In the days before tissues no well dressed woman or young lady would have thought of stepping outside her home with out a hat, gloves and freshly pressed hankerchief in her purse. Fancy hankerchief of linen and lace were carried to church, weddings, funeral and other special occasions. While pretty colorful cotton hankies with flowers, geometric designs or animals were tucked into sleeves and waist for daytime use. Every holiday and special occassion had special hankie designed just to carry that day, Vacations and trips meant souvenir hankerchiefs one from a far off city or to commemorate visiting a historical place. Handkerchiefs were often given as gifts to women and can still be found crisp and unused in their original boxes tucked away in chest of drawers.
Vintage handkerchiefs were usually made of cotton, linen and silk,and most are still sturdy and in good condition. They can easily be hand washed in gentle detergent and starched to give that crispy appearance once more. For stubborn stains, a good soaking in hot water and an all-fabric bleach like Biz will usually remove any stain.
Today vintage hankerchiefs have a following and are sought by different kinds of collectors. Some collectors only collect souvenir hankerchiefs or handkerchiefs with flowers. But a Christmas handkerchief may be sought not only by a handkerchief collector but also by a person who collects vintage Christmas items. Still vintage handkerchiefs are still one of the least expensive and easiest of the collectibles to find. Most can be purchased for under five dollars and can be found at thrift stores, estate auctions and garage sales.
Remember in "You've Got Mail" when Megan Ryan pulls out the hankie for the little girl with the daisy embroidered on it and tells the little girl what it is....next time you have the sniffles why not pull out a charming vintage handkerchief out of your purse rather than a crimped old kleenex ?