Beautiful Young Woman - The Signal

  • Hankies are part of three Shakespearean plays—Cymbeline, As You Like It and Othello. A misunderstanding over a hankie prompted both murder and suicide in Othello. Mercy.
  • During the Great Depression, women could rarely afford any change to their wardrobes, but a new hankie was doable.
  • Some historians say that Napoleon’s Josephine had such poor teeth that she covered her mouth with a hankie when she spoke.
  • In the 1300s, a handkerchief of silk was considered an important wardrobe item among gentrified women. They remained a status symbol during the 1600s, when they were enormous compared to the hankies we know today.
  • From the knights of the Middle Ages to the soldiers of World War II, men carried their lover’s hankies into battle as good luck charms.
  • Martha Washington had special hankies made in support of her husband’s presidential bid—although it’s difficult to imagine how that influenced the vote.
  • Kids were required to carry a fresh hankie to school each day during the 1800s. Erasmus must have been similarly disposed because he urged children to use hankies—then known as napkyns—in his writings during the early Renaissance. “To wipe your nose on your sleeve is boorish,” he wrote. Indeed!