Honor & Respect: Guide to Names, Titles, Forms of Address, R. Hickey

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    Christian Orthodox       
    Christian Orthodox        
Acting Official       
Adjutant General     

Admiral, Texas Navy   
Adventist Minister       

Archbishop, Catholic        
   Christian Orthodox        
Archdeacon, Episcopal        
Ambassador, Goodwill
Ambassador of one country
   to another country      
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to another country
   by a U.S. citizen       
Ambassador of the U.S.
   to the U.K.  
American Indian Chief        
   U.S., State / or           

Assistant Secretary
Associate Justice,
   U.S. Supreme Court          
Associate Justice of a
   State Supreme Court
Attorney General           
Attorney General,
Attorney, U.S.         
Australian Officials    
Awards, Name on an

Baron, Baroness           
British Officials,
   Royalty, Nobility     
Brother, Catholic
   Christian Orthodox          
Bishop, Catholic            
   Christian Orthodox         
Bishop, Episcopal        
Board Member     
Brigadier General       
Business Cards      

Canadian Officials    
   USA, USAF, USMC     
Certificate, Name on a 
    Federal Reserve      
Chaplain in the
    Armed Services        
Chaplain of Congress          

Chargé d’Affaires         
Chief Executive Officer 
Chief Judge          
Chief Justice,
      U.S. Supreme Court 
Chief Justice, of a State
      Supreme Court             

Chief of Police          
Chief of Staff     

Chief Operating
City Manager
Clergy & Religious
Club Official          
Colonel, Kentucky      
Colonel, USA, USAF,
    or USMC     
Commissioner, Court     
Commodore of a         
      Yacht Club         
Congressman, U.S.               
Congresswoman, U.S.   
Consul and or
   Consul General   
Corporate Executive         
Counselor (Diplomat)      
County Officials       
    U.S. Military
    U.S. Officials
    Private Citizens    
    Same Sex

Dalai Lama          
Dean, academic            
Dean, clergy            
Deceased Persons        
Degree, honorary      
Delegate, U.S., State

Deputy Chief of Mission
Deputy Marshal

Deputy Secretary      
    Pro Tempore      
Diploma, Name on a   

District Attorney
Doctor, Chiropractor     
Doctor of Dentistry
Doctor of Medicine              
Doctor, Military           
Doctor of
   Veterinary Medicine          
Doctor, Optometrist   
Doctor of Osteopathy            
Doctor, Other Disciplines     
Doctorate, honorary      

Elect, Designate
Pro Tempore      
Esquire, Esq.       

First, Second,
   Third , etc .        
First Lady, Spouse
   of the President of
   the United States 
First Lady, Member
    of Her   
    White House Staff      
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Governor
   or Lt. Gov.    
First Lady, Spouse
   of a U.S. Mayor    

First Lady
   of a Church      

First Lieuten
Former Officials    

Gay Couple      


Goodwill Ambassador      
Governor General         
Governor, Lieuten
Governor, Lt., Spouse   

Governor, Tribal Council          
Governor, U.S. State       
Governor, Former    
    Spouse of     
Governor's Staff,
    Member of
Governors, Board of 

High Commissioner    
Honorable, The
Honorary Ambassador       
Honorary degrees
Honorary doctorate
Honourable, The

Indian Chief         
Inspector General    
Interim Official   
   Writing &  
    Writing &

Judge, former     
Judge of US City

     County or State     
Judge, US Federal            
Junior, Senior,
    I, II, III, etc

Justice, Associate

     Supreme Court

Justice, Associate

     Supreme Court


Late, The
   (deceased persons)
Lesbian Couple    
Lieutenant Colonel,     
   USA, USAF, USMC      
Lieutenant General,
   USA, USAF, USMC      

Lieutenant Governor    

Major General,
Man, business
Man, social
Marquess / Marchioness
Married Women       
Marshal for a
   Judicial District, U.S. 
Mayor, U.S. City   
Mayor, Canadian City    
Mayor Pro Tempore
Mayor, Vice    
   Protestant Clergy       
   Christian Orthodox     
Most Reverend, The        
Mother Superior
Mr. (Social)      
Mr. (Business)      
Mrs., Ms. (Use, Social Forms)      
Mrs. vs. Ms.     
Mr. & Mrs. / Couples   

