Posted on Jan 1, 2012 in All Blog Posts

Share Your Story

I was surprised and delighted to discover that everyone seems to have a hankie story to tell.I’m always curious how people decide upon handkerchief collecting. Did they find the hankies or did the hankies find them? We’d love to hear your story.  Read what others have written, and to share yours, scroll to the bottom of this page, and write your story in the comment box.


  1. 12-13-2012

    After my father died, there weren’t many of his possessions that I really wanted except the coin bank where he collected found money (My brother got the money, I got the bank. He probably got the better deal) and a few of his hankies with his initials on them. I still use them today even though they are falling apart.”

    Allen Klein
    author of The Art of Living Joyfully

  2. 12-13-2012

    I got into hankies because my friend and I would give them to people at church who were crying. So we went looking for vintage hankies. Then I found out I am allergic to tissues so presto hankies!
    I myself love hankies for the graphics but am also drawn to any vintage linen with embroidery and drawn or applique work. It is amazing to me to see all the work in such humble everyday items. I just bought a World War II letter and hankie for my daughter. She is a history professor here in town and I thought she would appreciate the primary source document and the hankie was a bonus. She loved it. Thanks for sharing and the blog is both charming and informative.

  3. 12-13-2012

    Go with your passion… it makes life work… you’re really on to something here! Cry me a RIVER… you’ve got the towels!

    Kathleen Solmssen, artist

    • 1-31-2013

      I love the designer hankies because they are small pieces of affordable art!! Amazing how Tammis Keefe, Pat Prichard and Carl Tait, etc. have all stood the test of time. I wonder what they would think of the $$$ that their designs command nowadays?!

      The floral designs bring back special memories of my mother.

  4. 12-13-2012

    I was a school teacher for over thirty years so you can imagine the number of hankys I received for Christmas, Valentine’s Day – too many to count. One day I opened the handkerchief drawer and said to my sister “What am I going to do with all of these?” She said “Why don’t we make them into quilts?” which is exactly what happened. Then I wondered “Now what will we do with these quilts?” My kids thought they were “sweet” but “too old fashioned” for their “décor.” Décor? Oh well. We decided to take them to a senior care center. We walked in, and as I was telling the gal at the front desk why we were there, she got an odd look on her face. Suddenly she exclaimed “Miss Hunter?” I had been Miss Hunter when I taught her in the fourth grade. Judy, it turns out, was one of my students who had gifted me with a handkerchief probably 50 years ago! She said “I wonder if one of my handkerchiefs ever made it into your quilts? It would have had violets on it.’ She looked so hopeful, I didn’t want to disappoint her, but I was thinking to myself, what are the odds? My sister, who has a memory like an elephant, immediately put the quilts on a chair, rifled down to the third quilt, spread it out and lo and behold – there was a hanky with violets on it. “Is this yours?” I asked Judy. “It’s either mine or my sister’s” she said with a huge grin. I said “Judy, how on earth could you remember giving someone a hanky with violets on it?” Judy laughed. “Oh, mom bought a whole bunch of those and we gave our teachers the same hanky with violets year after year. I was embarrassed, but mom said ‘It’s a new teacher. She won’t know you gave your last teacher the same hanky.’ Wow. I can’t believe it’s come back all these years later.” Judy asked “How were you planning to distribute these?” I told her we didn’t have any plan. We were just going to give them to whomever needed a quilt. She said “Oh you must give one to Mrs. Parker. She still uses handkerchiefs. In fact, I can guarantee you she’ll have one tucked in her sleeve this minute.” We went down a long corridor to Mrs. Parker’s room and presented her with a quilt. She was so gracious and so thankful. We wound up spending more than an hour with her listening to stories. She told us about making a crazy quilt with her mother and even showed us a hanky her husband had given her for an anniversary. To think my hankies had languished in a drawer for decades, and on more than one occasion I was going to give them to the Goodwill, but for some reason I never did. Maybe it was fate. I had such a nice time with Mrs. Parker I promised to come back to visit to hear more stories.

    Roberta M.

