Gentlemen's Guidesby Julie Oreskovich
Imagine giving a modern day young man a handbook telling him how to behave at a dinner party. Or perhaps a manual on the proper ways to court and ultimately marry a young woman. One can only imagine his reaction.
Many guides were published in the 19th century that were useful for a gentleman in his everyday life. Some focused on general advice for young men on such topics as their duties and conduct in various social and work scenarios. Others provided education on recreational activities such as hunting, horse riding, football and croquet.
Many of the etiquette guides and manuals for gentlemen back in the day revolved around the fairer sex. From the customs of courtship to humorous how-to guides to help pick up women, there certainly was no shortage on this subject.
Although some customs employed in the 19th century are no longer relevant, and are even ridiculous today, there are also many that survived into contemporary custom. If you're looking to brush up on your manners and etiquette, any one of the books below will help to make you an outstanding member of society Ė or at least give you a good laugh.
See our selection of Ladies Handbooks.
For the Gentlemen
Etiquette for Men (1920)
by G.R.M. Devereux
A guide including the art of conversation, attending a dance, table etiquette and letter writing.
How to Watch Football (1935)
by Lou Little
Help would-be football fans understand the game as they watch it.
The Perfect Gentleman: A guide to Social Aspirants (1912)
by Graham Harry
A guide to social aspirants.
Manners Makyth Man (1892)
by Edward John Hardy
An anthology illustrating English manners and customs.
Hunting and Practical Hints for Hunting Men (1897)
by George F. Underhill
The etiquette of hunting including the rationale of hunting foxes and stags.
A Pocket Guide To Croquet, Being A Manual Of The Modern "scientific" Game (1899)
by George Herbert Powell
With chapters on the use of the mallet, tactics, etiquette, and the laws of croquet.
Etiquette for Gentlemen - A Guide to the Observances of Good Society
A guide to the observances of good society.
Letís Make Mary: A Gentleman's Guide to Seduction in 8 Easy Lessons (1937)
by Jack Hanley
A humorous "how to guide" for men on how to pick up women.
Gentlemen Behave: Charles Hanson Towne's Book of Etiquette for Men (1939)
Charles Hanson Towne
An etiquette book for gentlemen from an author who enjoyed a long career as a poet, author and editor.
Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms
Thos. E. Hill
An early reference on how to express the right thoughts through written communication.
Advice to Young Men (1849)
Advice to young men on their duties and conduct in life.
The Young Man's Friend (1855)
Daniel C. Eddy
Containing admonitions for the erring; counsel for the tempted, encouragement for the desponding; hope for the fallen.
The Gentlemen Instructed, in the Conduct of a Virtuous and Happy Life (1733)
by William Darrell
An early etiquette guide for the young gentleman including recreations, gambling, clothing, dueling and more.
How Men Propose (1890)
by Agnes Stevens
Divided into sections such as the youthful proposal, the humble proposal, the unsuccessful proposal etc.
The Gentlemanís Stable Directory, or Modern System of Farriery (1788)
Includes equine diseases and injuries, breeding, breaking, shoeing, stabling etc.
The Young Man's Guide (1836)
by William A. Alcott
Strong opionions on tobacco, gaming, shooting, and most other things that might be considered enjoyment.
Advice to Young Men and (Incidentally) to Young Women (1930)
by Earl E. Fisk
Advice including why it's necessary to cure the vices of wives as soon as possible and why book reading is wholly detrimental to young women.
The Young Man's Own Book (1833)
Self-improvement, etiquette manual, popular and much-reprinted in the first half of the 19th century.
The Father and His Boy: The Place of Sex in the Manhood Making (1922)
by T.W. Galloway
Chapters cover areas such as on being a father, why sex education is necessary for boys, the boy and the girl, etc.
The American Gentleman's Guide to Politeness and Fashion (1859)
by Henry Lunettes
Contains rules of etiquette and direction for the formation of character.