An American Social History of Gratuities


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About the Book

Though the history of tipping can be traced to the Middle Ages, the practice did not become widespread until the late 19th century. Initially, Americans reviled the custom, branding it un–American and undemocratic. The opposition gradually faded and tipping became an American institution. From its beginnings in Europe to its development as a quintessentially American trait, this work provides a social history of tipping customs and how the United States became a nation of tippers.

About the Author(s)

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking, shoplifting and ticket-scalping. He lives in British Columbia.

Bibliographic Details

Kerry Segrave
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 198
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4246-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      vii

1 Tipping Begins, Then Moves to America      1

2 “Illegal and Un-American”: Tipping Practices 1880–1919      9

3 “Democracy’s Deadly Foe”: Tipping Responses 1880–1919      25

4 “Our Daily Bribe”: Tipping Practices 1920–1949      45

5 “Tipping Is Forbidden, But Expected”: Tipping Responses 1920–1949      59

6 “Public Nuisance Number One”: Tipping Practices 1950–1969      81

7 “The Average Person Is Inherently a Tipper”: Tipping Responses 1950–1969      93

8 “Surliness Prevails in the Tipped Professions”: Tipping Practices 1970–1995      111

9 “Let Your Tip Do the Talking”: Tipping Responses 1970–1995      121

Appendix 1: Earnings in Various Occupations      147

Appendix 2: Laws Against Tipping      149

Notes      155

Bibliography      171

Index      185

Book Reviews & Awards

“enormous amount of detail…a very fine study”—Library Journal.