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 ‘Valentines’

Lover’s Fun Card Set: Kicking off the Month of Love

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Lover's Fun Card SetIt’s February, and you know what that means – Valentine’s Day! Which is super fantastic if you have a mate in your life. Of course, if you are still looking for — or on a break from — love, it can be a bit of a downer what with all that mushy red heart stuff happening all around you.

Never fear, Miss Abigail is here to help! All this month, I’ll be featuring advice for the lovelorn, advice for those in love, and those looking for love. I’ll highlight some of my favorite posts about love and heartbreak, the joys of being single, and the joys of making out.

As a special treat, I’m going to share with you something I forgot I had in my collection, until I found them on my bookshelf the other day. It’s the Lover’s Fun Card Set. “This card case has dozen real funny cards each one good” says the cover, so it’s bound to bring you some chuckles this month. I’m not sure of the date, so we’ll just have to go with “classic.” I’ll post the first one this weekend.

And if you haven’t picked up my book Miss Abigail’s Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage yet, February would be a great time to do it, don’t you agree?

Now What, Really, Is Love?

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

drawn by the mating instinctHappy Valentine’s Day, folks. Here’s a quote about love to help you celebrate the day; it’s from Elinor Glyn’s This Passion Called Love. Smooches, everyone! I love you! Really, I do!

1925: Now What, Really, Is Love?

We are here talking of love between the sexes ~ that is, the state of being ‘in love’ ~ not of love between parents and children and friends, and brother to brother, sister to sister, or love for humanity. Love between the sexes, taken in the guise in which it shows itself to us on this planet, is the spiritual and glamorous disguise which envelops the coarser nature instinct for re-creation of species. A man or a woman in love is unconsciously drawn by the mating instinct ~ no matter how he or she may truly believe that the desire for union and nearness and companionship is something purely spiritual. Nature’s message is always carry on ~ reproduce ~ propagate. And so, since we live on the earth planet, we must all be affected by Nature’s laws. The lowest animal stage of life obeys this urge, but one of the things which differentiates man from the animal is his capacity to amalgamate the divine spiritual emotion with the instinct for re-creation. The spiritual part of love, in the broad sense, is sacrifice ~ that is, all individuals, while in love, desire to curb selfish desires in the interest of the loved one, however selfish the natural character may be. If this sacrificial element is not in the emotion, then it is not really love, but merely a demonstration of animal passion.

Source: Glyn, Elinor. This Passion Called Love. Auburn, N.Y.: The Authors’ Press, 1925.
~ pp. 9-10 ~

Man Versus Woman in Love

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

it pleases her to be loved by himI just can’t pass by the Hallmark- and FTD-sponsored holiday without saying a bit about love. So here are some appropriate thoughts (besides the sneering comment near the end ~ I’m not sure what that’s about!) for you from Max O’Rell’s wonderfully titled book Her Royal Highness Woman and His Majesty Cupid. Happy Valentine’s Day, all. Will you be mine?

1901: Man Versus Woman in Love

Man is capable of love as earnestly as woman is; but love is not the whole business of his life, whereas it is a woman’s. When a child, she loves her doll; when a girl, her mother; when a woman, a man. She can feed on love and die of it. When a mother, she loves her children; when she dies, surrounded by beloved grandchildren, she may say that her life has been well filled.

I believe that a woman can love more than once. I have known widows remarry, and love their second husbands with the same devotion as their first.

A man really loves once only. I knew a man under fifty who was married three times. He was a good and devoted husband to his three wives, but he never really loved but the second. If he dies suddenly without having time to take all his precautions, the portrait of his second wife will be found on his heart.

The reason of this is that men and women love in different ways. A man loves because his whole being ~ heart, soul, and body ~ craves for a woman. A woman often gives herself to a man because it pleases her to be loved by him. For a man, love is the pleasure he feels in the company of a woman; for a woman, it is the enjoyment of the pleasure she gives to a man. A woman is proud to call herself a reward, and that is why all heroes appeal to her so much. Mirabeau was the plainest of men, with his face covered with small-pox marks, yet no man ever made so many conquests among women. Successful generals, explorers, great orators, authors, artists, singers, all appeal to women. They may not love them personally, but it affords them great pleasure to be loved by them. There is in every woman a craving for a man superior to herself, and that is why women who try to dominate men are such dismal failures.