Name Badges or Tags     
Nobility, UK/British
Nobility, Other & Former     
Nun, Catholic
Nun, Orthodox

Officer, Police     

Pastor, Christian Clergy  
   Christian Orthodox  
   Ecumenical Patriarch
   of Constantinople  
People with Two Titles      
Petty Officer
Place Cards            
Plaque, Name on a    
Police Chief
Police Officer                     
Pope, Catholic
Pope, Coptic
Postmaster General         
Presbyter, Orthodox
President, corporate
President of
    College or
President of a
President of a
    US State Assembly 
President (current)
   of the U.S.A.          
President (former)
   of the U.S.A.     
President of the
    U.S.A., spouse of  
    of the U.S.   
Priest, Catholic          
    Christian Orthodox 
Priest, Episcopal        
Prime Minister
   & Academics         
Pro Tempore,
   Elect, Designate    


Ranger, Texas        
   U.S., Federal           
   U.S., State            
Reservist, Military      
Retired Military
   1. Formula For
       How to Address     
   2. Use of Rank by
       Retired Military    

   3. Q&A on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
Reverend, The
Right Reverend, The         

Same Sex Couple      
Salvation Army    
School Board Member
   U.S. Department,
   Member of the Cabinet
   of Defense, U.S.       
Secretary, Assistant       
Secretary General
   of the U.N.            
Senator, U.S., Federal       
Senator, U.S., State         
Senator, Canadian       
Senior, Junior,
     I, II, III, etc.         
Senior Judge 
Sergeant at Arms
Seventh Day
     Adventist Minister       
Sister, Catholic       

Solicitor General      
Speaker of the U.S.
   House of
Spouse of the
    President of the U.S.       
Spouse of the
    Vice President
    of the U.S.           
Spouse of an
    Elected Official            
State Attorney     
Surgeon General          

Texas Ranger        
Titles & Forms of
    Address, Useless?        
Tombstones, Names on
Town Justice
Town Manager       
The Honorable     
Tribal Officials     
Two Titles,
    Person With

Under Secretary       
US Attorney
US Federal Officials
US State Officials     
US Municipal Officials

Venerable, The        
Veteran (not Retired)         
Very Reverend, The         
VFW Officer/Official    
Vice Mayor       
Vice President
    of the U.S.
Spouse of the
    Vice President
of the U.S.
Vice President-elect
    of the U.S.      
Viscount and/or

Warrant Officer       
White House Staff    
Woman, business        
Woman, social        

Yacht Club Officer      


Clippings FYI
Random Clippings on Topics Related to Protocol and Etiquette
Double-click on the name for a down-loadable PDF of the story

Bill Clinton: What to Call Him
If He Becomes the "First Husband"

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

When Bill Clinton first won the presidency, the form of address used for him and the first lady, Hillary, was as follows:
     The President and Mrs. Clinton

This form of address fits into the traditional formula in writing: The President and Mrs. (Surname) and in conversation:
     Mr./Madam President and Mr./Mrs. (Surname).

If Hillary Clinton wins the current presidential election, Bill Clinton will be a first: the first First Husband, Spouse, Partner, or Significant Other.

So, how will the White House staff address Bill Clinton? How will his name appear with the President's on invitations?  How will his place card read at a state dinner? How should the media address him or refer to him?  Perhaps First Gentleman Bill Clinton, awkward as that might seem? According to Robert Hickey, author of The Protocol School of Washington's Honor and Respect: The Official Guide to Names, Titles and Forms of Address, the formula for the husband of President of the United States (POTUS) has been around for a long time. It just hasn't been used thus far:

In writing: The President and Mr. (Full Name)

As a former elected official, Bill Clinton does have a special title. He is "the Honorable." Using this courtesy title fits right in without a hitch.