  5. 12-14-2012

    I had a small group of hankies from my grandmother…maybe 15 or so. I can’t explain why…but I treasured them, though they were hidden in a drawer where I would only run across them every now and again. One day, when I was feeling a little frustrated with the direction my work was going, I decided to take a break and do a little home decorating. I pulled out a few of my hankies to frame and hang in my master bathroom. It felt good to take them all out of the drawer they’d been hiding in and display them where I could see & enjoy them.

    A light bulb went on! These little hankies made me feel good…how can I make that work for me? So I started collecting even more hankies…on Ebay, thrift stores, garage sales…wherever I might find a hanky…I was there. I had become quite the hanky connoisseur, and ended up with over 400 hankies! Now what? I decided making pillows with hankies on them was a great way to get them out in the open! The name TeardropHankys came to me (another long story I’ll skip here) and just about then I had the opportunity to sell my hanky pillows with success, in two “Vintage Marketplace” sales on One Kings Lane. This lead me to open my own online shop on the Etsy site,

    It gets even better! From these little pieces of vintage fabric I have moved on to loving all things vintage. I now have two vintage shops, one in a shopping marketplace and the other in an all vintage market place in Southern California. While it’s a lot of work…I love the whole process…shopping and scavenging for vintage finds…sewing, painting, polishing them up to go into my shops…and selling them into a new home and life…it is all good!

    And to think it all started from those 15 or so hankies I got from my grandmother. They were hidden in a drawer for 20 years or so, just waiting for me to take them out and show me a different way of doing life. I often blog about hankies (check out link below) along with other vintage goodies, and am so happy to come across Handkerchief Heros posts as she offers so much information on vintage hankies. Sounds like I’m in good company!

  6. 12-14-2012

    I have collected Mid Century vintage linens (tablecloths and tea towels) for many years and started collecting handkerchiefs when I realized that their graphics were as equally appealing as those found on linens and often designed by the same artists. I have sold hundreds of hankies in my Etsy shop but have held onto those that have special significance for me personally, such as a birth year hankie, a Cart Tait city hankie, a sports theme hankie etc. I think I could tell my life’s story in the hankies that I have kept.

    Your blog posts are fascinating – I really look forward to them!

  7. 12-20-2012

    Barbara Tuchman, the fabulous historian/author, writes in her “The Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century” of Richard II: “The King at 21, slender, yellow-haired, pale-faced, with a skin that flushed easily, was “abrupt and stammering in his speech,” over-splendid in his dress, averse to war, ill-tempered with his domestics, arrogant and capricious. His Plantangenet pride, combined with Oxford’s influence, shaped an erratic and willful sovereign who levied extortionate taxes to pay for his luxuries. Before his downfall, which finished off the Plantagenets, he invented the handkerchief, recorded in his household rolls as “little pieces [of cloth] made for giving to the lord King for carrying in his hand to wipe and clean his nose.” She lists page 239 of Harold F. Hutcheson’s “The Hollow Crown” 1961 London as her reference. Bet you knew this all along!

  8. 12-24-2012

    I remember as a little girl, my dad carrying a white handkerchief, the size of what would be a generous tablecloth to me now. I was little then and scale was different. After we sat together on the curb eating lime snow cones from the ice cream truck, on hot Bay Area suburb summer days, he’d toss his hankie over my face; it luffed and landed like a refreshing parachute. I’d be instantly ‘all clean’, no surgery lime drips anywhere. I learned to iron & fold using his freshly laundered handkerchiefs too. I was such an almost big girl. Later when I was five, he tried to explain how he couldn’t come see me anymore, because it was too hard on me to see him then lose him, every other weekend. I cried-and-cried, there wasn’t enough dry space left to hold my tears…in fact my almost sixty year old eyes are beginning to fill again now.

  9. 12-24-2012

    I received my first hankie when I was 4 years old. I still have it and it seems to move around and periodically pops up reminding me of all of the treasures that I have received. When friends would go on a trip I of course would always ask them to bring back a treasure in the form of a hankie if they found them. Hankies seem to fit into suitcases and other small spaces perfectly. I love your site and all of the information that you put on it.

