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Vanderbilt, Amy (1908–1974)

Vanderbilt, Amy (1908–1974)

American etiquette expert. Born on July 22, 1908, in Staten Island, New York; died in December 1974 in New York City; daughter of Joseph Mortimer Vanderbilt and Mary Estelle (Brooks) Vanderbilt; attended Institute Heubi, Lausanne, Switzerland, Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, and special student in school of journalism, New York University, 1926–28; married Robert S. Brinkerhoff, in 1929; married Morton G. Clark, in 1935; married Hans Knopf, in 1945; children: (second marriage) Lincoln Clark; (third marriage) Paul Vanderbilt Knopf; Stephen John Knopf.

Worked as society and feature writer for Staten Island Advance (1927–29); was assistant advertising publicity director, H.R. Mallison Co. (1929–30); was an advertising account executive, New York City (1930–33); was a columnist, International News Service, and business and literary manager of American Spectator (1933); worked as home service director, Tower magazines (1934); served as first vice president, Publicity Assos., New York City (1937–40), president (1940–45); was entertaining etiquette advisor, Royal Crest Sterling (1940–64); had a syndicated daily column, "Amy Vanderbilt's Etiquette," United Feature Syndicate (1954–74); was a television host on "It's Good Taste" (1954–56); consultant, Bristol Inc., New York City (1960–65). Author of many books on etiquette.

Amy Vanderbilt wrote a syndicated column on good manners for two decades, from 1954 through 1974, challenging Emily Post 's dominant position in this field in the years after World War II. When Vanderbilt began writing her column, popular culture favored propriety and conservatism, but by the time she died, in 1974, the counterculture was dominant and there was less interest in conforming to "proper" standards. In addition to her syndicated column, Vanderbilt wrote magazine articles and several books on manners. In the 1950s and early 1960s, she also hosted a television show, "It's Good Taste."

Kelly Winters , freelance writer

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