In writing: The President and the Honorable (Full Name)

However, which version of Bill Clinton's full name would be correct?  That is a matter of how formal a reporter or social secretary chooses to be for any given occasion. Bill Clinton, William J. Clinton, or William Jefferson Clinton might be frequent choices.

Still, two questions linger:

1. How should he be addressed in direct conversation or as a salutation?
     a.  Mr. Clinton
     b.  President Clinton

2. How should reporters refer to him in order to not mislead or confuse their audience on who is the current president and who is not?
     a.  Mr. Clinton
     b.  President Clinton
     c.  Former President Clinton

According to Hickey, the right option for both questions would be  a. Mr. Clinton.

"While it is common practice in the media and elsewhere to address and identify former presidents as 'President (Name),' this is a mistake," said Hickey. "Serving as President of the United States does not grant one the personal rank of 'President' for life. The office of President is a one-person-at-a-time role that a specific individual holds and then hands off to the next person."

"Courtesies, honors, and special forms of address are symbols of the power of the office. They belong to the office and to the citizens, not former office holders."

Hickey goes on to say the media and the public should be wary of identifying or addressing previous holders of the presidency and other unique offices by referring to them as "former (title)." This qualifier diminishes the singular prestige of both the office and its current occupant and is potentially misleading/confusing to their audience.

"There is an accepted term of respect used for previous presidents and other elected U.S. officials to recognize their service. This title is one of high distinction that they keep for life: she or he is addressed as "the Honorable (Full Name)."

Does it Matter How You Stand When You Shake Hands?
It seems it does -- if anyone is looking. Or, if there are cameras present.
       I am confident Bill Gates meant no disrespect when he greeted the President of the Republic of Korea in Seoul with one hand in his pocket. But some members of the Korean press had a different opinion: "Cultural difference or act of disrespect?" Others said "Please, people ... don't think your Confucian mindset is a universal norm elsewhere in the world."
      The Protocol School of Washington teaches that there are seven ingredients to a perfect introduction and Mr. Gates got most of them right. But he missed stand up straight (a hand in your pocket is not standing up straight) and perhaps also missed extend your hand.  It looks as if the President is doing most of the extending.
      Here's a link to a story about the issue as covered in the Korean press in the Telegraph.

     And here is how the story appeared in The Washington Post .

South Korean newspaper front pages show coverage of the meeting between South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Some papers cropped out that he kept his hand in his pocket while greeting the Chief of State. (AFP/Getty images)

"How to Address The President: 
He is Not Your Excellency, or Your Honor, But Mr. President.
From an 1891 issue of The New York Times: in a story reprinted from the Washington Star.

      "If you ask a President's private secretary, he will tell you among other things that not one person out of ten in writing to the President addresses him properly.  Each correspondent seems to follow his own sweet fancy…"
      "To cut a long matter short, let the correct form for addressing the President be given. It is simply this: "Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States, Mr. President."   Then after you have said your say, if you are not proud, you can finish the communication thus: "I have the honor to be, Mr. President, your obedient servant, John Smith..."
      "It is part of the law of nations that they are coequal. The King of Samoa writes to President Harrison in the same terms of equality that are used by the Emperor of Germany, and the President replies in kind …. Yet the King of Samoa is addressed by the President as "Great and good friend", and the President signs himself, "Your good friend." And when Queen Victoria receives a letter from the President she treats him with precisely the same formality and no more".

       © The New York Times.

What Does a Chief of Protocol Do?
–– Here's a feature story by Shane Harris in Washingtonian Magazine on what the Chief of Protocol for the United States actually does?   She asks Ambassador Capricia Marshall to tell all about what she describes as the best job in Washington.

What Happens When a
New Ambassador Comes to Town?

Here's another feature story by Shane Harris in Washingtonian Magazine on what happens when a the United States welcomes a new foreign ambassador?

Speaker, Madame or just Ms. Pelosi?
–– Here's a feature story by Jake Sherman in Politico on what everyone should call a former Speaker of the House when there is a new Speaker?   He asks: What should people call Pelosi? I wrote an letter to the reporter to tell him what traditionally has been done.
     FYI I have a blog post on the topic ... since it's not really a mystery.

