Emily Post

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Emily Post
Emily Post cph.3b09855.jpg
BornEmily Price
about (1872-10-27)October 27, 1872
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
DiedSeptember 25, 1960(1960-09-25) (aged 87)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting placeSt. Mary's-in-Tuxedo Episcopal Church Cemetery, Tuxedo Park, New York, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, Founder of The Emily Post Institute
EducationFinishing school
SpouseEdwin Main Post (1892–1905)
RelativesElizabeth Post, Peggy Post, Bruce Price

Emily Post (née Price; c. October 27, 1872 – September 25, 1960) was an American author, novelist, and socialite, famous for writing about etiquette.

Brooklyn Museum – Emily Post – Emil Fuchs

Early life[edit]

Post was born Emily Bruce Price in Baltimore, Maryland, possibly in October 1872.[1] The precise date is unknown.[2][a] Her father was the architect Bruce Price, famed for designing luxury communities. Her mother Josephine (Lee) Price of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was the daughter of a wealthy coal baron. After being educated at home in her early years, Price attended Miss Graham's finishing school in New York after her family moved there.[3]

The New York Times' Dinitia Smith reports, in her review of Laura Claridge's 2008 biography of Post,[4]

Emily was tall, pretty and spoiled. [...] She grew up in a world of grand estates, her life governed by carefully delineated rituals like the cotillion with its complex forms and its dances — the Fan, the Ladies Mocked, Mother Goose — called out in dizzying turns by the dance master.[1]

Price met her future husband, Edwin Main Post, a prominent banker, at a ball in a Fifth Avenue mansion. Following their wedding in 1892 and a honeymoon tour of Europe, they lived in New York's Washington Square. They also had a country cottage, named "Emily Post Cottage", in Tuxedo Park, which was one of four Bruce Price Cottages she inherited from her father. The couple moved to Staten Island and had two sons, Edwin Main Post Jr. (1893) and Bruce Price Post (1895).[5]

Emily and Edwin divorced in 1905 because of his affairs with chorus girls and fledgling actresses, which made him the target of blackmail.[5]


When her two sons were old enough to attend boarding school, Post began to write. She produced newspaper articles on architecture and interior design, as well as stories and serials for magazines including Harper's, Scribner's, and The Century. She wrote five novels: Flight of a Moth (1904), Purple and Fine Linen (1905), Woven in the Tapestry (1908), The Title Market (1909), and The Eagle's Feather (1910).[3] In 1916, she published By Motor to the Golden Gate – a recount of a road trip she made from New York to San Francisco with her son Edwin and another companion.[6]

Post wrote in various styles, including humorous travel books, early in her career. She published her first etiquette book Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home (1922, frequently referenced as Etiquette) when she was 50;[1] it became a best-seller, with updated versions continued to be popular for decades, and it made her career.[7] After 1931, Post spoke on radio programs and wrote a column on good taste for the Bell Syndicate; it appeared daily in some 200 newspapers after 1932.[8]

In her review of Claridge's 2008 biography of Post,[4] The New York Times' Dinitia Smith explains the keys to Post's popularity:[1]

Such books had always been popular in America: the country’s exotic mix of immigrants and newly rich were eager to fit in with the establishment. Men had to be taught not to blow their noses into their hands or to spit tobacco onto ladies’ backs. Arthur M. Schlesinger, who wrote “Learning How to Behave: A Historical Study of American Etiquette Books” in 1946, said that etiquette books were part of “the leveling-up process of democracy,” an attempt to resolve the conflict between the democratic ideal and the reality of class. But Post’s etiquette books went far beyond those of her predecessors. They read like short-story collections with recurring characters, the Toploftys, the Eminents, the Richan Vulgars, the Gildings and the Kindharts.

In 1946, Post founded The Emily Post Institute, which continues her work.


