Mad Men’s High-Heeled Rebel Army: The Courageous Secretaries

April 5, 2015 11:00 AM

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Published in 1959—one year before Mathew Weiner’s Mad Men begins—Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette: A Guide to Gracious Living includes a useful chapter on business manners. Emphasizing the importance of clear-cut boundaries in the workplace, Vanderbilt writes: “A really experienced and urbane executive keeps his relations with his secretary on a friendly but purely business basis.”

But over the course of the AMC series’ six-and-a-half gloriously boozy, adulterous seasons, we’ve seen these boundaries tested and crossed to yield a wide variety of results for Sterling Cooper’s secretarial staff. From drunken office hookups to literal bloodshed (who can forget the infamous John De...

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