Is the Girfriend of an Official
Granted the Same Courtesies as a Spouse?

Here's a feature story by Javier C. Hernandez in the New York Times on Sandra Lee, TV personality and host of a long-running show on the Food Network: Semi-Homemade Cooking. She is the live-in companion of the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. Is she the "First Lady" of New York?  If so what should we call her? 
     FYI I have a blog post on the topic ... but they got it exactly right.

"International Gift Giving: Etiquette 101: Thanks, and No Thanks" –– Here's a feature story by Sara Tucker from Conde Nast Traveler on the art of gift giving across cultures, borders, and faiths.  I am quoted in twice, one time recounting the Obama-Brown gift exchange in which the British Prime Minister was the clear knock-out winner. The author is a good researcher and found new sources to reconfirm and expand country-by-country cultural and traditional preferences around the world.

"In our abundant culture, where everybody has so much, gifts don't mean as much as they do elsewhere in the world," says Robert Hickey, deputy director of The Protocol School of Washington. "A gift should be a distilled symbol of your relationship." In exchange for his gift to Brown, the president scored a first-edition biography of Winston Churchill in seven volumes, a framed commission for the H.M.S. Resolute, and a penholder. The penholder was only the latest artifact in a story going back to 1855, when the Resolute was rescued by an American whaler and later returned to England. A desk made from its timbers was presented to President Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria and has been used by American presidents ever since. The gift to Obama was crafted from the wood of the Resolute's sister ship, the Gannet, which once went on anti-slavery missions off Africa. The symbolism here is indeed exquisite. "It was only a penholder, but it was infused with meaning," says Hickey. "That was a brilliant gift."
   -- Conde Nast Traveler, November 2010

 "When 'Best' Isn't Good Enough " –– Here's a feature story by Judith Newman from The New York Times on various closings for your e-mails, who uses them and what the mean .... from Cheers, Regards, Fondly, and Best, to Stay Jewish, Peace, Love & Chocolate, XXXOOOXXX and Be Fabulous! Turns out that some people think they own their closing ... so watch out before you lift one from someone else.
       No mention of some other closings that are out there ...
Your Obedient Servant, Ciao, An old fashioned hug to you or This email was transmitted on 100% recycled electrons.

 "It's Not Who You Wear but Where You Sit That Really Counts " –– A link to a story in The New York Times  on a topic that protocol professionals all obsess about: seating. At NY Fashion Week's runway shows it's where you sit that counts. There is no official precedence list to refer to and the dignitaries' relative importance is difficult to determine. Media, celebrities, private customers, retailers, friends, and family are showing up ... and there are only 104 front row seats! Yikes.
    "Front row seating at a fashion show is as much like the quote-unquote cool table at a high school cafeteria as anything I have ever seen" says Dan Peres, the editor of Details. "I want to see who gets the seat next to Lady Gaga."

 "The United Nations Flag Code and Regulations " –– A PDF of a booklet in the public domain of the original 1947 flag code of the U.N., and the 1967 update that further define how the flag and the image of the flag may be used correctly.

Is Civility on the Decline in America?
     Here is a link to an interesting publication entitled "Civility In America: A Nationwide Survey" by Weber Shandwick, which gives additional credit to Powell Tate and KRC Research.
     A The report starts with the question: Is Civility on the Decline in America?, and then begins by saying "According to a new, in-depth survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate in partnership with KRC Research, an overwhelming majority of Americans view the erosion of civility in human interaction today as a major problem, and feel the distressing situation has only been made worse by the recession".
    I got the link from Cindy Haygood at the Etiquette and Leadership Institute (ELI), Athens Georgia. ELI is a training company which prepares individuals to teach young people the skills they need to find all the success they can in tomorrow's even more competitive world.

