Which fork do I use first? A Post for Emily Post

In an age where examples of scandal and ludicrously bad behavior hit the mainstream through the delivery of a poorly planned tweet, it seems easy to concede that etiquette has gone the way of the typewriter. Headed into the annual minefield that my partner and I refer to as wedding season, I picked up the 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette: Manners for a New World thinking I would brush up on place settings and invitation protocol.

What I didn’t expect was how brilliantly the new edition of this classic helps readers navigate the choppy social waters of the modern physical and digital world. Written by Post’s descendants, the new book pays homage to those that came before, but is strengthened by the inclusion of modern social pitfalls such as unfriending someone in the social networking realm, and assisting teens with pressures of cyberbullying and sexting trends. Although I haven’t completed all 698 pages of the work, I put it down feeling I’d learned not only which fork I should pick up first, but also how to be a better young professional and woman.

Interested in learning more about the original Emily Post? The library owns an engrossing biography written by Laura Claridge that takes readers through Emily’s handling of her own scandals and rise to stardom as a manners expert.

If you’re interested in opening up a manners discussion with your kids, check out Jennifer LaRue Huget’s Thanks a LOT, Emily Post! This picture book takes a humorous look at Emily Post’s work but includes lots of  situations that will spark a conversation about proper behavior.

For many of us, scanning 698 pages for the right answer or needed inspiration doesn’t fit into the daily schedule. The Emily Post Institute maintains a fabulous and easy to navigate website that features categorized etiquette help and the easy to use Etipedia that allows browsing for the curious and keyword searching for the determined or desperate.

Finally, check out the blog Emily Post’s Etiquette Daily which is moderated by The Emily Post Institute and fields questions from everyday Americans hoping to handle uncomfortable situations with grace.


Posted by Ashley, Extensions Librarian


Leave a Reply