Templates for "Notes of Invitation": Impacts on Minorities and Education

Templates for "Notes of Invitation" from Gaskell's Compendium (1882)

Templates for "Notes of Invitation"

This section on notes of invitation, gives clear instruction on how to properly write formal invitations in the contemporary style for 1882.  The section has several templates for different types of invitations such as party invitations, or for dinner.  There are detailed instructions on how to receive and send letters, including how the letters are to be addressed and to be mailed including how they are to be received by private messengers.  There are also grammatical formalities such as the use of the third person in these invitations. The instructions for invitations include writing styles for a person as important as the president, suggesting that this guide was for use by people of high social status.  Many of these instructions include the type of paper to use and to use woodcut and print if at all possible.

This example of writing in proper etiquette demonstrates a fundamental divide in the education of the upper class compared to education received by those of lower social status. This work is clearly aimed at the highly educated people of importance because of the types of letter associated with it.  Templates for "Notes of Invitation" assumes that many of the people receiving these letters would have personal messengers to bring them their letters.  Another indication of the status of the recipients is the expectation of membership to a college or society that can afford woodcuts for letters.  This guide was very well decorated and the sides of its pages were colored gold further indicating how it was meant for a more exclusive audience.  This is in extreme contrast to what the Native american education was at the time in mission or industrial schools. The exclusive nature of this book means that it was .  We know that Native Americans were able to get college educations and succeed as evidenced by Zitkala Sa’s successful writing career. However, etiquette books like this may not have been taught because of their race, and an expectation that Native Americans would never climb in social status. This expectation is clearly shown in Zitkala Sa’s account of her writing competition where she was states, “Here again was a strong prejudice against my people.” Despite this being a public event where she is a representative of her university she is expected to lose and openly mocked for her race despite her qualifications.  Until she wins the prejudice is still very clear as she still “saw the white flag still floating insolently in the air.”  Zitkala Sa was college educated and would go on to be a famous writer, but even then she expected to be less educated that her white peers.  Exclusive works like Gaskell's Compendium of Forms, Social, Educational, Legal & Commercial form which this excerpt comes created a barrier to education that was even greater than basic schooling.  This artificial barrier attempts to justify expansion and forcibly educating people despite this education not teaching etiquette like this.

Templates for "Notes of Invitation": Impacts on Minorities and Education