Hope Chest Traditions

A little over a month ago, I began doing some freelance work for an online studio. For my first assignment, I accidentally did the wrong title. Ha! (I realized it was the wrong title before I turned it in, don’t worry.) It was good practice, and it was about something in which I’m interested, so I don’t consider it a waste of time. But I thought I’d go ahead and post it here, so it doesn’t just sit in my file. Hope you enjoy it!

Hope Chest Traditions

Overview
Spanning centuries and continents, the hope chest has traditionally been a place to store the treasures of young women awaiting marriage. Popularity has waxed and waned, but an online search will quickly reveal that hope chests are still desired and used today.

History
Hope chests were used to collect and preserve a woman’s trousseau as far back as the late medieval times. In some cultures, hope chests contained the only possessions a woman actually owned.

Function
Traditionally given to young women by their parents, hope chests were filled with the goods needed to set up a household, often items handcrafted by the young ladies themselves as they matured.

Geography
In different countries around the world, hope chests have had various names and forms; the Italian cassoni, the Dutch kast, the German schrank, and the English glory box are examples.

Features
Cedar is commonly used for creating hope chests, due to its resistance to bacteria, fungi, and decay, as well as its insect repellant properties.

Fun Fact
Sulfur inlay is a decorative technique, used the late 18th and early 19th centuries by Pennsylvanian chest crafters, that involves filling carved channels in the wood with molten sulfur.


photo by RichinMN, CC BY-NDW 2.0

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laurie Lynn
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 18:08:52

    Fascinating Facts!You got me wondering again about the old oak chest we have which is a keepsake from Mike's side. I hope to ask his Mom about the chest and the story of how it came to her… Strange about the sulfer!Thanks for the reserch!

    Reply

  2. Laurie Lynn
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 22:06:35

    I do wish commenting came equipped with spell check. Oh well. Bad spellers of the world untie!hee hee

    Reply

  3. TAB
    Sep 15, 2009 @ 22:06:32

    What a great tradition. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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