First Gather Your Eggs, then Boil and Decorate Them: Some Easter Bunny Handkerchiefs

The featured illustrations of hard-working Easter bunnies were not taken from a picture book, but from a group of children’s handkerchiefs in the collection.  These four, along with forty-eight more examples, were bound into a book (Cotsen 18735). There is an inscription in German dated December 1902 and the style of the pictures suggests they are from the 1890s.

First gather the eggs from the hen.

Now they can be hard boiled.

Next, the decoration.

Get to the stall early for the best selection!

All the subjects in this volume of handkerchiefs suggest that they were manufactured for the children’s market.  There are pictures of circus acts, including one of lions jumping through hoops of fire.  Four each tell the story of Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood.  Others show children playing at the beach, rolling hoops, sailing a boat, and parading down a country lane. Three illustrate scenes from the story of Noah’s ark.

If you are wondering why there are handkerchiefs in the Cotsen Children’s Library, here’s the answer.  Mr. Cotsen was also a passionate collector of textiles and accumulated quite a selection of children’s handkerchiefs–enough to fill three boxes– which he gave to the Cotsen Children’s Library, instead of a museum.  And why not?  After all, there are at least fifteen boxes of cloth books in the stacks as well…

Hoppy Easter!


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