  10. 1-17-2013

    Thank you for inviting me. Since I sell handkerchiefs, this blog will really help me learn more about what I am selling :+) Ann

  11. 1-17-2013

    My mother and I would go to Tourraines Department Store in Wellesley every December to choose a hankie for a family friend. They were always Swiss, white with colorful hand embroidered flowers and presented in a perfect handkerchief size box. Not till adulthood did I stumble upon a Tammis Keefe tea towel in Goodwill for $3.99. I had never heard of her, but loved the towel. I googled her and found she was a handkerchief artist as well, and that got me started on my own collection, which now contains no white hankies, only mid century graphic designed ones. I just wish i could figure out how to display them! Until I do, they are housed in an old wooden box that belonged to my grandfather which I can hand to guests to peruse and enjoy.

  12. 1-25-2013

    Look what I found in Rebecca Solnit’s “Wanderlust,” a history of walking: “John and the Austrian walked one way along the shore discussing the formation of sand banks and the theories of tides, and Charlotte and I went in the opposite direction for above two hours and lastly lay down among the long grass and gathered seashells until our Handkerchiefs were quite full.” Effie Gray Ruskin

    Since reading your website, I see Handkerchiefs EVERYWHERE!

  13. 1-30-2013

    I so enjoyed reading your blog. I love the handkerchief you gave me for my wedding with our wedding date on it 21 years ago. I don’t carry a handkerchief, but it’s always lovely little smile looking at me up from my dresser drawer.
    When my mother died, one of her best friends had precious “handkerchief angels” made out of some of her many handkerchiefs for my sister and me. I hang a few on my Christmas tree as ornaments and have three of them framed in a shadowbox and hanging in my kitchen.
    Often beautiful handiwork and artwork are found in handkerchiefs, as well as memories and stories.
    Lovely website!

  14. 2-7-2013

    Several months after my mother passed away, my cousin asked if she could have a few handkerchiefs of my mother’s. Thinking she wanted some keepsakes, I quickly responded. I had forgotten all about them, when one day, out of the blue, a box appeared. Apparently she had given these hankies to a lady who turns them into angels. There they were, all made up with beautiful wings, and sweet faces. I sat right down and cried. Later, I distributed a few of these hankies to nieces and others who had loved mom so they could have their own guardian angel. That was almost a decade ago, and I have one that has been hanging on my bedroom door since the day they arrived. It never fails to bring a smile to my face when I see it, and yes, I do feel as though mom is with me and watching over me.

  15. 3-25-2013

    Dear Ann, Your blog about “Handkerchief Heroes” brought memories of your dear mama. I still have the beautiful handkerchief she gave to my Katia for her first wedding. Even though the marriage did not work out, I shall always treasure the handkerchief. I also have about half a dozen of handkerchiefs that belonged to my mother and ‘were given as shower gifts prior to her marriage in 1930. Do you know how hard it is to find them these days? Even our “old fashioned” Peter Jones Dept. store no longer carry women’s or children’s handkerchiefs – only men’s. I guess paper tissues are responsible for that! You can still find lovely, old (but good condition) ones at Portobello Market – and in eastern European countries like Hungry.

  16. 3-25-2013

    Like you, handkerchiefs are a big issue with me. I love them and always have one with me. If you don’t like ironing them you can wash them then adhere them to the bathroom wall until they dry. Works almost as well as ironing. When I was really little I had handkerchiefs with the days of the week embroidered on each one. I loved them and for years ‘have tried to find similar for my granddaughters. The nice ones used to come from Switzerland, but now you can’t even find them there. I also looked for hankies in a very nice linen shop when I was in Austria – nada!

    • 3-25-2013

      Every now and then I come across a set of children’s Day-of-the-Week handkerchiefs. It’s a challenge to find an entire set intact. I have a linen set in soft pastel hues with the days embroidered, which has never been out of the box. The second set has images printed on the fabric, and wouldn’t you know it – Tuesday’s child (that’s me) is… at the ironing board! I have a couple of Day-of-the-Week sets for adults. One is hilarious, and I hope to blog about them soon.

