Hat Etiquette of the Victorian Era

Hat Etiquette of the Victorian Era

Image: Paragraph from Book of Etiquette by Lillian Eichler, 1922, Part 1 of 2.

HATS OFF TO VICTORIAN LADIES

INSULTING

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For a man to touch his hat to a woman is an insult unless he be a servant–as a coachman receiving an order from his mistress–when he acknowledges the order by touching the brim of his hat with his hand. Did more men appreciate that they were giving the “coachman’s salute” to a woman, mortification rather than courtesy might prevent a repetition of the offense. (Everyday Etiquette: A Practical Manual of Social Usages by Marion Harland and Virginia Van de Water (1905), pp 190-191) [emphasis added with boldface type]

Street Introductions and Hat Etiquette

 

Kristin Holt | Bowler Hat, often doffed by men as they demonstrate Hat Etiquette.

HAT ETIQUETTE

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Don’t forget to raise your hat to every lady acquaintance you meet, and to every gentleman you salute, when he is accompanied by a lady, whether you know her or not. (Quoted from Don’t by Oliver Bell Bounce, 1884)

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~Manners and Morals of Victorian America by Wayne Erbsen, page 56

Kristin Holt | Top Hat, as doffed with proper Hat Etiquette

REMOVING THE HAT

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A gentleman never sits in the house with his hat on in the presence of ladies for a single moment. Indeed, so strong is the force of habit, that a gentleman will quite unconsciously remove his hat on entering a parlor, or drawing-room, even if there is no one present but himself.

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~ Source: DECORUM: A practical treatise on Etiquette & Dress of the Best American Society 1879, published by Westvaco [1979]. p 238

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This paragraph, in The Perfect Gentleman by A Gentleman, 1860, continues: People who sit in the house with their hats on are to be suspected of having spent the most of their time in barrooms and similar places.

~Manners and Morals of Victorian America by Wayne Erbsen, page 56

IN ELEVATORS

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Is it rude for a man not to remove his hat when a lady enters an elevator?

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If it is an office or business elevator, perhaps not. But the courtesy is always advisable; when in doubt, raise the hat. (Quoted from The Home Manual by John A. Logan, 1889)

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~Manners and Morals of Victorian America by Wayne Erbsen, page 57

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HATS OFF TO MEN

TAKING OFF YOUR HAT

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If there is any man whom you wish to conciliate, you should make a point of taking off your hat to him as often as you meet him. people are always gratified by respect, and they generally conceive a good opinion of the understanding of one who appreciates their excellence so much as to respect it. Such is the irresistible effect of an habitual display of this kind of manner, that perseverance in it will often conquer enmity and obliterate contempt.

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~ Source: DECORUM: A practical treatise on Etiquette & Dress of the Best American Society 1879, published by Westvaco [1979]. p 143

Kristin Holt | Image: Men greeting one another, Hat Etiquette

Men greeting one another. Source.

The hat is gracefully lifted from the head, brought to the level of the chest, and the body inclined forward, and then replaced in passing. [emphasis added]

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Men do not raise hats to one another, save out of deference to an elderly person, a person of note, or a clergyman. (Quoted from A Dictionary of Etiquette by Walter Cox Green, 1904)

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~Manners and Morals of Victorian America by Wayne Erbsen, page 56

HAT FLOURISHING

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Elaborate hat-flourishing is often erroneously supposed to indicate “good manners” (Charles Dickens, All Year Round, 1884)

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~Manners and Morals of Victorian America by Wayne Erbsen

PUBLIC PLACES

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TRAVEL BY RAIL

 

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On a railroad a man removes his hat in a parlor-car, but not in a day coach. (Quoted from A Dictionary of Etiquette by Walter Cox Green, 1904)

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~Manners and Morals of Victorian America by Wayne Erbsen, page 153

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Never nod to a lady in the street but take off your hat; it is a courtesy her sex demands. (Quoted from Good Manners for All Occasions by Margaret Elizabeth Munson Sangster, 1910)

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In bowing to a woman it is not enough that you touch your hat; you must take it entirely off. (Quoted from Laws of Etiquette, or Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct in Society by a Gentleman, 1836) [bold added for emphasis]

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~Manners and Morals of Victorian America by Wayne Erbsen, page 57 (emphasis added with bold type)

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