More than 80 years have passed since Emily Post wrote her first book on etiquette. In 1922, people thought everyone was rude. That attitude is more in the spotlight today, according to Peggy Post, director of the Emily Post Institute.
Post reminds us that manners are not mainly about which fork to use. They are about how we treat each other.
In the workplace, manners begin with simple words like please, thank you and good morning.
During hurried times and difficult times, manners are about maintaining an attitude of respect for others, regardless of what their jobs may be.
When fellow workers feel they are valued, they work better and cooperate more fully. Good manners grease the wheels of an operation.
The updated 2004 version of Emily Post’s Etiquette still gives information on how to properly set the table and hold weddings, funerals and parties. It also urges people to be courteous in their email and to act properly in a theater. Like law and language, etiquette changes with the times.
There have been 17 editions of Etiquette between 1922 and 2004. They have sold more than 2.6 million copies. Unfortunately, libraries report that it’s the second most-stolen book, second only to the Bible.
Post is the subject of a new biography on her life, Emily Post, Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners, by Laura Claridge. Post’s life was not an easy one, but like successful women today, she persevered.