Viviana Zelizer claims that

In the early 1900s, as tipping became increasingly popular, it provoked great moral and social controversy. In fact, there were nationwide efforts, some successful, by state legislatures to abolish tipping by turning it into a punishable misdemeanor.

What exactly were these legislative efforts to turn tipping "into a punishable misdemeanor"? I'm especially interested in those efforts that were successful (and when and how any such laws were later repealed).


It seems 7 US states banned tipping as un-American. The all repealed by 1926.

The Case Against Tipping states that:

Tipping did not take off in America until later, possibly because the country did not have a servant class. In the late 1800s, affluent Americans who traveled (and tipped) in Europe, began tipping in the United States as well, to show that they had been abroad and were familiar with European customs. At first this was met with fierce opposition as fostering a master-servant relationship ill suited to a nation whose people were meant to be social equals. People opposed tipping so strongly that, between 1909 and 1918, seven states passed anti-tipping laws. All these laws, however, were repealed by 1926, when the concept slowly took off. Business owners began to lower the wages of employees until tips were needed to supplement their income, and people became accustomed to the practice as a way to ensure the livelihood of workers in the service industry

When tipping was considered deeply un-American

The tipping abolitionist campaign came to a boil in 1915, when three states (Iowa, South Carolina and Tennessee) passed anti-tipping laws, joining three other states (Washington, Mississippi, and Arkansas) that had already passed similar bills. Georgia soon followed. By 1926, however, all these anti-tipping laws were repealed, writes Segrave, largely because it was seen as futile to police something that had gained a momentum of its own.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.