Fashionable Thanksgiving Dining

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Eleanor Rose

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Dressing for Dinner:

For the Ladies:

Do not dress above your station; it is a grievous mistake, and leads to great evils, besides being the proof of a complete lack of taste.

Do not expose the neck and arms at dinner. (The lady in the pic above is in trouble. :wink:)

For the Gentlemen:

The unvarying uniform is black pants, waistcoat and jacket, with white tie, shirt and gloves.


Seating Arrangements:

It is customary for the host and hostess to be seated opposite each other, at the side of the table, in the center.

Husbands and wives should sit as far as possible from each other. Society is the enlargement, the absorption, and, for the time being, the breaking up of all private and exclusive engagements.


The Before Dinner Interval:

At some point before dinner is announced, the hostess will discreetly point out to each gentleman the lady he will escort to dinner. He shall serve her throughout the meal.


Upon Sitting:

The guests find their places by the names on the place cards and everyone sits down in a gay flutter of talk and laughter.


The Delicate Art of Dinner-Table Conversation:

The conversation should be easy, playful and mirthful.

The rules of politeness are never at variance with the principles of morality. Whatever is really impolite is really immoral.

Do not mention at the table anything that might not properly be placed upon it.


The Etiquette of the Dinner Table:

Eat slowly; it will contribute to your good health as well as your good manners. Thorough mastication of you food is necessary to digestion.

Be moderate in the quantity you eat. You impair your health by overloading the stomach, and render yourself dull and stupid for hours after the meal.


The After-Dinner Interval:

Contrary to the custom of low society, civilized gentlemen do not remain at the table after the ladies have retired, to indulge in wine, coarse conversation, and obscene jokes. The more enlightened practice is for the ladies and gentlemen to retire together from the dining table.

It is expected that guests will linger for two or three hours after the dinner. In any event, no one may politely depart until at least one hour has passed.


After the Dinner:

Within one week, pay a brief "dinner call" to express thanks to your host and hostess, and to briefly reminisce over the delights of the evening. Do not stay for less than ten minutes or more than twenty.


Typical Thanksgiving dinner, right? Yikes! This doesn't even include the obligations of the host and hostess, the proper table settings, the proper behavior of servants and much more.



Source: "The Essential Handbook of Victorian Entertaining" adapted by Autumn Stephens.
 

Zella

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Do not dress above your station; it is a grievous mistake, and leads to great evils, besides being the proof of a complete lack of taste.​
I believe this is what my great-granny liked to call "gittin' above yer raisin'." :giggle:

Some of that advice is hilariously savage and blunt. My other favorites:

The rules of politeness are never at variance with the principles of morality. Whatever is really impolite is really immoral.

Be moderate in the quantity you eat. You impair your health by overloading the stomach, and render yourself dull and stupid for hours after the meal.
 

luinrina

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I'm so glad that I don't have to attend such dinners. I would surely somehow manage to break every piece of advice. :whistling: :D

My favorite quote:
It is expected that guests will linger for two or three hours after the dinner. In any event, no one may politely depart until at least one hour has passed.
IIRC Stonewall Jackson often left immediately after the dinner table has been cleared (not even speaking of him bringing his own food to keep to his diet). He should have read your post, Ellie. :giggle:
 
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Northern Light

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IIRC Stonewall Jackson often left immediately after the dinner table has been cleared (not even speaking of him bringing his own food to keep to his diet). He should have read your post, Ellie. :giggle:
War interrupts the civilities of peacetime behaviour.:eek:
Does this article have a date? It seems to me that Mammy was cross with Scarlett for wearing a dinner dress to an afternoon BBQ.
 

Eleanor Rose

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Does this article have a date? It seems to me that Mammy was cross with Scarlett for wearing a dinner dress to an afternoon BBQ.
As best I can tell it's adapted directly from material written and published by Professor Thomas E. Hill between 1873 and 1890. However, I'm almost certain you're right about that scene in Gone With the Wind.
 

Eleanor Rose

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Check out this site @Northern Light - http://yesterdaysthimble.com/articles/rules-for-victorian-dressing-i/

Below is an excerpt:

Watering-Place Costume

This dress is intended to be worn “in country-houses, at watering-places, or for out-of-door fetes, lawn parties, and other summer festivals.”—Harper’s Bazar, pg 408 (June 28, 1873)

Judging by fashion plates, watering-place costumes are made of lightweight fabrics, but elaborately trimmed, sometimes with a short train. They may, on occasion, be made with an evening neckline and sleeves.

Image-14-WateringPlace-w-136x300.jpg

Watering-Place Costume, 1883​
 
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James N.

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Dressing for Dinner:

For the Ladies:

Do not dress above your station; it is a grievous mistake, and leads to great evils, besides being the proof of a complete lack of taste.

Do not expose the neck and arms at dinner. (The lady in the pic above is in trouble. :wink:)
As best I can tell it's adapted directly from material written and published by Professor Thomas E. Hill between 1873 and 1890...
I'd say closer to the former than the latter, while the illustration is the reverse - by that time the lady in question was quite all right.
 
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nitrofd

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grandiose-dinner-parties-a-remembrance-of-things-past-777x469.jpg

Dressing for Dinner:

For the Ladies:

Do not dress above your station; it is a grievous mistake, and leads to great evils, besides being the proof of a complete lack of taste.

Do not expose the neck and arms at dinner. (The lady in the pic above is in trouble. :wink:)

For the Gentlemen:

The unvarying uniform is black pants, waistcoat and jacket, with white tie, shirt and gloves.


Seating Arrangements:

It is customary for the host and hostess to be seated opposite each other, at the side of the table, in the center.

Husbands and wives should sit as far as possible from each other. Society is the enlargement, the absorption, and, for the time being, the breaking up of all private and exclusive engagements.


The Before Dinner Interval:

At some point before dinner is announced, the hostess will discreetly point out to each gentleman the lady he will escort to dinner. He shall serve her throughout the meal.


Upon Sitting:

The guests find their places by the names on the place cards and everyone sits down in a gay flutter of talk and laughter.


The Delicate Art of Dinner-Table Conversation:

The conversation should be easy, playful and mirthful.

The rules of politeness are never at variance with the principles of morality. Whatever is really impolite is really immoral.

Do not mention at the table anything that might not properly be placed upon it.


The Etiquette of the Dinner Table:

Eat slowly; it will contribute to your good health as well as your good manners. Thorough mastication of you food is necessary to digestion.

Be moderate in the quantity you eat. You impair your health by overloading the stomach, and render yourself dull and stupid for hours after the meal.


The After-Dinner Interval:

Contrary to the custom of low society, civilized gentlemen do not remain at the table after the ladies have retired, to indulge in wine, coarse conversation, and obscene jokes. The more enlightened practice is for the ladies and gentlemen to retire together from the dining table.

It is expected that guests will linger for two or three hours after the dinner. In any event, no one may politely depart until at least one hour has passed.


After the Dinner:

Within one week, pay a brief "dinner call" to express thanks to your host and hostess, and to briefly reminisce over the delights of the evening. Do not stay for less than ten minutes or more than twenty.


Typical Thanksgiving dinner, right? Yikes! This doesn't even include the obligations of the host and hostess, the proper table settings, the proper behavior of servants and much more.



Source: "The Essential Handbook of Victorian Entertaining" adapted by Autumn Stephens.
Who would say grace?
 
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