Shopping From the Past

Archival Kerchiefs

(hankies above are from the highly-endorsed DISCHARGE STYLE)

Handkerchief, bandanna, hankie, or kerchief. Whatever you call it, it’s essential. I keep one with me all the time, for nose-blowing, glasses cleaning, a rag for when your bicycle chain drops, tying things, bundling things, a headband, or, in the woods, as a sieve (try it – you can even drain rice). Lesli and I both won’t go on a cycling outing without at least two handkerchiefs. Keep one in your handlebar bag for all contingencies. Along with a good knife, a bandanna is an everyday necessity.

Try out your bandannas as neck wear:

Or as head gear:

Or as baggage:

Make sure to keep an eye on your hankie:

Shopping possibilities:

Archival Clothing is thinking about designing and producing a limited-edition hankie. If we keep the price low, would anyone be interested? They’d be made in the USA, of course, and available in a few colors.

31 thoughts on “Archival Kerchiefs”

  1. How large would you be thinking? I almost always carry a standard pocket hankerchief (10×10?) because the large you-can-use-them-as-a-hat railwaymans hankerchief is hard to wad into a pants pocket. And all of my hankerchiefs are disintegrating. So if you made them in the handy pocket size, I’d certainly be interested in a few.

  2. Yes please. I love to carry a kerchief for misc uses. I use them the most during the summer when I wet them and drape them over my neck while outside.

  3. i bought a dozen hankies from rei, only to find that they’d all been made in china. what archival-approved manufacturers are here in the states?

  4. Thanks for all the strong comments in support of the post and future archival clothing kerchief project. Research and development is under way.

    If you happen to be a historical hankie expert and know a bit about historic dye methods, cotton quality issues, etc, send an email to We’d love to get additional, deep tissue feedback on best, custom specifications for our product.

    Otherwise, we’ll be consulting product descriptions for “best quality” handkerchiefs from our Wards catalog and related historical print ephemera.


    Thanks for the new link and comment requesting that we keep our kerchiefs “rugged, varied, and inexpensive.” We’ll try!

  5. Yes, yes and yes. I’d gladly carry an Archival Clothing handkerchief, maybe even two (one for the pocket and one for the bag)!

  6. Orvis had some nice bandanas allegedly modeled on designs used by Teddy Roosevelt. They need to be big enough to cover your head in a pinch as well as tie around your neck.

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