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‘My Home’ Etiquette Book

The ‘My Home’ Book of Etiquette and Entertaining by Lady Troubridge, 1938


By Noel Campbell

Description

This Book of Etiquette booklet was presented with the March, 1938 edition of ‘My Home’. ‘My Home’ was an English home and lifestyle women’s magazine. It contains thirty two pages of extracts taken from the original The Book of Etiquette which was written by Lady Troubridge in 1926. The 1938 booklet has a 23cm long and 17cm wide red cover depicting a bride in her wedding dress. Its contents are listed on the cover and include helpful tips for the bride, the hostess, the writing of difficult letters, invitations and announcements and the technique of table manners. All internal pages have one or more black and white ink drawings of best practice in social interactions.

What do we know about the author?

Laura, Lady Troubridge, was the author of The Book of Etiquette (London, 1926). She was born in London in 1867 and married Sir Thomas Herbert Cochrane Troubridge, fourth Baronet, in 1893. Lady Troubridge died in 1946. Earlier books of etiquette had been written such as Lillian Eichler’s Book of Etiquette (New York, 1921) but Lady Troubridge’s book focused on a British audience.

 

Etiquette in 1930s High Society

Lady Troubridge’s detailed tips on etiquette shine light on what was expected of a young couple in the 1930s. The bride-to-be is supplied with many hints to help her on her career toward the altar. The bride is made certain that her family is the most important family at a wedding and the family of her husband to be should play a secondary role in many aspects. Lady Troubridge does however advise that the bridegroom be consulted on who should be invited to the wedding. It is of course a graceful act to invite the Vicar’s wife.

The bride’s mother is asked not to carry a bouquet as “that is no longer the mode”. The older bride of forty years and over, whose wedding will most probably be a “quiet” one, is also catered for. The next chapter seamlessly flows into the topic of motherhood where young mothers are prompted to “look motherly and respectful”.

Advice on how to write complaints to a tradesman and how to give cocktail and sherry parties is dispensed with detail as are etiquette details for communicating with your doctor as “medical etiquette is rigidly strict and little known to the lay mind”. The chapter entitled “Things to Teach your Little Maid” is preceded by “The Technique of Table-Manners”. Here Lady Troubridge admits that while shell-fish are puzzling, luckily there are rules to govern how one approaches a shell-fish dish. Which utensil to use with various dishes is summed up thus, “the modern idea seems to be to dispense with a spoon whenever possible”.

How did the NMI acquire this object?

This object was donated to the NMI in 2008. It belonged to the donor’s late mother who was born in Wexford town in 1913.

 

Learn More

Eichler, Lillian, 1921. Book of Etiquette, New York: Nelson Doubleday

Troubridge, Laura, Lady, 1926. The Book of Etiquette, London: Associated Bookbuyers' Company

http://www.thepeerage.com/ (for genealogy of Lady Troubridge)

http://www.georgefredericwatts.org (for painting of Laura Gurney, c.1880, later Lady Troubridge)