More Children’s Handkerchiefs from the Textile Collection

A piece of Disney merchandise from the 1930s. Cotsen 38797.

An American handkerchief that teaches an early version of signing from the 1830s. Cotsen 6319.

The collection has a copy of this English handkerchief printed in deep rose ink. The boys in the illustrations are doing everything except their homework. Cotsen 21350.

A different exercise in counting inspired this handkerchief. Will the upcoming census in the US inspire similar merchandise? Cotsen 23602.

Boys playing one of America’s favorite sports. Cotsen 38139.

Inspired by a board game of the same name published by William Spooner in the 1850s. Cotsen 40016.

It would be unthinkable to produce this scene from the famous puppet play of Mr. Punch abusing his wife in any children’s merchandise today. Cotsen 6425.

Marine biology with a touch of slapstick humor, possibly from the last decade of the nineteenth century. Cotsen 52858.


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!