Bringing manners and etiquette back to the future

Remember a time long, long ago…way back in the ‘50s?  Not the 1650s, the 1750s or even the 1850s but the good old 1950s when children went to charm school, finishing school, or attended some other form of “manners class” where girls became ladies and boys became gentlemen. Often times, the training was offered as part of the school curriculum. 

“You don’t see that much anymore,” says Jonnie Fox Flanagan, an independent etiquette consultant, founder and director of The Magnolia School of Etiquette. 

Flanagan was born and raised in New Orleans where southern manners are “your calling card,” she recalls. “Civility and manners are as important today as they ever were and we are often judged by something as simple as how we hold our fork to the strength of our handshake.”

The world has forever changed with the technological advances of the internet and cellular communications industry. 

“There is an entire separate set of etiquette rules that apply to electronic communications and these rules can make or break friendships, romances, professions and family dynamics,” Flanagan states. 

Combining her southern heritage, employment history in marketing, advertising sales, and professional sports, and an appreciation for the timeless affords of grace, etiquette and protocol, Flanagan embarked on the launching of her new school. 

“I have always been passionate about social and dining etiquette,” says Jonnie. “I wrote my high school term paper on the subject forty years ago. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”   

With comprehensive training and tutelage under Sue Fox (no relation), founder of Etiquette Survival, and one of the leading etiquette education experts in the country, and a Certificate of Completion in Professional Table Manners from The Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette, Inc., Flanagan founded The Magnolia School of Etiquette and Protocol. 

We offer etiquette enrichment classes with emphasis on social and dining skills to K-12, charter and magna schools, community venues,  and various groups from ages 5-Adult.  “A minimum of six students is required to make up a class so it can be fun to get a group of your friends, a brownie troop, or a mix of male/females to role play during the training,” says Flanagan. 

Charming Winsome

Winsome Hooper and Jack Newton’s romance took place during W.W.II. Even during the tumultuous times, the couple was able to discover each other.

A photograph of Hooper was on display in Yousuf Karsh’s studio. Hooper – who had graduated from MacDonald College in St-Anne – had been chosen by Karsh as a model. Young, dapper Newton came into Karsh’s studio and was bowled over by the display photograph of Hooper, hanging on the wall. Newton was smitten and was instantly attracted and curious abut the young beauty – he had to find her.

Charming Winsome, as she was called, liked being a model, but one day, she took a class on how to change a tire. This was unusual for these times. Her story ended up in the local newspapers. She was an ambitious and bold role model for young woman.

11 Responses to "Bringing manners and etiquette back to the future"

  1. Name   October 2, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Ahhh, the good ol’ South, back at a time where manners dictated that Blacks never stepped out of line in any percieved form of disrespect to any White person lest he should be hung from the most conveniently nearest tree branch.

  2. Manners for everyone   October 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Its sad to say that in today’s society so many children and adults are not one bit courteous and definitely lack manners. There are so many rude kids out there its a disgrace to America. I instill in my children manners and courtesy, I wish more parents took the time to do so. The world would be a better place.

  3. Manners Matter   October 12, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Teaching manners, social skills and ballroom dance to children 5th – 9th grade can sometimes be a challenge simply because they have not lived enough of life to understand the value of what they are being taught. However, over the past 15 years, we have seen and heard from so many of our former students who have thanked us for teaching them these valuable skills. The older they get, the more life changes for them and they realize how important it is to have good manners and social skills. What I believe is sad, is that more parents do not reinforce at home what we teach at Junior Manners Cotillion.

  4. Just passing through.   October 27, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Dear "Name", thank you for your ill-mannered, off-topic shot from the Left. Ahhh, the good ol’ Left, always dictating that Americans never profess that there is anything wonderful at all about our nation lest he or she (my gesture of manners toward your undoubted obsession with political correctness) be hanged (correct usage of the verb that you toyed with) from the nearest secular monument. Good manners never killed any black Americans. That was the result of thinking that some people are less human than others. You could call that intolerance and that is what you seemed to be filled with toward whites and anyone who values manners. Practice good manners and common courtesy and you will make life better for all. Troll through the internet and cram evil into every decent pocket of discussion and you make life worse for all, especially yourself. Now, in keeping with good manners, I must thank you for your time and pardon myself for having invited myself into this discussion. Good day to you.

  5. No name   October 31, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Just passing through wrote:

  6. Curious   October 31, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Just passing through??

    That’s the exact definition of a Troll. Hmmm, it looks like The Valley News is pretty loose on its’ policy regarding comments after all.

  7. Name   October 31, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    "hanged (correct usage of the verb…)"

    Hung or hanged; really the correct usage of the verb did not matter to the person who was dangling from the end of the rope back in the days when "southern manners" created creatures like the person who is Just passing through.

    Talk about evil. Society does not need such sociopathic monsters who so willingly camouflage its

  8. northerner   March 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    You people really need to lighten up and stay focused on the positive things that the article and implications that your evil words and thoughts bring forward and retrieve from the past… Lol

  9. Here's to NO future.   May 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I’m curious to see where manners lie in the future. Will we continue to say please an thank you, if parents aren’t reinforcing any manners onto their children where will manner be if they are only carried out by older generations. When these generations have out lived their time who continues the cycle of tradition?

    Some people accept the fact having your head buried in your phone or even in your hand while in conversation with someone is socially accepted, so many people are doing it does that mean we have grown to accept this?

    Is it safe to say that the future that is waiting for us is filled with poor manners and horrible technology etiquette where traditional values and manners are obsolete?

    What does the future hold for manners? HELP!

  10. Hi   May 24, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I think manners have become phased out. I work in retail and very rarily do people say thank you. Furthermore when enetering stores people don’t even respond to a greeting which if find is very rude. I feel that the nature of manners these day is the thinline between what is socially acceptable and what is not.

  11. Anon   May 27, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Etiquette has changed significantly over time, even during my lifetime. When we were kids in the 90s-2000s, we had it ingrained in us that you had to say your pleases and thank yous. While these are still common today, many other forms of etiquette have changed. I would say this is mostly due to technology, because it can be distracting and draws people away from things such as family dinners. As well, at gatherings, I always make the joke, "I love it when people come over to my house to play on their phones." It makes people laugh but it’s so true! Our desire for instantaneous approval or entertainment has made us rude, impatient and without a good understanding of etiquette. This definitely needs to change.


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