Well, I thought I had seen everything there was to see in collectibles. Having been “in the biz” for over 40 years, I have seen a lot of interesting items, but a recent estate sale had some delightful textiles and linens and at the bottom of the pile were these sweet hankies.
Having two daughters, I recalled both stories they represented – The Saggy Baggy Elephant and The Poky Little Puppy. These are two rather simplistic stories and yet I believe they would charm toddlers even today. When I looked closer at the hems, I saw these were from a Golden Book Design. Golden Books were a beloved product of the Western Publishing Company, made right down the road in Racine, Wisconsin and we would travel to the outlet once or twice a year to get some treasures.
I see that their design is credited to Gustaf Tenggren, the illustrator from these wonderful old books. Mr. Tenggren had a long, successful career with Disney too, and claims Snow White as one of his accomplishments.
It is not a surprise that these are both in such good shape, and were probably given to a little girl for her “pocketbook” by grandma or mom and only used when absolutely necessary. Some children may have used these to cover their dollies or teddy bears when they were put into their cradles. Others might have used them to display, maybe as a doily under a lamp or clock.
It is pretty amazing the things you can find when you are out and about. I doubt that kids of today would use a handkerchief at all, and having one from an action figure or superhero would probably not appeal to them.
Handkerchiefs in general are still collected today. Some are of very fine lace and were considered to be an important accessory for any young lady. Many have a reference to a trip or vacation spot, and some were from the military. It was quite common during World War II for a soldier or sailor to send a “sweetheart” or other loved one a souvenir of their travels. Hankies, scarves and pillowcases can still be found on a regular basis in antique malls, consignment shops and yard sales.
These little hankies are so charming and fun to display, they’ll “blow your mind.”