March 10th Wednesday Early part of the day
was sewing on a waist or rather cutting
it out and getting it to fit. Augusta
came in this afternoon but as Amelia
& self were invited into Olivers she went
with us and Edwin. Mr Ames came to tea
Amelia trimmed some pocket handkerchiefs
for me that Mrs Ames got in New York
The rebuilding of the shovels shops was moving along well. They “put the roof on the stone shop to day,”* according to Old Oliver, who watched each day’s progress carefully. It had been a full week since fire had destroyed most of the factory buildings. The response and reconstruction had been immediate!
Amelia Gilmore, the widow of Evelina’s younger brother, Joshua Gilmore, Jr., was visiting for several days. She undertook the hemming of some handkerchiefs – essential components of a lady’s outfit – that Almira Ames had brought Evelina from New York City. The purpose of a handkerchief, a personal item dating back to antiquity, was primarily hygenic, used to wipe one’s nose or brow and cover one’s cough. In a time of contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, cloth handkerchiefs were essential. Their ubiquity necessitated their incorporation into the fashion profile.
Late in the day, the two went next door to Oliver Jr.’s and Sarah Lothrop Ames’ home for tea. Oakes Ames went, too, and the newlyweds, Augusta and Edwin Gilmore, tagged along.
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection
2 thoughts on “March 10, 1852”
Where did the ladies tuck their handkerchiefs?
Fair question! There were a few options, including tucked into one’s bodice (if the neckline were low enough) or into a pouch or pocket (pockets were sometimes sewn into day dresses) or tucked up one’s sleeve or undersleeve. I imagine the choice was based on personal preference. The bodice choice might have been slightly risque.