Historical handkerchiefs

and tea…

The Grand Island Historical Society held an autumn tea today.
We were able to enjoy a lovely afternoon tea.
It was delicious.
Dessert was heavenly.

While we were eating our dessert, Maggie Gushue (the costume director for the Grand Island Historical Society) shared the history of handkerchiefs. She had a lot to say, and I was very surprised. Who would ever guess that handkerchiefs were mentioned by the poet Catullus in the first century BC? At that time, handkerchiefs were white and they were used for such useful purposes as wiping your brow or cleaning. They didn’t stay white for very long. By the 1700s, handkerchiefs were much more colorful and were starting to be used as part of a fashion statement, as opposed to clearing sweat away from your forehead. Anyway, the use of handkerchiefs became much more popular and were made from many different types of fabric and decorated in all sorts of ways. One was even called “presidential.”

A handkerchief for every occasion

Maggie, who collects handkerchiefs, talks about the wide variety of styles that she’s found in her collection.
This one has an elaborate scalloped border that looks like it was crocheted with thread, like a doily.
These handkerchiefs are very elaborate with a lot of color and bling. They look like they are meant to be displayed, rather than used as handkerchilfs.
Tatting was another way to create a border around a handkerchief. Tatting is a lace making technque that involves using a shuttle or needle to create knots. As you can see, the result is an elaborate border.
Handkerchiefs were also designed to be used as advertisement for places.
A really effective handkerchief advertisement will encourage you to book a vacation trip.

That looks like fun!!! And so, I will bid you adieu with one last handkerchief. I’ll wave it forlornly at you as you go on to other blogs.

Bye bye (for now!!!) But come back tomorrow when I share a fun piece of modern art that I created!

3 thoughts on “Historical handkerchiefs”

  1. What gorgeous photos! Very interesting about handkerchiefs. I have a box of my mom’s old handkies and always planned to make a collage or something out of them. Your blog brought back me thinking of that again!

  2. I love hankies. I use hankies. I have one in my pocket right at this moment! I try to match them with my outfit. And. I reuse, wash and reuse , not like tissues that go in the garbage. My mother always carried a hankie. I dare say most true gentlemen still carry a handkerchief clean and ready , if he needed to offer assistance to a damsel in distress……love the writing , Alice ????❤️

  3. we grew up using hankies.. always had one on us.. 🙂 and i loved collecting the prettiest ones too! love that trinidad and tobago one the most here.. such an interesting post

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