Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Handkerchief That Made History

From the "Historical Textiles" department:

The North Carolina State Capitol served the state throughout the Civil War... On May 20, 1861, legislators signed the Ordinance of Secession in the House of Commons Chamber. As soon as it was signed, a handkerchief was waved from the window of the office of the Speaker of the House. When that signal was given, a great celebration began on the building's Union Square, including a 100-round artillery salute and music from a military band. Legend has it that the first blood shed for North Carolina during the war occurred that day as a bulldog, startled by a gun salute, severely bit one of the cannoneers of Manly's Battery in the seat of his pants.

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And take a look at another wonderful historical textile -- a c.1810 "Happy Family or Father's Present" handkerchief. This is how the very early children's handkerchiefs looked -- often full of panels, poems or both, telling children how to act, what to be grateful for, and so on. They were printed in one color on cotton or linen, and hand-hemmed.

These early hankies are extremely rare. J.J. Murphy, in his CHILDREN'S HANDKERCHIEFS: A HISTORY, values this example at $500-700. In good condition, that is -- this one's a bit 'used,' shall we way.

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