|Toscana Wood Metal set of 2|
There was a contrast in the average and poor bride’s trousseau. Contrasting from elaborate to practical items for everyday wear and home items. Often garments were hand-sewn by the mother and female family members. If the bride to be had sewing skills she contributed. Sewn items included clothing, table and bedding linen, quilts and towels. Immigrant families migrating to America travels by sea with possessions in chests. In later decades American teenage girl were given trunks by their mothers or close female relative. It represented a coming of age for young ladies. Trousseau: clothing, personal items and household items were stored in “hope chests” or “glory chests”.
Made for television, Hatfield's and Mc Coy's, starring Kevin Costner there was a scene where Randolph "Ole Ran'l" Mc Coy destroyed his daughter's, Roseanna Hope Chest. Randolph Mc Coy felt his daughter, Roseanna had betrayed the family. He disowned Roseanna. Therefore, he destroyed her "hope chest". In the hope chest was a family heirloom, the father's old Confederate button. Touching and violent scene. I do not know if this actually happen or was made for television. In any event, the scene was symbolic of American family's tradition of "hope chests" in the late 1800s. Trousseau's, home items and keepsakes in hope chest carried family hopes and dreams passed from one generation to the next generation.
Until the 1950s expected path for women was marriage. The hope chest was the middle ground between courtship and marriage. The hope chest was a ritual of the hope and joy. The hope chest and trousseau represented paths of marriage and family life journey. When a young woman married the hope chest was emptied and replaced with memories throughout family life. Mothers would pass this hope chest to their daughters and the journey of the hope chest was reborn. Hope crest were heirlooms handed down from generation to generation. Marriage often times were arranged or required strong family approval.
The Lane Company, VA was a notable maker of cedar wood chest during WWII. Shirley Temple was a model for the company. Advertisement was aimed at GI’s loved ones left in domestic life. Lane Company promoted miniature 12” long chest chests as advertising gifts for high school girls. These two forms for advertisement Americanized the chest and keepsake box.
Contemporary times are different from the mid 1950s. Baby Boomer born 1946 to 1964. Women today are liberated and dowries and trousseau's are no longer common marriage traditions. 1950s and 1960s mates were found through family members, friends, church and social events. Prodigy, America Online and other Internet service providers offered forums and chat rooms for singles. By 1996 there were 16 online dating sites. Today there are more than 1,400 online dating sites. Online dating got a cultural boost with the movie "You've Got Mail" starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In 2002 Friendster, My Space,"social networking" was introduced. Social networking can be used for business advertising, business networking, social networking, finding friends and mates. Social networking has expanded with Facebook and Twitter. Social networking used to find a mate are free services. In 2007 in USA in 2007 professional online services accounted for over $500,000,000.00 in revenues. Currently, online dating market services continues to grown and gaining in population. As technology advances dating services are able to provide additional services. Senior Dating is specialized catering to Baby Boomers 50 year old and older. Baby Boomers are post trousseau's and hope chests. People will always met mates the traditional ways. Boomer have expanded their friend finder search options. Considering online senior matchmaking. This may seem old-fashion but when you find the special someone a “hope chest” still seems like a vintage romantic idea even today.
Disclosure: Compensated Affiliate