      Funny you should mentioned the “no ironing” trick. In her book Hanky Panky, An Intimate History of the Handkerchief, author Helen Gustafson relates this story (pg. 133): “Around 1975, a friend of mine house-sat a penthouse apartment next door to Jackie Kennedy’s flat on Fifth Avenue. From her bedroom window, my friend could look down and see a small part of Jackie’s bathroom, including a section of the mirror above the sink. Late at night, she sometimes would see a light on come in Jackie’s bathroom. She’d leap out of bed, hovering at the window, waiting and watching for a glimpse.
      Every now and again, usually about a half hour after the light went on, two thin hand would appear and place a limp piece of elegant white material on the mirror. Then the hands would smooth the fabric against the glass, squaring it perfectly. It was Jackie’s handkerchief, and those were Jackie’s hands. ‘Ah,’ my friend said, ‘a real lady. She knows how to do it.’”
      Helen then added “My mother and many other women would never think of putting their best handkerchiefs in a washing machine. Nor would they entrust them to their personal maids. A handkerchief of high quality was washed by the woman herself at the end of her day, using her finest facial soap. She would rinse it and smooth it into a square on a piece of glass, traditionally the bathroom vanity mirror. There it would cling until dry – usually overnight. The method was primitive but very effective. In the morning, ‘after the ball’ the handkerchief was folded and put away in a handkerchief box or cedar-lined drawer. No ironing was necessary. It looked ‘ironed’ as is.” The author has passed on, so we’ll never know the name of her friend who recounted this story, but it certainly sounds plausible to me.

  17. 4-19-2013

    These hankies and accompanying stories are absolutely charming! It’s obvious that you put much time and love into collecting and researching this fun subject. Thanks so much for sharing your passion and cleverness!!

  18. 5-28-2013

    Hi Ann,

    You recently purchased a Tammis Keefe “New York” hankie from eBay ( my friend Macropetala was the seller). I thought I would share the back story on the handkerchief as I love to keep the “history” intact whenever possible. In April I went to an estate sale in Lafayette, Indiana and bought a box of 60 plus handkerchiefs from an 86 year old lady who recently left her home for assisted living. She was unmarried and spent her life as the office manager for a travel agency in Lafayette. It was easy to speculate that many of the folks that she helped plan trips for over the years gifted her with handkerchiefs upon their return. There were over a dozen fine European linen and lacework including several with original Maderia tags. While some had been used, many were mint, unused with tags. When I came across the Tammis Keefe hankies, I knew I had found treasure and asked my friend to sell them on eBay to allow them to go to an appreciative audience. I was rather surprised at how much they sold for! I love antiques and vintage goods and have a special affinity for textiles of all sorts. My friend forwarded your blog link to me, I’ve enjoyed reading about your passion and wanted to share a bit about your recent purchase. Thanks, I hope you enjoy it always.


    Ed Keller

    • 5-29-2013

      Ed,ordinarily I hope for bargains and let many hankies go by, but I’ve passed up the theater hankie more than once, so decided to go for it this time. I now have (gulp) 17 Tammis Keefe New York hankies so perhaps should do a blog just on Tammis Keefe’s New York. I wrote a blog focusing on her work but have yet to post it. Thank you for taking the time to let me know about the original owner. It’s a delight to discover the provenance of these little treasures.

    • 2-24-2014

      I love this story and am inspired to write a short story fiction about it. I’ve just found this site and am so inspired. I LOVE vintage and collect vintage clothing and swing dance, but I hadn’t given the humble hankie much thought. I will be mulling this and many ideas over. I’m enjoying reading all the comments here as well. Truly inspiring!

      ~ Tam Francis ~

  19. 9-15-2013

    My friends and family have already emailed me and thanked me for sending the link to your site to them. They are all loving it. A museum exhibit would be great and I would hope that it would be a travelling exhibit or offered out on loan across the country. If it were not in my area, I would drive to see it, up to 300 miles or so…and make a weekend out of it. I will stay updated on your website!

