When Emily Post initially published her principles on etiquette in 1922, she couldn’t have anticipated just how much would change in the coming century. Now, in 2022, her descendants Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning sought to update their great-great grandmother’s work.
Upon its initial release, Emily Post’s Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home was a topical, comprehensive guide on how to conduct oneself in early 20th century society. Spanning subjects from afternoon teas to debutante balls, the book now acts as a benchmark for just how much social expectations have shifted over the past century.
Over the past hundred years, the book has been revised to keep pace with an ever-evolving cultural landscape. More recent editions have covered uniquely modern predicaments; how much should you be tipping your Uber driver? How to you respond to a passive aggressive comment from Aunt Sally on your Facebook page? The 20th edition, written amid the pandemic, accounts for even more recent shifts in conversations surrounding gender dynamics, internet culture, and of course Covid-19.
The continued revision of the book suggests that people are actively looking for answers to a quintessentially human question; how does one conduct themselves within the constraints of society? Etiquette is certainly not dead and the pursuit of kindness remains a part of gracious living for all of us.