Still no camera, but thanks for all your thoughts! Since I have it with me most of the time, it's like I am missing an appendage.
Yesterday, I briefly stopped at the Book Thing and picked up a book that looked particularly interesting. It's called Let's Set the Table, by Elizabeth Lounsbery, with a introduction by Emily Post. When I was researching this post, I found that the book is still listed as a reference book for International Butlers, not under the butling category, but the table- and event-managing section.
Even though the book was printed in 1938, much of the information still seems relevant, although some of the table-settings are dated. Before Mrs. Lounsbery begins to talk about setting the table, she discusses linen, china, glass and silver. Then she segues into flowers and decoration, which is where the book looks dated.
She also suggests themes for luncheons and dinner parties, including a "poverty party". This is suggested as an amusing luncheon for young girls, just before they head back to boarding school. She suggests a red and white check tablecloth, geraniums planted in tomato cans, tin plates and jelly glasses, and salt and pepper in their original boxes. To complete the setting, guests should wear worn-out clothes. Since this was a scant 10 years after the Depression, it's a bit strange that she suggests this. Of course, she's also written a book called Entertaining Without a Maid.
Mrs. Lounsbery was apparently a champion table-setter, winning prizes for originality, correctness and assembly. I found a couple of adverts from Gimbels from the early 1940's where she was exhibiting tables for different occasions, with the tabletop materials supplied by the store.
It's such fun to see what changes and what stays the same.