A Book of Courtesy: The Art of Living with Yourself and Others

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Harper Collins, May 8, 2001 - Reference - 107 pages
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"Always remember that during your lifetime, the rules of etiquette may change, but courtesy and good manners will always be important."-- from Chapter III, Daily Courtesies

Since the early 1900s the students of a small Dominican School in Northern California received a little book containing simple rules for "the art of living." Written by Sr. Mary Mercedes, O.P., this handbook shows how small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness can help us regain the joy of living. This timeless book combines compelling epigraphs from a diverse pool of great writers and thinkers (including Homer, Oglala Sioux Chief Flying Hawk, and Eleanor Roosevelt) with hints on everything from the art of introductions to suggestions on how to be a good guest, write a letter of condolence, or set a dinner table.

As the world becomes increasingly indifferent to social rules, the sense of etiquette that we once took for granted is fast disappearing. A Book of Courtesy provides a charming, beneficial antidote to this dilemma, restoring the Golden Rule to its rightful place of honor and proving that good etiquette never goes out of style. Here is a practical, reliable guide to proper conduct in every situation.

 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION xiii
A SYMPATHETIC MANNER 1
FRIENDSHIPS 5
DAILY COURTESIES 7
MAINTAINING THE PALACE 9
INTRODUCTIONS 11
CONVERSATIONS 17
COURTESY TO GUESTS 21
CONDUCT IN PLACES OF WORSHIP 51
CONDUCT IN SCHOOL 57
CONDUCT IN THE WORKPLACE 61
ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS 69
STATIONERY ETIQUETTE 75
PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE 83
INVITATIONS AND RESPONSES 95
A LAST WORD ABOUT COURTESY 103

BEING A GUEST 25
AT THE TABLE 31
CONDUCT IN PUBLIC PLACES 45
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 105
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About the author (2001)

Sister Mary Mercedes, O.P. (1871-1965), a Dominican Sister, was a teacher for more than fifty years. She wrote the original Book of Courtesy in 1910 for use at the Dominican Convent Upper School in San Rafael, and later at the San Domenico School in San Anselmo. To honor their fiftieth reunion and the sesquicentennial of the Dominican Sisters in California, the Class of 1950 -- most of them grandmothers, all of them experienced in the joys and sorrows of life and profoundly influenced by this book -- revised Sister Mercedes' original volume in the hope of passing on its wisdom to their grandchildren, who inherit a world sorely in need of her message.

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