Part 3 of an ongoing series ~
Who knew? Tobacco use in the nineteenth century might surprise you! Without today’s health warnings, tobacco became a favorite vice among men and women of all ages (including children). Numerous vintage sources paint an accurate backdrop of cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, chewing tobacco, etc., dispelling the myths surrounding tobacco use throughout the American nineteenth century.
Flirting, during the American Victorian era, was often deemed in poor taste (and a sign of low-breeding). Men and women in large cities found a way around the censure–they flirted in the personals column of newspapers. Examples illustrate the personals used requesting an introduction (or interview), private and secretive communications, and to find a lady to begin a courtship. Mother (and/or chaperones) may not have approved…but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.
19th Century young ladies (and gentlemen) learned a great deal about etiquette from their mothers, finishing schools, and from the societal expectations around them. The true art of conversation was a significant skill taught and expected within society, whether Philadelphia’s Old Money or the rural frontier. After all, conversation was a key element of an evening’s entertainment, courtship, and the Victorian Era’s social expectations.