Gift Rules for the United States Congress
A posting by Public Citizen in it' section "Clean Up Washington" covers the specific regulations concerning gifts that may be accepted by members and staff. Included detailed do's and don't with dollar amounts that are allowable.  Post is dated May 30, 2007

 "The Book of Etiquette " –– Eichler, Lillian, Nelson Doubleday, Inc. Oyster Bay, New York, 1921.  A PDF of a book in the collection of The University of California Libraries. Lots of information on the rites of passage ... births, weddings, funerals and practical information on communication. Focuses on refinement.
    It includes the following chapters:
I-1. Introduction to Etiquette: Laws of Society, Control of the Impulses ...
I-2. Etiquette's Reward: The True Lady and Gentleman ...
I-3. Engagements: A Step-by-Step Guide ...
I-4. Wedding Invitations and Announcements: Every detail ...
I-5. Weddings: Church Weddings, Home Weddings, Wedding Anniversaries...
I-6. The Bride's Outfit: The Wedding Dress and Trousseau ...
I-7. Funerals: Services, Announcements...
I-8. Christenings: Complete Instructions...
II-1. Introductions: Again ... Complete Instructions...
II-2. Letters of Introduction: Model Letters ...
II-3. Calls and Calling Customs: Social calls at Home ...
II-4. Visiting Cards - and Others: All about Cards ...
II-5. Invitations: Styles for various events, all about wording ...
Ii-6. Correspondence: Business and Social, Stationery, Addressing letters ...
II-7. Parents and Children: Responsibilities of Parents, How to be a Guest, Forms of Address ...

 "The Bazar Book of Decorum" –– Tomes, Robert, 1817-1882, Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, 1870.  A PDF of a book in the collection of The University of California Libraries. It has the subtitle The care of the person, manners, etiquette and ceremonials. It's based on articles that appeared in Harper's Bazar (yes, just a single 'a' after the 'z' in bazar.) and were expanded for the book. It's very practical and while it is certainly a reflection of its time, it is anything but stuffy.
    It includes the following chapters:
1. Ceremonial Observances founded in Common Sense: The peculiar necessity for Americans to develop politeness ...
2. The Obligation to Cultivate Beauty
: Notions of beauty and American looks ...
3. Relation of Dress to Form: Hair, nose, eyebrows, eyelashes ...
4. The Ear: How to make it beautiful ...
5. The Hand: Its beauty and utility ...
6. The Power of Expression and Action: Freedom and grace, dancing, mind and body ...
7. American Ease: Posture, walk, gestures ...
8. The Expression: Laughter, blushing, age, odors ...
9. Discrete Use of the Eye: Glances, winking, sleeping in company ...
10. Purity of Speech: Refined association, exaggerations, fashionable falsehoods ...
11. The Defects of the American Voice: Ugly noised from the mouth, the impertinence of British loyalty ...
12. Effect of Civilization on Dress: Art of dressing, inappropriateness of dress ...
13. Super Finery of Dress: Overdressed women, hygiene ...
14. Food: Manner of eating food, decency, chatted food, dainty feeders ...
15. Etiquette of Breakfast and Luncheon
16. Etiquette of Dinner and After Dinner
17. Ancient and Modern Hospitality: Evening party and balls, late parties, manners and morals, treatment of servants ...
18. Visiting Lists: Reportage, etiquette of visits and cards, at home or not at home? ...
19. American Titles: Forms of address, titles, nicknames, letters of introductions, visits to The President ...
20. Births and Christenings, Etiquette of Marriages and Funeral Ceremonies ...

 "Don't over-think simplicity of addressing an envelope" –– Judith Martin, "Miss Manners" The Daily Press, September 20 , 2009 (copyright © 2009 United Media, NY, NY 10016) –– "Q. How  to you address mail to a same-sex married couple? A. There is a two line form, each name with its own title."  
     (Bravo Miss Manners! So much better a solution than the other etiquette sources suggest for same-sex couples. I already showed this as the recommended form (page 141) in my chapter on Joint Forms of Address. I don't know if Miss Manners has a copy of my book or not, but I hope she does.)
-- Robert Hickey
     (A big thank you to Diane Brown of Protocol Solutions for sending me this clipping)

 "The Lesson of the 38 Candy Bars (The Importance of Small Gestures)" –– Interview with Gary McCullough, president and chief executive officer of Career Education Corporation in 'The Corner Office' by Adam Bryant, The New York Times, August 9 , 2009 –– "Q. What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned? A. The biggest one I learned, and I learned it early on in my tenure in the Army, is the importance of small gestures. As you become more senior, those small gestures and little things become sometimes more important than the grand ones. Little things like saying “please” and “thank you” — just the basic respect that people are due, or sending personal notes. I spend a lot of time sending personal notes."