  20. 9-25-2013

    I love it when the things I sell appear on websites, are published in books or used in plays and movies. I must be doing something right when others love the things I love. Thank you for your hard work on your blog. I have checked it many times. The hankies are amazing, amusing and beautiful. Keep up the good work.

  21. 10-17-2013

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your website! I can’t believe I haven’t come upon it sooner! I am going to share it with all of my hanky loving friends! I would love to see as a book! I have been selling hankies for many years (as have my friends) and you have some that I have never seen before. They are amazing!
    P.S….one more thing I would like to share with you. My grandmother (who was born in 1899) always told me as a child….”a lady never leaves the house without her handkerchief” – and I never did.

  22. 10-28-2013

    I’ve acquired hankies over the years because they are an inexpensive item and don’t take up much space, and can be used, if desired. I enjoy the diversity you can discover. I recently purchased a Pat Prichard hankie with foxes on it. When I searched the web to learn more about the designer I came across your website. It is wonderful to see all your images and to read your blogs. How fun! I really didn’t know there were others who enjoyed hankies! 🙂

  23. 10-29-2013

    What a wonderful blog about vintage handkerchiefs! It is evident that you put a lot of time and effort into developing your themes and then writing your beautiful words. I have visited many times and always learn something new. Thank you for sharing the simplistic beauty of vintage hankies with the world.
    Kind Regards,
    Lorri from All Vintage Hankies

  24. 2-24-2014

    Amazing website. I’m so inspired and can’t wait to look for vintage hankies!

  25. 3-19-2014

    I have been a fan of your blog for a little while and enjoy it immensely. I love the way you weave the story of the blog around the handkerchiefs you have found. The history and all it’s connections are wonderful.
    I have been selling on eBay for several years and from time to time I sell hankies. I put one up of a little boy who was hunting a duck with his gun. Not a high interest topic but…..Lo and behold guess who purchased it!!!!! Thank you very much and I will be looking forward to your use of that special little boy’s handkerchief in a blog in the future!!!!!

    • 3-19-2014

      It may not be until fall because I plan to include him with some hunting hankies, but stay tuned…

  26. 4-8-2014

    I am so happy to have come across your blog. I have collected vintage hankies since I was a child. It is so much fun to look for them at estate sales. You have some beautiful ones! I created two lines of handkerchiefs when I couldn’t find any modern ones to give as gifts…one to dry happy tears for women and a stylish line for the gentlemen. They are a fresh take on the vintage accessory!All the best to you.

  27. 4-17-2014

    I collect hankies for many reasons. The first and mose influential reason is that my mother always had a clean, pressed handkerchief in her purse. Hers always had a monogram A on them. As a child I would get to iron them for her. My father also used a clean handkerchief every day- his had an S or a Z on them. The ‘s are particulary hard to find. I still love ironing hankies- a tip- after you wash them in a lingerie bag and they have been spun in the washer, remove and put in the freezer. When you remove them and iron them they come out much smoother than just by sprinkling them.
    In high school I worked at a department store in downtown Chicago. I sold handkerchiefs at the handkerchief counter and loved it. Since then I have discovered children’s hankies which I love- especially the ones from the 40’s and 50’s.
    I have intentions of making a quilt or curtains someday but haven’t yet- eventually I will.

    • 4-18-2014

      Slowly but surely I’m finding my kindred spirits! I also began collecting hankies because my mother always kept a fresh one in her purse. When my great uncle Al died, I was given his handkerchiefs because they were embroidered with the letter “A.” Although they were ‘man size’ I carried them for years and loved them. I do know the freezer trick, and it works wonders, although I have no idea why. (You physics folks can clue us in.) Thank you for sharing it. We also have a Chicago connection, as I’m sixth generation born there on my grandmother’s side. Rest assured, a Chicago blog is in the wings, so stay tuned. You can actually read about my father’s appearance at the Chicago World’s Fair in our blog Let the Games Begin.

