How did people address each other in the 1920s?

Jun 2017
278
maine
#2
It probably depends on where you are. My grandparents (in NY) had known each other very well for over 50 years and always used each others' last names. Growing up in NY, my brothers and I were never allowed to call an adult by his or her first name. I had been taught that calling someone who was more than 20 years older by his/her first name indicated that that person was a servant and not an equal. Today, in Maine, older people bristle (and often refuse to respond) when addressed by their first names by much younger people.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,741
SoCal
#3
AFAIK, married women in the 19th and early 20th centuries were often referred to as "Mrs. [insert husband's first and last name here]". For instance, Grover Cleveland's wife could have been referred to as Mrs. Grover Cleveland. This might have been associated with the old principle of coverture (coverture has since been repealed throughout the US) where women were viewed as taking on the legal identity of their husbands after marriage.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,741
SoCal
#4
AFAIK, married women in the 19th and early 20th centuries were often referred to as "Mrs. [insert husband's first and last name here]". For instance, Grover Cleveland's wife could have been referred to as Mrs. Grover Cleveland. This might have been associated with the old principle of coverture (coverture has since been repealed throughout the US) where women were viewed as taking on the legal identity of their husbands after marriage.
For instance, see here:

The World's work
 
Likes: ThomasMH
Jun 2017
278
maine
#5
AFAIK, married women in the 19th and early 20th centuries were often referred to as "Mrs. [insert husband's first and last name here]". For instance, Grover Cleveland's wife could have been referred to as Mrs. Grover Cleveland. This might have been associated with the old principle of coverture (coverture has since been repealed throughout the US) where women were viewed as taking on the legal identity of their husbands after marriage.
According to the stern training of my childhood mentor, "Mrs. Grover Cleveland" is the German (and correct :)) tradition...perhaps a German can say if this is so. The English tradition--which was the one which came to be accepted--would have been "Mrs. Frances Cleveland". However, according to the socially conscious guide of my childhood,, "Mrs. Frances" was an indication of a divorced woman; correctly (again according to my social mentor) she should have then been known as "Mrs. Folsom Cleveland". People were a lot subtler at playing with names than we--which may be why it is easy to miss so many double-entendres in Shakespeare.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,741
SoCal
#6
According to the stern training of my childhood mentor, "Mrs. Grover Cleveland" is the German (and correct :)) tradition...perhaps a German can say if this is so. The English tradition--which was the one which came to be accepted--would have been "Mrs. Frances Cleveland". However, according to the socially conscious guide of my childhood,, "Mrs. Frances" was an indication of a divorced woman; correctly (again according to my social mentor) she should have then been known as "Mrs. Folsom Cleveland". People were a lot subtler at playing with names than we--which may be why it is easy to miss so many double-entendres in Shakespeare.
Very interesting!

If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,010
US
#7
I am sure family and close friends addressed each other by their first names or nicknames. In my father's family everybody had a family nickname. Often close friends would use this nickname. In more formal settings people were usually referred to as Mr., Mrs., Miss and even sometimes Master for boys. Another area of change is in the area of dress. Look at old pictures and you will see that most people dressed formally even for informal events. My father used to tell me that his uncles dressed in suits, complete with a hat, just to hang out on the street corner.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,606
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#9
In languages other than English you sometimes use a different grammatical person to show respect. In German you then use Sie (third person plural with capital first letter) instead of du, in Russian vy (second person plural) instead of ty and Polish does it a bit differently. If you would want to compliment someone on their Polish, you'd say "pan dobrze mówi po polsku," which literally translates as "the gentleman speaks Polish well". In Slovene we use a system similar to Russian - vi and ti. But in the past there was another, more formal way, where you'd reffer to someone as "oni" ("they", 3rd person plural), which sounds pretty weird as it's like you're speaking aboit someone who isn't even present. Children would adress their parents that way. One of my grandmad did so and she was born in the 40s. My other grandma is a few years younger and didn't do so. I sometimes do it as a joke when reffering to some people.
 

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