Thursday, September 22, 2016

Handkerchiefs in Historicals

Keli Gwyn here to talk about handkerchiefs.

Since I write Victorian-era stories for the Love Inspired Historical line, my characters make good use of those classic fabric squares.

The women in my stories might carry a handkerchief in their reticules. When a female character doesn't have her handbag with her, I'll have a her tuck a handkerchief up her sleeve.

Ladies' handkerchiefs were often decorative as well as useful. Floral fabrics, embroidery or lace edges were common.

Heroes in my stories carry handkerchiefs, too. A hero's handkerchief is a usually a freshly laundered white version, though, that he has on hand to present to a heroine who is overcome and needs to dab at her tears.

Although few people carry handkerchiefs today, I remember a time when they were still in use. My Grandma Pat always had a hankie in her purse. I went through a phase as a girl when I was emulating her and had a pretty pink-flowered handkerchief in my purse.

When I was going through my in-laws things while clearing out their house a number of years ago, I came across an assortment of handkerchiefs that belonged to my mother-in-love. They're the ones shown in the photograph above. Aren't they pretty?


Questions for You

Have you ever carried a handkerchief?

Do you remember any relatives who did?


14 comments:

  1. Keli, I had an aunt that carried a handkerchief just like the ones in the picture. It was very pretty. She was a sweet, very proper lady. Still miss her.

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  2. I didn't exactly "carry" a handkerchief, but I remember Mom pinning a folded one to the left-hand side of the bodice of my dresses when I was in the lower grades of elementary school. I assume the teacher (or I) unpinned the handkerchief if I needed it. That I don't remember.

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  3. Keli, I remember Grandma Brown always carried one. What I remember most was how she would let us use them to play with once she would get new ones. She would show us how to fashion them into a sort of dress for our dolls. I thought they made my dolls look beautiful. I had not thought of this in years. Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings

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  4. I have never carried one but I used to play with my grandmother's stack of them. I'd make dresses for my dolls and stuffed animals out of them. I remember the handkerchief's smelled like my grandmother's perfume.

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  5. Mary, your aunt sounds like she was a sweet lady. I'm glad you have treasured memories of her, such as this one.

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  6. Jean, what a fun story. Sounds like your mother planned ahead. Like you, I do wonder how you got the hankie unpinned when/if you needed it.

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  7. Katrina, what a special memory you have. I love that your grandmother shared her older hankies with you and showed you how to turn them into doll clothes. She must have been quite clever--and fun.

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  8. Terri, how sweet that your grandmother let you play with her handkerchiefs. I love how her hankies smelled like her. Come to think of it, my grandmother's hankies carried the scent of her cologne, too.

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  9. Keli, what an interesting post. I remember my mother having a handkerchief. I don't recall that she ever used it. My husband used to carry one of those white ones with him all of the time. Now that we live in AZ and he doesn't have terrible allergies, he rarely has one.

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  10. Those are pretty! My dad still carries a white cloth handkerchief. :)

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  11. Merrillee, although my grandmother carried a handkerchief, I don't recall her using one either. I wonder if a lady thought it improper to blow her nose in public and slipped off somewhere when she needed to whip out her hankie.

    My husband is one of that rare breed of men who still carries and uses a handkerchief. His are plain white squares. I see to it that they're replaced fairly often since they stain over time, but it can be hard to find them in stores today.

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  12. Missy, it seems men are more likely to carry handkerchiefs today than women. Perhaps they don't want to be bothered with those small tissue packages we women can tuck in our purses.

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  13. My husband carries and uses a handkerchief...plain white. My Mom always carried a handkerchief....usually somehow to match her dress. She died at 92.. l3 yrs. ago.

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  14. Jackie, I'm so sorry that your mother is no longer with you, but I'm glad you have special memories of her, such as the one of her carrying a hankie to match her outfit. She must have been quite the lady. =)

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