Things of Interest: A Resource Guide for Service Slaves and Households

In the great world around us, which many in our life style refer to as the Vanilla World, there exists many resources that are valid and well worth our time. In the Season of Gift Giving, this may be a great alternative list of fabulous gifts that will be treasured. Please peruse this list of Books about Leadership, Books about Service, Books of interest about relationships, Lifestyle Training and Etiquette books, Books and Items of General Interest, and Movies, Drama Series, Documentaries


Books about Leadership:

Developing the Leader within You by John C. Maxwell – A terrific overview and discussion of the qualities of leadership, including examinations of Power, Authority and leadership; the exercise of each; and how the interrelate.

The Servant: A Simple Story about True Essence of Leadership by James C. Hunter – This book has it all: straightforward discussions of what Leadership and Authority mean and how to best develop and use them – “set within a larger context of spirituality and personal fulfillment”.

Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgram – This is a classic psychological study that examines a lot of the factors that create environments in which people will follow those in Authority. It is a rather dry book, and the preface, initial parameters of the experiments and conclusions are probably of most use to those of us in the lifestyle.

Military Manuals and Protocols for Officers – google is your friend

The Rule of Saint Benedict – This is an interesting read in that it describes the structural foundation for Monastic societies in Medieval Europe. It may not seem to relate to our lifestyle, but it addresses many of the issues we need to address – how to build a successful community (Household); how to lead with humility; how to recruit and integrate new members; how to maintain harmony; how to maintain order; how to create and maintain a consistent scheduled existence; how to be productive; how to apply discipline. You may want to flip past rising at 3 am for prayers.

Books about Service:

Rose: My Life In Service by Rosina Harrison. Recollections of the life of the personal Lady’s Maid to Lady Astor.

Gentlemen’s Gentlemen by Rosina Harrison. Nostalgic notes from the days when everyone knew their place.

The House Servant’s Directory by Robert Roberts. This book was written in 1827 by an African American man-servant. It is a good book on basic service and a great read.

A Butler’s Life: Scenes from The Other Side of the Silver Salver by Christopher Allen. A fun book but teaches proper protocol and many helpful hints.

The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea by Helen Simpson. This book captures all the expertise of the Ritz’s Tea Ceremony with recipes.

Butler’s & Household Managers: 21st Century Professionals by Steven M. Ferry. Wonderful info book for the modern day servant. Lots of checklists that can be used.

The Complete Servant, by Samuel & Sarah Adams. A fascinating source of history and a guide to the “Downstairs” way of life written in 1825. The authors were 50 years in service, starting as the lowest menials and ending as Housekeeper and Butler.

The Footman’s Directory and Butler’s Remembrancer by Onesimus. A wonderful “advice” book written by a footman for his friends who were entering into service, written in 1823.

Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. This is the one book you want to own if you want to know everything about cleaning, organizing, maintaining and caring for a home. Cooking, cleaning, caring for cloth, furniture, floors, walls…just everything. Huge and wonderful – even how to handle domestic help. Highly, highly recommended.

Books of interest about relationships:

The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. There is some food for thought here.

Fascinating Womanhood by Helen Andelin. The teachings in this book were inspired by a series of booklets written in the 1920sentitled The Secrets of Fascinating Womanhood. The booklets, written to single women, have long been out of print. The authors unknown. Many of the Surrendered Wife principles can be found here.

A Book of Courtesy: The art of living with yourself and others, Sister Mary Mercedes. Everyday courtesies that we may have forgotten. Daily courtesies, conversation, being a guest, courtesy to guests, conduct in public places, electronic courtesies and written stationary etiquette. One of my favorites.

The Rituals of Dinner: by Margaret Vissar. The origins, evolutions, eccentricities and meaning of table manners.

Martine’s Handbook of Etiquette, and Guide to true politeness by Arthur Martine. Originally published in 1866. What a masterpiece this old book is.

Lifestyle Training and Etiquette books:

The Bride Wore Black Leather…and he looked fabulous by Drew Campbell. An etiquette guide for the leather folk – very light hearted.

Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times, by Karen Grigsby Bates & Karen Elyse Hudson. Excellent book on everyday etiquette.

Books and Items of General Interest:

Inside the Victorian Home by Judith Flandres. This book gives insight into the workings of middle class homes in the Victorian Age rather than the “Grand Houses” typically depicted in period piece novels and film. It addresses issues of Household structure, as the concept of “the maid of all things” when there is only one servant in service to the Household.

52 Ways to Say Grace – Running Press

A deck of cards with spiritual quotations gathered from many cultures and many times. Take a pause before your next meal and introduce a moment of quiet contemplation before you begin to eat.

Movies, Drama Series, Documentaries

Remains of the Day – A rule bound head butler’s world of manners and decorum in the household he maintains is tested by the arrival of a housekeeper who falls in love with him in post – WWI Britain. The possibility of romance and his master’s cultivation of ties with the Nasi cause challenge his carefully maintained veneer of servitude.

Upstairs Downstairs – This seminal British television series is just as enjoyable now as when it first aired in the early 1970s. Richard (David Langton), Lady Marjorie (Rachel Gurney), and their son James (Simon Williams) comprise the aristocratic Bellamy family that reside upstairs while their loyal servants – – including their butler Hudson (Gordon Jackson), cook Mrs. Bridges (Angela Baddeley), and housemaid Rose (Jean Marsh)– maintain the household from downstairs. The series follows the upper-class family’s troubles as times change and the ongoing lives of their resilient staff.

Gosford Park – Multiple storylined drama set in 1932, showing the lives of upstairs and downstairs servants at a party in a country house in England.

The 1900 House – A 1999 English family volunteers to spend three months in a restored Victorian house, which recreates life for the middle class of 1900. The family must wear period clothes, and not use any conveniences or products that were not available to a family of their class in 1900. The camera follows the members about as they struggle with trying to get enough hot water for a bath, create their own shampoo, and raise chickens in the backyard.