From fashion to cuisine – there were rules and modes of behaviour for everything in the past. And Emily Post, a famous American author, was top at explaining them.

Emily Post (b. 1872) was an author and speaker famous for her books, columns, radio programs, and video tutorials on etiquette. Post grew up in a world of grand estates, cotillions, chauffers, summers at Bar Harbor, and balls in Fifth Avenue mansions. She attended Miss Graham’s finishing school in New York as a teen and wrote her first etiquette book in 1922 called Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home.  It became a best-seller and made her career.

Below is a vintage video starring Emily Post and Virginia Hopkins. It’s a short but wonderful tutorial on table manners, sharing lots of rules and great tips.

We advise you to watch this video more than once in order to learn the most possible. Don’t just pay attention to the rules. Study the ladies’ graceful mannerisms too. It’s rare to see this in today’s media.

Here’s a quick rundown of the do’s and dont’s in this video….


  • Do dip your spoon away from you when eating soup
  • Do hold your bread against the rim of your plate or on your bread and butter plate when buttering it
  • Do place each serving dish passed to you on the table, to the left of your plate, before serving yourself
  • Do place the serving spoon in your right hand and the serving fork in your left when serving yourself
  • Do eat as quietly as possible
  • Do cut small bite-size pieces of your food separately
  • Do eat desserts with both a spoon and a fork when control is needed
  • Do dip the tips of your fingers into a finger-bowl when its provided and then dry them with your napkin
  • Do blow your nose at the table, if you must, but do so inconspicuously and with a fresh handkerchief
  • Do leave the table if you cough for a length of time


  • Do not have more silverware than courses when setting a table
  • Do not stick your little finger out when picking up a cup
  • Do not begin eating until all food from a course is on your plate
  • Do not talk or drink while food is in your mouth
  • Do not light your cigarette at the dinner table when none have been provided at the table
  • Do not do your make-up at the table


“Manners at the most formal dinner party are as exactly the same as they are at home.”

Emily Post