Who's Who in the World of Men and Manners

More About Men and Manners

Of Men and Manners...
An 1882 Gent employing a "mustache guard" while enjoying soup.

Why do women say that men have no manners?

 The majority of etiquette rules as we know them today, are rules created over centuries by men worldwide. The following are a few notable examples of men in history, known for their manners.

551-479 BC
"The ancient kings were watchful in regard to the things by which the mind was affected. And so they instituted ceremonies to direct men's aims aright; music to give harmony to their voice; laws to unify their conduct..." Confucius on clarifying manners and civility.

Collin Powell early in his military career

"The use of profane or filthy language is forbidden. A man who cannot express his feelings without profanity is seldom a good leader of men." The Bluejackets Manual 1944

Wally, Eddie, and Ward Cleaver talk college
"Good manners are the instruments that round off the personality of a man so that it is agreeable and it becomes a strong magnet of attraction for fellowship in the business world as well as in campus life."
The Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity 1958

Edward Kennedy's famous nickname denoted his good manners.
The moniker "Duke" was given to him by his friends in grammar school, as they thought he had the mannerisms of royalty. It stuck with him throughout his life.

What? You have never heard of this? Surely you have heard of Duke Ellington. His full name was Edward Kennedy Ellington. The American pianist was considered the greatest jazz composer and bandleader of all time. Ellington composed thousands of scores, and is famous for creating one of the most distinctive ensemble sounds in music history. Oh yes... and he had impeccable manners.

He put the "Man" in Manners

He put the "Man" in Manners
Duke Ellington

George Washington's "Rules of Civility"

Throughout history table manners have been important. Even George Washington, our first President, was told to keep his elbows off of the table. Sure, the language was different then. But the meanings and reasons behind most old rules still are important. In Colonial times, just as today, it was better to “Talk not with meat in your mouth!”

The following are just a few of the rules of civility that George Washington learned in school. He copied these onto pieces of paper and his mother sewed them into a notebook. How would they sound in today’s modern language?

How to be polite while talking to people:
"If you sigh, or yawn, do it not loud but privately. Shake not the head. Roll not the eyes. Do not gnaw your nails. Bedew no man’s face with your spittle, by approaching too near him when you speak."

How to be polite while at the table:
"Before and after drinking, wipe your lips. Breathe not then or ever with too great a noise, for it’s uncivil. Let not the morsels be too big for the gowls."

How to be polite while out and about:
"Play not the peacock, looking everywhere about you, to see if you be well deck’t. Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own
reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company."

What you should do at all times:
"Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."

The "Father of the United States"

The "Father of the United States"
George Washington

The famous Dutchman Erasmus, on "Early Table Manners" ......

A Christian educator, scholar & philosopher, Erasmus of Rotterdam, determined that manners were best instilled at an early age.

Here are a few tidbits from the three century best seller, "On Civility in Children" (c.1530):

"Turn away when spitting lest your saliva fall on someone. If anything purulent falls on the ground, it should be trodden upon, lest it nauseate someone."

"To lick greasy fingers or to wipe them on your coat is impolite. It is better to use the table cloth or the serviette."

"Some people put their hands in the dishes the moment they have sat down. Wolves do that."

"You should not offer your handkerchief to anyone unless it has been freshly washed. Nor is it seemly, after wiping your nose, to spread out your handkerchief and peer into it as if pearl and
rubies might have fallen out of your head."
"If you cannot swallow a piece of food, turn around discreetly and throw it somewhere."

"Do not move back and forth on your chair. Whoever does that gives the impression of constantly breaking or trying to break wind."

Wrote "On Civility in Children"

Wrote "On Civility in Children"
Erasmus of Rotterdam

Who was dubbed the "Father of Courtesy"?

Richard de Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick was "The Father of Courtesy". Born in 1382, the English nobleman fought for Henry IV against Owen Glendower and the Percys. In 1408 he set out for the Holy Land, visiting monarchs and fighting in a tournament en route; he made a similarly active return trip through various other parts of Europe. Upon his return to England in 1410, Beauchamp performed several royal missions, including that as chief English lay envoy to the Council of Constance. He fought with notable success in Henry V's French campaigns and on Henry's death in 1422, became a member of the council for the infant Henry VI. He then served as tutor to the young king from 1428 to 1437, when he was appointed the lieutenant of Normandy & Fance . Richard de Beauchamp was a man of piety and courtesy and was famed in Europe as a chivalrous knight. His daughter Anne married and brought the earldom to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. He died in 1439.

Known across Europe for courtesy.

Known across Europe for courtesy.
The Father of Courtesy


  1. I have looked up to so many men in my life. These are great as guides for young men growing up now. They can see that manners knows no culture or social boundaries.


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