Post died in her New York City apartment in 1960 at the age of 87.[8] She was buried in the cemetery at St. Mary's-in-Tuxedo Episcopal Church in Tuxedo Park, New York.[9]


Emily Post's name has become synonymous, at least in North America, with proper etiquette and manners. More than half a century after her death, her name is still used in titles of etiquette books.[10] Laura Claridge wrote a book addressing that topic: Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners (2008), the first full-length biography of the author.[11]

Emil Fuchs' portrait of Post (ca. 1906) is on display at the Brooklyn Museum.[12]

Frank Tashlin featured Post's caricature (emerging from her etiquette book and scolding England's King Henry VIII about his lack of manners) in his cartoon Have You Got Any Castles? (1938).

In the 1939 Three Stooges short Three Sappy People, Moe reminds Larry of Emily Post manners while dining.

In the 1943 Warner Bros. cartoon A Corny Concerto, in the section "Tales from the Vienna Woods", Bugs Bunny shows a book entitled Emily Post Etiquette, then turns to a page that states "It ain't polite to point!" after which he slams the book shut on a hound's nose.

In 1950, Pageant named her the second most powerful woman in America, after Eleanor Roosevelt.[1]

On May 28, 1998, the USPS issued a 32¢ stamp featuring Post as part of the Celebrate the Century stamp sheet series.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Primary documents conflict with the birthdate she usually gave, October 27, 1872. The burial records of her brother, William Lee Price, who died in infancy, give his dates as 18 April 1873–6 December 1875. But he can't have been born five months and 21 days after his sister. That she was born six months after him is equally unlikely. So something is awry, and it's unresolvable from primary records. However, it seems less likely that a contemporary burial record of a two-year-old got his birth year wrong than that an adult used an erroneous birth date.[original research?]


  1. ^ a b c d e Smith, Dinitia (October 16, 2008). "BOOKS OF THE TIMES: She Fine-Tuned the Forks of the Richan Vulgars". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Claridge, Laura (2008). Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners. Random House. p. 16.
  3. ^ a b Greenberg, Brian; Watts, Linda S.; Greenwald, Richard A.; Reavley, Gordon; George, Alice L.; Beekman, Scott; Bucki, Cecelia; Ciabattari, Mark; Stoner, John C.; Paino, Troy D.; Mercier, Laurie; Hunt, Andrew; Holloran, Peter C.; Cohen, Nancy (October 23, 2008). Social History of the United States [10 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598841282 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b Claridge, Laura (2008). Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners. Random House.
  5. ^ a b Claridge, Laura (2008). Emily Post. New York: Random House. pp. 3–5, 165–70. ISBN 978-0-375-50921-6.
  6. ^ Post, Emily (1916). By Motor to the Golden Gate. New York and London: D. Appleton and Company.
  7. ^ "Emily Post". InfoPlease. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Emily Post Is Dead Here at 86; Writer Was Arbiter of Etiquette". The New York Times. Associated Press. September 27, 1960. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  9. ^ "Memorial for Emily Post". Find a Grave. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  10. ^ "Weddings". EmilyPost.com. Archived from the original on April 2, 2007.
  11. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (October 20, 2008). "Place Settings". The New Yorker.
  12. ^ "Brooklyn Museum". www.brooklynmuseum.org. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  13. ^ "Women Subjects on United States Postage Stamps". USPS. July 2021. Retrieved September 25, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Claridge, Laura. Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners (Random House, 2008), a standard biography
  • Gale, Robert L. "Post, Emily" American National Biography (1999) online, a short scholarly biography
  • Hall, Dennis. "Modern and Postmodern Wedding Planners: Emily Post's" Etiquette in Society"(1937) and Blum & Kaiser's" Weddings for Dummies"(1997)." Studies in Popular Culture 24.3 (2002): 37-48. online
  • Myers, Nancy. "Rethinking Etiquette: Emily Post’s Rhetoric of Social Self-Reliance for American Women." in Rhetoric, History, and Women's Oratorical Education (Routledge, 2013), pp 189–207.
  • Post, Edwin M. Truly Emily Post (1961), a standard biography

External links[edit]