
Rosalie King.

Jessica dear!
How perfectly sweet of you to send me the lovely jade vase! How did you know it was just precisely what I wanted? Bruce thinks it is the most handsome vase he has ever seen.
Remember, you are coming in on Thursday afternoon to see the gifts.
With love,

Dear Mrs. Courtly:
What an adorable little sacque you sent the baby! I wish you could see how cunning he looks in it. Do come soon, won’t you?
Both baby and I want you to know how we appreciate your kindness.
Cordially yours,
Lucy R. Barlow.

Dear Robert:
I know I shouldn’t have peeked before Christmas, but somehow the wrapping just slipped off! What lovely book-ends, Robert, and how nicely they suit my desk. I am delighted with them.
Many thanks. Come in soon and see them, won’t you?
Sincerely yours,
Ellen Scott.

My dear Mr. Blank:
It was very kind of you to remember me, and I want to thank you for the generous check that awaited me this morning. Please know that I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
With all good wishes for the coming year,
Gratefully yours,
John R. Brown.

Source: Eichler, Lillian. The New Book of Etiquette. Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Publishing Co., 1924.
~ pp. 163-64 ~