The American girl’s hope chest (1902)

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Christmas stenciling linens 1910

Christmas stenciling linens for the hope chest

American girl’s hope chest or linen chest

A linen chest (or hope chest) is the American girl’s latest fancy, and she is reveling in this deliciously old fashion of getting her linen together long before she has selected her man — or he has selected her.

The hope chest is not the exclusive possession of the wealthy man’s daughter. In olden times, no matter how humble the household, the daughter of it always had her linen chest — one, perchance, that her mother had once filled — and into it she puts every piece of household goods that she could make or purchase.

She began very early to fill this chest, for as she generally married early and it took some time to accumulate, it necessarily had to be started when she was still a wee small lassie.

1903 Monogramming linens for the hope chest

Now that American girls have taken this idea up, it is not likely that the linen chest will begin to be filled when the girl is very young, though some mother, with great forethought, have provided them for tiny daughters.

The price of a hope chest should not deter a girl from having one, as the stores are selling them from $3 up. Of course one can pay a fabulous price if one desires. It is wise to buy as good a one as can possibly be afforded, as it is something a girl will want to keep.

What should you put in a hope chest? (1920)

After she has bought the chest and brought it home, she should take care that every doily that she makes, every lunch cloth, every hemstitched tablecloth with napkins to match, etc., is carefully laid away.

And then when Prince Charming finally does make his appearance, and the day is set, with honest pride she can show him her store of household linen that proves that she is a tidy, thrifty girl and will make him a good wife.

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Linen centerpieces for the hope chest

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