The Perfect Hostess. With an Introduction by Frank Crowninshield. Decorated by Alfred E. Taylor.
Heaton, Rose Henniker.

New York: Dutton, [1931]/ First U.S. edition. With frontispiece and illustrations on all but a few pages. In the original illustrated dust jacket with publisher’s ads printed on back and lower inside flap. Foxing to endpapers and some toning to margins. A very good copy in a scarce dust jacket, also in very good condition Publisher’s boards with purple crosshatch pattern and flowers. Printed paper labels on cover and spine. . xxii pp., 160 pp. (Item ID: 16679)


The Perfect Hostess covers a plethora of etiquette-related topics in a witty tone with lively illustrations by the English cartoonist Alfred E. Taylor. Some of the topics are humorously specific, like “Lady Hermione Sniffit conceives the fiendish Idea of embarrassing her future Daughter-in-law” (p. 20) and “Miss Eighteen borrows the Attic for her First Studio Party for her young friends from the Slade” (p. 110). Also included are quotes from historical figures, jokes, and short poems.

We could not find much information on the London-born writer Rose Henniker Heaton Porter (1884 -?), but aside from The Perfect Hostess, she also published a biography of her politician father Sir John Henniker Heaton (1848-1914). In his introduction to the present book, Vanity Fair founding editor Frank Crowninshield praises the author for her “wholly original angle” on writing about etiquette, for her humor, and for her understanding of “an old truth, inborn in gentle folk, unknown to snobs—that the secret of good manners is consideration for others” (pp. vii-xi).

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