Handkerchief - 'It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary', World War I, 1914-1918 Object Reg. No: HT 29770

Printed cotton handkerchief bearing the musical score and words to 'It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary', with images of flags, medals and marching soldiers. Made as a patriotic souvenir during World War I. The personal connection of the handkerchief to World War I is unknown.

The song 'It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary' was written by Jack Judge. Its focus on nostalgia for home was a break from songs intended to rouse the fighting spirit. It was copyrighted in 1912, and became a popular song during World War I. (Henry James 'Harry' Williams is credited as co-writer, but appears to have been a friend of Jack Judge to whom Jack owed a favour. They both made a fortune from the song.)
Off-white cotton handkerchief printed in colour, featuring a musical score and words, with rows of marching soldiers bearing rifles beneath. Border of green shamrocks; Victoria Cross in each corner, between which appear the crossed flags of Commonwealth countries. The edges of the handkerchief are hemmed with obvious machine stitching.
Statement Of Significance:
This handkerchief is typical of souvenirs that were made and sold cheaply, and easily transportable either by mail or in luggage, during World War I. Printed and embroidered handkerchiefs, usually with patriotic or nostalgic themes, were available at both locations of the war effort: they were sold close to war zones, where soldiers on leave could buy them to send home; and they were sold at home, appealing to families who might retain them as a keepsake of a loved one or post them overseas.

While the provenance of this handkerchief has been lost, it is a good representative example of souvenir handkerchiefs of the period. Its unmarked condition suggests that it has been carefully stored for nearly 100 years.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Judy Wheeler, 2011
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 465 mm (Height), 506 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: souvenirs, patriotism, world war i 1914-1918, souvenir handkerchiefs
Themes this item is part of: Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: MILITARY HISTORY
Secondary Classification: Service
Tertiary Classification: souvenirs
Inscriptions: In the centre of the handkerchief are the words and music to 'It's a long, long way to Tipperary':

It's a long way to Tipperary,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye, Piccadilly,
Farewell, Leicester Square,
It's a long long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there!

Beneath score is printed in red the text 'BY KIND PERMISSION OF / B. FELDMAN & CO 2, 3 & 4 ARTHUR St. NEW OXFORD St. LONDON W.C.' At lower left: 'REG'D'.
Date Made: 1914-1918
Organisation Named: B. Feldman & Co., London, England, Great Britain

Music reproduced on handkerchief with permission from B. Feldman & Co. The company is still at the same address as it was when this handkerchief was printed (as of 2011).
References: Irish Culture and Customs web site http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/VetsTiperary.html, accessed 19/9/2011.

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