Muslin Handkerchief

The market revolution of the 1700s expanded people’s access to goods from around the globe. American merchants and business owners in the early republic acquired and sold a variety of smaller goods such as tea from China and ceramics from England. Handkerchiefs from India—such as this one made of pink and blue muslin—often appeared in merchants’ ledger accounts. For instance, Ramsay recorded an imported “Sastracundy” handkerchief, the name indicating its Southern Indian origin. As a fashionable and practical accessory, men and women wore the piece of cloth about the neck, tucked into a pocket, or carried in the hand. This Indian handkerchief is made with a pink and blue pattern on white muslin. It has a floral border 2” wide. Floral sprigs overall and a floral medallion details the center.
Object Name
Object Type
Accessories Worn on the Body
date made
Physical Description
cotton (overall material)
overall: 35 1/2 in x 34 3/4 in; 90.17 cm x 88.265 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Costume
Clothing & Accessories
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of John B. Copp
Sewer, Andy; Allison, David; Liebhold, Peter; Davis, Nancy; Franz, Kathleen G.. American Enterprise: A History of Business in America

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