The Loeb College Of Politeness For Customs Officers

An interesting look at rules for customs officers, with particular attention paid to how they should handle a lady’s dainties when going through her bags:

The pupil is also taught to handle the most costly lace, lingerie, and gowns in a way which will leave no cause for complaint from the owner…

“You must be circumspect in your dealings with women,” says the text book. “Remember you come into contact with their most intimate possessions and that your observations and findings should be as sacred and confidential as the privileged communications of a profession. Neither by work nor action, look or gesture must you overstep any of the conventional proprieties that govern the relations of the sexes, if you value your position and your reputation as a man.”

Sidebar: I noticed that the dek uses the conjunction it’s when it should have used the possessive pronoun its. I thought it strange that this slipped by, so I did some research. Apparently, until a few hundred years ago it’s was in fact the proper possessive form for it. You abbreviated it is as ’tis. In the 19th century, ’tis was seen as archaic, and there was a period of overlap before our current usage became the norm. (Sources: 1, 2).

THE LOEB COLLEGE OF POLITENESS FOR CUSTOMS OFFICERS: It’s First Class Was Just Graduated After a Course that It Is Hoped Will Silence Many Complaints of Tourists from Abroad. (PDF)

From July 31, 1910

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