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Amanuensis Monday: The Hope Chest and Trousseau

Posted by on June 11, 2012

John Newmark of the Transylvanian Dutch blog started a genealogy meme of Amanuensis Monday in February 2009. He defines amanuensis as a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I’ve been looking at my maternal grandmother’s (Ruby REINHARDT) Bride’s Book.  I’ve talked about my grandparents’ first meeting, their engagement, memorable events here and here, and the shower previously.  Now we see the listings of the items in my grandmother’s Hope Chest and Trousseau.  First, a bit o’ vocabulary from Wikipedia.

Hope Chest: “…a chest used to collect items such as clothing and household linen, by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life. The term “hope chest” or “cedar chest” is used in the midwest or south of the United States…”

Trousseau: Wikipedia created a nice little circular reference by referring back to “hope chest.”  But never fear, Grandma knew what Wikipedia does not.  Her household items are in the hope chest and her clothing items (including some unmentionables) are in her trousseau.

So let’s see what we can find in the hope chest.

  • 7 [7?!?!? where did she think she was going to live? not in Texas obviously] quilts
  • 2 comforters (1 wollen [sic] and 1 challis [a printed woven fabric per Wikipedia])
  • 4 sheets
  • 2 bedspreads [good gosh, the bed covers are about 2 feet high at this point]
  • 6 pairs of pillowcases
  • 2 linen tablecloths (1 pink & 1 white)
  • 1 lace tablecloth
  • 4 luncheon cloths [placemats?] with napkins
  • 2 pairs of pillows
  • 1 set crocheted scarfs [sic]
  • 1 set “yo-yo” scrafs [sic]
  • 12 scarfs [sic – but we know by now that she didn’t know how to spell scarves but she is certainly consistent and that’s important too!] of various shapes and sizes
  • 6 towels (face and bath)
  • 4 wash rags
  • 12 cup towels
  • 6 aprons
  • 1 cloths pin bag
  • 2 crocheted “throw” rugs
Moving to the trousseau….
  • Wedding dress – Heaven blue alpaca crepe dress and jacket
  • Shower dress – dusty pink sports dress [Huh? Sports dress? See this vintage sewing pattern]
  • “Second day” dress – Black and white checked sharkskin, trimmed in red
  • Accessories – navy blue
  • Housecoat and gown – copen [medium] blue and baby blue
  • House dresses – red, green, and blue
  • Lingerie [arrgggh, my eyes!] – peach and white
  • gowns – maize, bed [?], and tearose
Next week all this risqué talk of unmentionables will be over, but we’ll take a look at the marriage certificate in the Bride’s Book.


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