When Manners Mattered

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Selections from History in Small Spaces the upcoming exhibition of large format archival pigment prints July 17-21, TypeCon 2008, Buffalo, New York.

The desire for getting along in polite society have long tempted the fancy of aspiring souls, following are the musings of beautiful and enchanting young Undine Spragg, newcomer to the travails of the cosmopolitan dream:

"She went to the window, and drawing back its many layers of lace gazed eastward down the long brown-stone perspective. Beyond the Park lay Fifth Avenue–and Fifth Avenue was where she wanted to be!

She had read in the 'Boudoir Chat' of one of the Sunday papers that the smartest women were using the new pigeon-blood note-paper with white ink; and rather against her mother's advice she had ordered a large supply, with her monogram in silver. It was a disappointment, however, to that Mrs. Fairford wrote on the old-fashioned white sheet, without even a monogram–simply her address and telephone number."–Edith Wharton, The Custom of the Country, 1913, The Library of America edition published by arrangement with Charles Scribner and Sons.

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