  28. 5-7-2014

    Many of your blog readers are probably like me ….. we initially came across your blog after you purchased a hanky via our online shops. I admit that on the earlier blogs, I scrutinized the hankies but lightly skimmed the articles; I love the colorful and unusual hankies, and although I have been collecting/selling/collecting for years and think I have come across them all, you keep coming up with “fresh” vintage ones I’ve never seen before (how do you do that???!!)! But I saved the blog site and one day when I had a little more time on my hands I started reading them closely …. and kept on reading. I must have gone through about six or seven blogs before I stopped. They are CHOCK full of interesting trivia and history tidbits!! Now I read them thoroughly and try to retain my new-found knowledge on whatever the latest blog has taught me for at least a little while (I’m currently on the hunt for vintage darning balls thanks to you!); but if I forget your blog is only a link away for a refresher. 🙂 Heartfelt thanks for giving us these enjoyable blogs; you write so well, obviously love your subject, and definitely work hard to give us entertaining and informative stories. I look forward to receiving and reading each new one, Ann!

    • 5-7-2014

      It’s a labor of love to be sure, and I’m most appreciative of your kind words. Merci beaucoup and muchas gracias.

  29. 5-7-2014


  30. 7-7-2014

    I saw a book for making handkerchief quilts and had to make one. I had no hankys so started collecting. after making a dozen quilts I realized some were too special to use. I have 800+ hankies today.

    • 12-19-2014

      But think how terrific a quilt would be made with your most special hankies. It could be seen and enjoyed daily 🙂

  31. 2-29-2016

    When my mother was in assisted living and then a nursing home I used to do quilt shows, with quilts made in our family. It became cumbersome to carry the heavy suitcases of quilts, and I was not too thrilled to have them handled, but the women loved the tactile part of the shows.

    I switched to doing accessories, and could easily pass around hats, purses, gloves and hankies. The focus narrowed to hats, but I still buy new vintage hankies which catch my eye at estate sales and vintage stores, or online.

    As a child I was one of those gifting hankies to teachers, or they were included in birthday cards as tiny gifts. Tho I only have one silk one from my own grandmother, I still have dozens of my mother’s and many dozens of my own.

    It was Christmas one year and I started sending the States hankies to a young girl, as I thought they might have an added value of learning a bit of geography. Now I buy them to hopefully someday have ones from all the states I have traveled to, tho not likely to reach 50 of those!

    The thought of making hanky quilts is most appealing, and perhaps someday that will happen.

    • 3-2-2016

      Oh the memories carried in both your heart and your artifacts carry stories untold. You’ll never know the number of memories, stories, smiles (and perhaps a few tears) were generated from your sharing your family quilts with the residents of the nursing home. every now and then you can find a grouping of all 50 state hankies, often sold by family members who have no idea the effort it took to assemble the collection. I’ve only run across all 50 about 3 times, but it does happen. Thank you for sharing your story.

  32. 5-26-2016

    I love these stories! I started collecting Hankies because my mother was diametrically opposed to Kleenex. She said it was so tacky. Our dresser drawers were always full of cute, nicely pressed hankies. I had no idea there were this many different kinds of hankies out there. What a fabulous website. Thank you for putting it together… I just spent an hour enjoying the pictures and the facts about the hankies.

    • 5-31-2016

      Glad you enjoyed it. Stay tuned. There are always new surprises on the way.

  33. 6-17-2016

    As a child in the 1950s I would buy a souvenir hanky on seaside holidays with my parents. One of my first is printed with “Greetings from Sussex” and pictures the Sussex Downs, Eastbourne Carpet Gardens and Bodiam Castle. Then I acquired them of the 1951 Festival of Britain and the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

    It went on from there……….I now have more than 4,500 from around the world and for the past 20 years have written and spoken about them, even having the fun of showing them on television several times. Unfortunately they are no longer produced; though I have one of the 1948 Olympics, none were produced for our 2012 Games here in London. Similarly, I have wonderful hankies depicting Queen Victoria’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees but no-one brought one out to celebrate our Queen’s Jubilees, nor her 90th birthday!

    My patient husband carefully attaches the hankies to card and displays them in see-through folders so that people can pick them up to see clearly. We enjoy browsing in antique and charity shops and I’ve been very fortunate to be passed some real treasures by people who hear of my collection.

