1950s Ladies Handkerchiefs
We're all familiar with the use of a dropped, laced handkerchief by women to attract the attention of young men, particularly in the late 18th century. Then the handkerchiefs were colorful, silk and embroidered. They were also used to protect the ladies nose from terrible odors from the outside as they walked along the streets. Many women had lovely handkerchiefs they carried with them in public and plain cotton ones used at home for actual head colds.
It was 1924, the birth of Kleenex introduced by Kimberly-Clark that caused the death of handkerchiefs. Originally invented as a face towel to remove cold-cream, by the 1930’s Kleenex was praised as the antidote to germs with their slogan “Don’t carry a cold in your pocket.” Many opted for a disposable alternative. In the mid-1950s a Little Golden Book featuring Little Lulu showcased things to make and do with Kleenex tissues, i.e.. showing children how to make bunny rabbits and more from tissues. Its first printing sold 2.25 million copies.
In the 1950s women's handkerchiefs were an accessory and came in many styles. Though a woman wouldn't leave home without a pretty handkerchief, it was rarely used except to dot perspiration or lipstick. Today, handkerchiefs are collected and admired but seldom carried or used.