An Open, Serene, Intelligent Countenance

On January 4, 1799, Aaron Burr wrote to his daughter Theodosia, then 16, about the advantages of good presentation in the world:


There is nothing more certain than that you may form what countenance you please.  An open, serene, intelligent countenance, a little brightened by cheerfulness, not wrought into smiles or simpers, will presently become familiar and grow into habit.  A year will with certainty accomplish it. 


Avoid, for ever avoid, a smile or sneer of contempt; never even mimic them.  A frown of sullenness or discontent is but one degree less hateful. 






  1. Becca on December 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Just like you told me!

  2. Andrew Dayton on December 6, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Nice to know our founding fathers favored cliches 😉

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