    I often wonder what will happen to them all when I am no longer here. I should love to know that they could continue to be treasured and kept together for people to see. There are such fascinating ones among them such as those of a Cotton Queen; W.G. Grace’s 100th Test Century and lipstick and rouge hankies – a real social history. I could go on………..

    • 6-19-2016

      Oh I found a soul mate! So many folks (including yours truly) just assumed hankies would be around forever, and thus never saved those from our childhood. How delightful that you have not only your handkerchiefs, but all the memories that accompany them. I would so love to see your collection. Funny you should mention lipstick hankies, as we have an upcoming surprise (not a blog) which will feature lipstick hankies, so stay tuned.There’s a Merry Old England blog slated for the future which will showcase coronation handkerchiefs as well as a Boer war hankie w/Queen Victoria prominently featured. Perhaps you’d be willing to include images from your collection? I’m practically salivating wondering what treasures we’ll discover. I welcome the opportunity to help you find a home for them, and have a few ideas in mind. Please do keep in touch. I’m so very glad to have met you.

      • 7-29-2020

        I’ve only just seen this reply of yours. I’d happily include a few images of my hankies if I can work out how/where to send them. Is it a few Coronation ones you’re interested in seeing or an assortment?

        • 7-29-2020

          you can always attach photos to an email.

  34. 9-23-2016

    My hankies are part of the props I use when I do vintage hats shows, mostly in Chicagoland retirement communities.
    While my own mother had been in senior living I had done some quilt shows, but carrying around those heavy American Tourister suitcases of quilts was cumbersome, so I switched to hats and accessories. Things I could pass around. The hat collecting has become the major focus, but no way I can leave an estate sale without some new old stock hankies.
    Found the fun in Instagram this year, and found I enjoy adding a hanky once in awhile there as well. Even quoted this blog some time back.
    Now I must get back to Instagram to post some more.

    • 9-28-2016

      My guess is you must have quoted something in Hats Off to Sally Victor. Right?

  35. 3-9-2017

    Every couple of months I treat my 6 granddaughters to an old fashion Tea. We delight in a light lunch and then make some sort of craft. Generally a home made card to send to a friend or family. Then comes the actual Tea Party. We enjoy cake and a cup of Tea. I share them the stories of hankies. I share with them my collection that comes from generation of grandmothers and mothers always caring a hankie. Tradition are so important to show our heritage. As the a tea party comes to a close each one of my girls gets to pick a new hankie to add to their own collection. Hopefully thev will carry it with them on their wedding day and remember all those Tea Parties.

    • 3-9-2017

      What a wonderful tradition to start for the next generation. I’m sure they love the stories, but I can assure you that when they are grown, memories of fun times with you will linger in those handkerchiefs. You’re offering so much more than tea and crafts; you’re creating a rich heritage for them to remember. What a cool grandma! (BTW have you checked out our blog on tea?)

  36. 1-26-2018

    I have very fond memories of my Mom’s handkerchiefs. I used to love going into her handkerchief drawer (which smelled like Channel No. 5!) and looking at all the different ones. I loved playing with them and then would fold and stack them neatly in the drawer. When she passed away I went through her drawer and it brought back so many memories. I kept all the good ones and always keep one in my coat pocket so whenever I touch it or use it, it reminds me of her. When I go to special occasions like weddings, I put one in my purse so I know a part of her is with us. Thanks for sharing your beautiful collection with us and keeping this heritage alive.

    • 2-14-2018

      I adore your story. As I keep telling the younger generation, you can’t wipe away a tear with an iphone, or wave Bon Voyage with an ipad. As much as I love electronics (after all, that’s how we’re connecting) much about social media seems quite anti-social. Nothing beats the power of human connection.

