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The Ladies' Home Journal

June 1895

"Mourning and Its Usage"

Author: Isabel A. Mallon

Section I: Some of the Usages

The friends and acquaintances of those who have suffered a bereavement should, of course, leave cards at the door with their condolence written upon them, but only those who are related by ties of blood or who are very close friends ever ask to see those who are in grief. All cards of inquiry are recognized by a return card, black-bordered, which should be sent within ten days after the reception of the card of inquiry. Letters of condolence, those most difficult epistles to write, have almost entirely given way to personal card, and those who are afflicted are not expected to answer such letters when they are received, except by the return paste-board. Our English cousins have a special black-bordered card for this purpose, on which is engraved "Mrs. Blank begs to thank you for your kindness in making inquiries for her." Sometimes this formula is changed; the simpler it is, however, the better. One that has lately come to hand has upon it, "With grateful appreciation of Mrs. Blank's kindness." The name may be filled in by any member of the family, and the envelope holding this card should be black-bordered and fit the card.

While crape is worn formal visits are not paid, invitations are not accepted, and there is nothing in worse taste than to see a woman wearing a long crape veil at a public place of amusement. When crape is laid aside black-boarded paper goes with it. The preferred widths of black-bordered paper has regular numbers, and that used by a daughter is the one known by stationers as number one, by a mother that known as number three, and by a widow that known as number four. The closing of the house and bowing of shutters with broad black ribbons no longer obtains, except in Philadelphia. After the funeral the house is opened and God Almighty's sunshine is allowed to pour in and make life seem worth living. All jewelry is out of taste in mourning. The horrible picture of a woman wearing a crape veil, a widow's cap and huge solitaire diamond earrings is seldom seen is seldom seen nowadays.

Stiff-crimped net, which at one time was worn at the neck and wrists, is no longer in vogue. A widow wears fine lawn cuffs that are quite deep and have a hem measuring half an inch; these are basted on the sleeves after the usual fashion of "turned-over" cuffs, and a rolling collar to match is worn. This neck dressing is, however, only for widows and the three-cornered cap is usually made to match.

Click on this article's sections to view:

 Article Introduction

 Some of the Materials

 Some of the Usages

 Mourning for Men

 A Widow's Mourning

 A Few Last Words

 A Daughter's Mourning


Bibliographical Information:

Mallon, Isabel A. "Mourning and Its Usage", The Ladies' Home Journal, Vol. XII, No. 5, June 1895, p. 19.

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