* * * * *

To a woman love is sacred, her food, her life.

Never have a sneer at a woman or at a child. Whenever you feel sarcastic, exercise your talents on something else.

Never profane the words, ‘I love you’ ; they may seal the fate of a woman; but when you have uttered these three words in great earnestness, and the woman has answered with that great religious, almost sad, smile that Victor Hugo called ‘the smile of angels,’ when, in a word, she is yours, place her on a pedastal, on an altar, and worship her. The world has nothing better to offer you.

Source: O’Rell, Max. Her Royal Highness Woman and His Majesty Cupid. New York: The Abbey Press, 1901.
~ pp. 66-68 ~

First Valentine to the Boy Wins!

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

the unexpected can be amusingQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Please help! There is this girl that I know who likes this boy that I also like. This Valentine’s Day I’m getting ready to tell him in his Valentine this, “I like you, will you be my Valentine?” Should I or should I not? I want to get my Valentine to him before she does so that I can be his girlfriend. What should I do about the Valentine problem?


A Dear Clueless:

I think if you spend a little time making a really super duper creative Valentine that says exactly what you feel, it doesn’t matter if your card is first or second to arrive in his locker. Just remain optimistic, and be enthusiastic about your next move, as this quote from Charm and Poise for Getting Ahead explains in a section describing how women can become popular. I’m sure that your boy will be very impressed with your efforts, and will choose you over that other girl any old day.

1967: Popularity, for Women

Be Enthusiastic. Life attracts life. Your enthusiasm will go out from you in ever widening circles to enchant those who come within its seductive power. Enliven your relationships by bringing in fresh fuel to the fire. If your social contacts have grown stale, introduce new and fascinating subjects. Plan new activities. Create an atmosphere of merriment. The unexpected can be amusing. Dress your days with gaiety so that later when you take them out of the closet of memories you can say, ‘This one was fun to wear.’

Be Optimistic. You only have to look at a small lichen clinging to a precipice to realize that life goes on under the most difficult circumstances. Everywhere you can see the marvelous manifestations of life’s goodness and abundance. There is enough love, beauty, harmony, for everyone. If you cut your finger, immediately all the forces of your body are brought into action to heal your finger and make it all well again. Mother Nature has given you many defenses against the onslaughts of outrageous fortune. She is not discouraged. She never says, ‘What’s the use.’ She obeys the laws of her being and is ever optimistic. We should not be less. To abandon ourselves to hopelessness is going against all the rules of Life.

Source: Ruth Tolman. Charm and Poise for Getting Ahead. Milady Publishing Co., 1967
~ p. 228 ~

Classic Valentine’s Day Advice

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Advice for Valentine’s Day – you know you want it! I’ve covered this quite a bit in previous years, so here are a few links tidbits that you might find useful today.

Confused about this whole “in love” thing? Check out this excerpt from Elinor Glyn’s 1925 This Passion Called Love.

Trying to pick the right flowers to give your sweetie? See The Language of Flowers from 1907.

Wondering how to express your love in writing? Skip the email and get out that pen. Some sample love letters here.

Plenty more love advice where that came from.

And finally,

Single and happy? You’ll love this one, from a book titled Live Alone and Like It.

Miss Abigail

Valentine’s Day LibraryThing Book Pile

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

LibraryThing (where I am slowly cataloging my book collection) is having another book pile contest, and this time we’re invited to submit a Valentine’s Day pile, among other topics. How could I resist?

Here’s my entry:

For those of you curious about the books I used, here they are top to bottom:
~Love’s Coming of Age, 1911
~Unmarried Love, 1965
~Love and the Facts of Life, 1967
~The Philosophy of Love, 1923
~How to Keep Romance in Your Marriage, 1954
~Married Love, 1927
~The Art of Loving, 1956
~Facts of Life for Love and Teenagers, 1956 (oops, essentially a dupe of Love and the Facts of Life, above)
~How to be Happy While Single, 1949
~Every Girl is Entitled to a Husband, 1963
~The Doctor Looks at Love and Life, 1929
~How to Pick a Mate, 1946
~Secrets of Love and Marriage, 1933
~How to Pick Up Girls!, 1970
~The Power to Love, 1957
~Encyclopedia of Love and Sex, 1972