  37. 2-8-2018

    Wonderful site and collection that you have here. I got to it because I went to San Francisco Public Library yesterday to see some of your treasures.Delightful!!
    I collect hankies too and every time I go to a different city, I make a point at getting one or two in public market or in old linen shops.
    How did I get to collect hankies??
    I am from a big family of 6 kids and each of us did not have much room for his/her treasures and our mom made sure that everything was stored away every day. My brother and I had foldable bunk beds , so you get the idea. Not only, am I into Hankies, I am into folding….A few years back I had combined the 2 by folding and starching hankies “a la origami”. I even exposed a few of them at a friend party.
    Anyhow, looking forward to listening to you on the 25th of Feb at the SFPL.

    • 2-14-2018

      I can almost envision you and your brother in your bunk beds. You’d be amazed how many people have childhood memories that involve hankies. Their size and durability make them perfect keepsakes to tuck into a pocket, and they always seem to hold fond memories.. You must be a true super sleuth as it’s getting more difficult to find these treasures by the day. I hope we get to meet at the library.

  38. 4-2-2019

    My mother always kept a box of old handkerchiefs in her bureau. We never talked about them and I never took much interest. When she passed away I delved into the box.To my amazement, many of the handkerchiefs were in envelopes. She had received them from women all over the country. It appears to be a version of the old chain mail letters, where you send a hanky to a number of friends, they send them to a number of friends, who each send one to you and a number to their friends. So, she received hankies from lots of folks she did not know. It’s a wonderful collection. I would love to give it to a museum, but have never found the right one. They are lovely.

    • 8-22-2019

      Let me put my thinking cap on and see if I can come up with the right textile arts venue for you. In the meantime, I would love to hear more about the collection – i.e. if there are letters that accompany the hankies, names and addresses of people, etc. It could make for an interesting blog. 🙂

  39. 3-19-2021

    A friend of mine shared a memory that has haunted him for decades. It was an early Saturday morning in November, the day of the high school cross-country championship for the state of Pennsylvania. He was just 17 years old and he was walking from home to his high school where he would climb on the bus that would take him and his fellow runners to State College. They were one of the favorite teams to win the championship, and he was excited, nervous and freezing. It was a bitterly cold morning, snowing hard with an inch or so already on the ground. As he reached the wooden footbridge over the canal that split the city in two, he saw a little boy, maybe five or six years old. The boy was just standing there next to the bridge, shivering. He has no gloves on and his nose was running. My friend didn’t know what to do. He had no money and even if he did, he doesn’t know what he would have done with it. So, he pulled out his handkerchief and wiped the little boy’s nose, gave the boy his handkerchief then walked on. He says that he’s never talked about that moment until now, but he thought about it often. He wonders what ever became of that little boy. He has said to himself many times I should have done more. But what? He does not presume that God place that little boy there for an encounter, but he does believe that in, through that little boy, God touched his heart to teach him that religion is not primarily a set of beliefs; the Christianity, if it makes any sense at all, is not about how confidently we can affirm lines of a creed, but what we do about a little boy shivering in the cold at the foot of a bridge.

    • 8-21-2021

      I wouldn’t be surprised if that little boy cherished that token of caring for years. Thank you for sharing this heartwarming story.

  40. 5-21-2021

    When I was four years old, I desperately wanted to give my mother a Christmas present. So I snuck into her bedroom one day and found her colorful hanky in her dresser drawer. I managed to wrap it in tissue paper and will never forget the big smile on her face when she opened it.

    Today she’s 96 years old and has forgotten many things. But she still remembers my gift of her hanky!

    • 8-21-2021

      I love this story. Thank you.

    • 8-21-2021

      This is truly heartwarming. Thank you for sharing.

  41. 8-21-2022

    I love reading these stories. To me, handkerchiefs are works of art. My great grandmother used to give me orange slice candies wrapped in a floral handkerchief every Sunday morning. I kept the handkerchief after eating the candies, and I brought it back to be refilled the next Sunday morning.

    I still have the handkerchief some 40 odd years later. It is old and the little rosebuds are faded now. But I keep it always as a treasure.

    It should come as no surprise that my mother is now (at 85) a handkerchief maker. And I am her design assistant. We make vintage style handkerchiefs and sell them on Etsy. I draw the flowers on the fabric and mother embroiders them. It is wonderful to do. And I think of granny each time we make a handkerchief. It is like creating living history one handkerchief at a time.

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