Friday, January 11, 2013

1913 - Smoking a disgrace to American Womanhood

The Washington Times
January 11 1913

Manager of Ritz-Carlton Frowns on Objections
of W.C.T.U.
Reformers Attack Society Matrons for
Puffing at Dainty

Mrs. Edward T. Stotesbury
It's nobody's business who smokes at the sensational dinners given by Mrs. Edward T. Stotesbury, wealthy Philadelphia society woman, in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, for Washington and Philadelphia guests.

This is the view of Manager H. Bonner, of the hotel, in connection with the formal protest of the Women's Christian Temperance Union against the fad introduced by Mrs. Stotesbury, whose recent entertainments have startled society in Washington and other cities.

Hostess Is Silent.

Mrs. Stotesbury herself has mad no comment or reply to the protest of the W.C.T.U. in Baltimore at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Walter Brooks (her second husband was Douglas MacArthur), the Philadelphia society matron is denying herself to reporters, although it is said she may not have received the communication sent out by Mrs. E. Flate, secretary of the Philadelphia, W.C.T.U.

Mr. Bonner disclaims any knowledge of the letter.  on the other hand, he makes no secret of the smoking, and he seems to think it is nobody's business but that of the smokers, not even his.

Sure They Smoked.

"Of course women smoked at Mrs. Stotesbury's dinner," Said Mr. Bonner.  "There was no reason why they shouldn't smoke if they wanted to.  The cigarettes, were placed on the tables as a matter of course.

"Women are permitted to smoke in the dining rooms of the hotel if they want to, and they will be permitted to smoke at all times, so far as the management is concerned."

Mrs. Peacock, president of the Philadelphia W.C.T.U. objects to the smoking.

"The protest to Mrs. Stotesbury, about allowing women guests at her entertainment to smoke was made because of her position as a leader in society here," said Mrs. Peacock.  "Reports were made by various members of the union that smoking is a common practice among women in society, and it was felt that such a disgrace on our American womanhood should not be permitted..

Wants Practice Stopped.

"We felt that if we could influence Mrs. Stotesbury as a leader in the smart set, to frown on the practice at her affairs, others would follow her lead and remove this blot on our civilization.

"Accounts of women smoking at the diner in the Ritz-Carlton were circulated broadcast, without any comment condemning the disgrace.  It is bad enough to have our young men destroying their health and morals by this vicious practice, but the disgrace is even greater when our women adopt it."

"Why shouldn't we smoke, if we want to?  asked a fashionable young matron who was told of the W.C.T.U. protest.  "The women of all other countries do it.  And for that matter, it is only about three generations since the women of this country smoked corncob pipes and nobody thought it was improper.  Cigarettes aren't going to hurt us."

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