News Release - March 7, 2008

For Immediate Release: March 7, 2008

Contact: Sherri Eng (415) 557-4282

Minding Your P's and Q's - The world of etiquette on display at the Main Library

Charm School: Ill-Mannered Selections from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor, takes the reader on a quirky tour of the world of etiquette in our "civilized society." In an age when politicians and pundits freely express their vulgar behavior in public, is bad behavior just something the rest of us are forced to put up with? Or can we really maintain a civil society by curbing rudeness and employing a civil demeanor? It is refreshing to note that the demise of a well-behaved society has been the subject of discourse and predictions for well over 600 years. Society has suffered through more ups and downs in mangled manners and frightened horses, but just when we think we're all headed to hell in a hand basket, a new etiquette book arrives to save us from ourselves.

The books and materials on display are the height of incivility, a mirror reflecting the need for a little etiquette training, but mainly serve as a showcase of amusing selections drawn from the Schmulowitz Collection. Charm School will be on display April 1-May 31 in the Skylight Gallery on the Sixth Floor of the Main Library. Also on view: When in Rome...Travel Etiquette on the Third Floor in the General Collections & Humanities Center; and It's a Spoon, Not a Shovel, a collection of children's etiquette books, in the Children's Center on the Second Floor.

On April 23, the ladies of Pod Post will present, "Crooked Correspondence-A Beginner's Primer: from A to Z." Every letter of the alphabet gets a startling new treatment beginning with a list of saucy adjectives. Participants will compose postcards to loved ones based on Victorian "alphagram" games. The Pod Post is comprised of Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler, San Francisco book artists, zinesters, and renowned mail art practitioners. The program begins at 6 p.m. in the Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room at the Main Library.

The Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor (SCOWAH) is a unique library resource located in the Book Arts & Special Collections Center of the Main Library. This non-circulating research collection focuses on the humorous treatment of practically everything. Presented as a gift to the San Francisco Public Library in 1947 by Nat Schmulowitz-attorney, bibliophile, and humanitarian-the collection is considered the largest wit and humor collection in a public library. The annual SCOWAH exhibition, which opens every April Fools' Day, is a tribute to Schmulowitz's generosity and lifelong interest in the Library, and highlights some of the treasures that may be found in the collection.

The exhibition and program are free and open to the public. For more information, please call (415) 557-4277.

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