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18-Sep-2019 00:28

Numerous histories of the handkerchief abound, with some facts contradicting others.

In no way should you consider me a historian, nor this a comprehensive history.

True collectors have hankies that stretch much farther back in time, for these keepsakes were special to someone, and were thus saved, and survived for us to savor.

Handkerchiefs have been with us in the small moments – dabbing a baby’s chin, wrapping a child’s cut finger, catching a tear while watching for the umpteenth time, and the major moments – a bride’s tears of joy, a widow’s deep despair, a marine tucking his wife’s perfumed hankie over his heart.

I offer the following as a compendium of fascinating facts gathered from a variety of sources that appear to be reliable.

History Some historians opine the handkerchief originated in China, and was first used to shield a person’s head from the hot sun.

In the fifteenth century, European traders returned from China with great numbers of peasants’ headscarves, which Europeans appropriated as fashion accessories.

Renaissance portraits show both men and women holding handkerchiefs embroidered and edged in lace.

Some people also choose to carry modern handkerchiefs as a frugal and environmentally responsible alternative to disposable tissues.Today, you can buy these vintage handkerchiefs in antique stores or find them at garage sales and flea markets.These days, it's also popular to carry a handkerchief for a special event, such as a wedding or graduation.This can also be a fun handkerchief craft for special wedding or graduation hankies.

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Who could imagine that a simple square of cotton or silk could hold memories of sadness, loss, joy, hope, happiness and love in their evanescent folds? I know because over the years, I’ve heard countless stories from people about a handkerchief they treasure. Personally, I have handkerchiefs in my collection dating back to 1893.This craft provides a backing for the handkerchief, which can be helpful if the piece is somewhat fragile.

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