 "Rhode Island, Hoping to Shed Unsavory Past, Weighs Shorter Name " –– by Abby Goodnough, The New York Times, June 30, 2009 –– "Rhode Island has a lightening rod of a formal name –– Rhode Island and Providence Plantation –– that harks back to it prominent role in the slave trade and make some of its residents cringe. ... The State Senate and House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly last week to allow a referendum asking voters whether it should be shortened by seven syllables, to Rhode Island. ... The change would be largely symbolic, since the state's formal name is so rarely used. It appears on many documents, like elevator inspection certificates and marriage licenses. ... the full name would not be removed from any state buildings if the referendum is approved."

 "From Serving in Iraq to Welcoming White House Guests " –– by Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times, May 18, 2009 –– "Mr. Obama, of course is Potus (president of the United States). Michelle Obama is Flotus (first lady of the United States). And the title of Rotus (receptionist of the United States) is worn by Darienne M. Page. .... She is on hand to greet nearly every official visitor who has an appointment with the president or his top advisors. .... Last week alone the list of visitors range from ... the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate ... to actors in town for a movie premier."

 "Yes, Looks Do Matter " –– by Pam Belluck, The New York Times, April 26, 2009 –– "Snap judgements about other people are crucial to the way we function ,,, even when those judgements are wrong. .... Eons ago, this capability was of life-and-death importance, and humans developed the ability to gauge other people in seconds."

 "Another Awkward Sex Talk: Respect and Violence" –– by Perri Klass, M.D., The New York Times, April 14, 2009 –– "... you may get a worldview in which boys are viewed as potential criminals and girs as potential victims ... I would teach boys that there are many adults who are scared of boys, who have fears of aggression, and I think politeness is the surest way that a boy can reassure the adult world that he is O.K. and trustworthy."

 "Making Room for Miss Manners is a Parenting Basic" –– by Perri Klass, M.D., The New York Times, January 13, 2009 –– "Every infant is  born adorable but selfish and the center of the universe .... it's a parent's job to teach that there are other people, and other people have feelings."

"Why How Matters " –– Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, October 15, 2008 –– Thomas Friedman quotes Dov Seidman as saying "in our hyperconnected and transparent world how you do things matters more than ever, because so many people can now see how you do things, be affected by how you do things and tell others how you do things on the internet anytime, for no cost and without restraint."

 "She Fine-Tuned the Forks of the Richan Vulgars " –– Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of America's Manners by Laura Claridge, Random House Publishers. Book review by Dinitia Smith, The New York Times, October 17, 2008 –– "As Post writes in her 1922 edition, the 'Best Society is not a fellowship of the wealthy, nor does it seek to exclude those who are not of exalted birth; but it is an association of gentle-folk, of which good form in speech, charm of manner, knowledge of social amenities, and instinctive consideration for the feelings of others, are the credentials.' Well, nothing wrong with that. She says Post even claimed to dislike the word 'etiquette' because it conveyed a high-toned attitude."

 "For Teenagers, Hello Means 'How About a Hug? " –– by Sarah Kershaw, The New York Times, May 28, 2009 –– "Parents who grew up in a generation more likely to use a handshake, the low-five or high five, are baffled by the close physical contact ... Some sociologists say that teenagers who grew up in an era of organized play dates and close parental supervision are more cooperative with one another than previous generations ... Maybe it's because all these kids do is text and go on Facebook so they don't have any human contact anymore."

     Honor & Respect
The Official Guide
to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address

By Robert Hickey

Copyright © 2016 Robert Hickey.  All Rights Reserved
Book Photo: Marc Goodman