Q Dear Miss Abigail:
When you are introducing someone to someone else, which name to you say first? For instance, is it “Debbi, this is Dr. Bailey-Graff” or, “Dr. Bailey-Graff, this is Debbi”?
A Dear Debbi:
I believe the following excerpt answers your question quite nicely. It’s from The New Book of Etiquette, written by the lovely Lillian Eichler (who is, in my opinion, goddess of all things etiquette). And what a coincidence ~ just the other day I was wondering what to do when introducing my friends to the queen. Thanks, Lil!
1941: Introductions: The Correct Form
For all ordinary occasions, the plainest and simplest form of introduction is best. One may say: ‘Mrs. Johns, may I present Mrs. Brown?’ or, ‘Mrs. Johns, Mrs. Brown.’ The second form is less formal. The word ‘present’ is not expressed but it is understood.
A younger person is always presented to the older or more distinguished. But a man is invariably presented to a woman, no matter what the difference in age may be. The exceptions to this rule are when a woman is introduced to the President of the United States, to a cardinal, or to a reigning sovereign.
The correct introduction of either man or woman to the President is: ‘Mr. President, I have the honor to present Mr. (Mrs.) Brown.’
To a cardinal, the introduction would be: ‘Your Eminence, may I present Mrs. Brown.’
The introduction to a king or queen is very simple. Only the name of the individual being presented is uttered. The person making the introduction simply says: ‘Mrs. Brown!’
When two women are introduced, the younger woman is presented to the older. If Mrs. Brown is an elderly woman and Mrs. Smith a recent bride, the correct introduction is: ‘Mrs. Brown, do you know Mrs. Smith?’ or, ‘Mrs. Brown, this is Mrs. Smith.’
An unmarried woman is always presented to a married woman in this manner: ‘Mrs. Brown, may I present Miss Smith?’
Similar distinctions are made when introducing men. The younger is presented to the older, the unmarried man to the man who is married. Where there is no difference in age, title, or dignity, the best form for the introduction is: ‘Mr. White, Mr. Brown’ with no particular emphasis on either name.
Source: Eichler, Lillian. The New Book of Etiquette. Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Publishing Company,1941.
~ pp.51-52 ~