advice from the Manual of Useful Information, 1894

I found The Working Teachers’ Library Manual of Useful Information – The Werner Series in a second-hand and antiques shop in Janesville, Wisconsin. The book was copyrighted by The Werner Company, Chicago in 1893 and the title page is dated 1894. The information contained in this little desk reference is fascinating. Every so many posts, I’ll share a bit from this quirky little book. I hope you enjoy the language, advice, and information as much as I do.

The first portion I’m sharing is actually the last paragraph in the book:

Keep good company or none. Never be idle. If your hands cannot be usefully employed, attend to the cultivation of your mind. Always speak the truth. Make few promises. Live up to your engagements. Keep your own secrets, if you have any. When you speak to a person look him in the face. Good company and good conversation are the very sinews of virtue. Good character is above all things else. Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts. If one speak evil of you, let your life be such that none will believe them. Drink no kind of intoxicating liquors. Always live, misfortune excepted, within your income. When you retire to bed, think over what you have been doing during the day. Make no haste to be rich if you would prosper. Small and steady gains give competency with tranquility of mind. Never play at any kind of game of chance. Avoid temptation through fear that you may not be able to withstand it. Never run into debt, unless you see a way to get out again. Never borrow if you can possibly avoid it. Never speak evil of any one. Be just before you are generous. Keep yourself innocent if you would be happy. Save when you are young to spend when you are old. Never think that which you do for religion is time or money mispent. Read some portion of your Bible every day. Often think of death, and your accountability to God, your creator.

There is a lot of sound stuff in the above words. Funny how a book over a hundred years old can remind us of things we too commonly forget. Like some kind of printed time capsule, there is plenty to share in the rest of the book’s 460 pages, so be on the lookout here for passages about illness and treatments, statistics, social situations, history, and much more.

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