Some days I’m not sure I was born in the right decade.

I mean, I do love the now.

I love the new Hallmark movie season that just started.

I love rooms that vacuum themselves.

I love talking to people through my doorbell when I’m shopping at Walmart.

I love the conveniences of all the things that this century showed up with.

But truth?

If I could click my ruby slippers together and live in another time and place, I’d love to be whisked away to a time when ladies listened for the dinner gong to dress and wore amazing gowns and tiaras and went to balls and drove in horse-drawn carriages and had high tea at 5:00 pm and waited on suitors to show up with calling cards.

And lived in places where castles and manor houses were as common as Walmarts are here.

Sigh.

And that’s why I loved this tiny bit of history from a bygone era.

Wait until you see what we found.

Gloves.

Half a dozen pairs of gloves.

These amazing, incredible, before Downton Abbey gloves.

An entire box of gloves tucked away by my husband’s grandmother in the bottom of a drawer in a box scented with all of the nostalgia and pomp and circumstance of a time gone by.

They were May Margaret’s gloves.

My husband’s grandmother’s aunt who was born in 1884.

An entire century before vacuums that drive themselves and food that shows up at your door and doorbells that let you talk to people from hundreds of miles away.

Her father was from Dundee Scotland and the family arrived in America before she was born.

She was 14 when she wore these.

Probably to church or a party or a family get-together.

She drank tea and listened to glamourous older girls talk about suitors and balls and petticoats.

And waited.

Patiently.

For all that amazing, wonderful, incredible ballgown life to unfold.

She’d button them at the back.

Or maybe have her sister or her mother help her.

These were easy to learn on.

They only had one button and it snapped.

And then?

One day May Margaret turned 18.

And put on a dress with billowy ruffles and put her hair in an upswept bun with tiny tendrils and clipped on her pearls and tucked her feet into dancing shoes and pulled on these gloves.

And went to the ball.

I wish you could have heard my heart beating when I opened the box.

All of that life.

All of that glamour.

All of the stories and the parties and the dancing and the suitors and gossip and the beating fans and the laughter and the swirling music of the ballroom that these gloves had seen poured out when I lifted the lid.

Truly?

I wished with every little part of me that I could have been there at that long ago day to watch 1899 turn into 1900.

I wish I could have walked into that ballroom.

I wish I could have giggled.

I wish I could have laughed with May Margaret and swirled and danced on that floor with a suitor.

And for a moment.

Holding those gloves….

…it felt like I did.

PS The gloves came with a glove stretcher.

I’m not sure how it worked?

PS These gloves reminded me of my own grandmother.

And her love story.

You can read all about the love letters from box 54 here.

Comments

  1. Image for Richella J. Parham Richella J. Parham

    Oh, KariAnne. WOW. What a find! These are just beautiful! And how appropriate that they would end up in your drawer. . .who better to find them and share that joy with the world? I love this.

  2. Image for Donna Bray Donna Bray

    I traveled back with you to the days of long ago. Matter of fact we were friends full of smiles and beauty. Thanks for sharing

  3. Image for Andrea Smith Andrea Smith

    This is such a terrific story. You - and those amazing gloves - took us back to those wonderful days. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Image for Claudia A Claudia A

    Amazing. My G’ma was born in 1888. Awkward fitting gloves were a sign of lower class. Everyone wore gloves not just for fashion or for warmth, but to protect from the spreading of disease.

  5. Image for Nicole Nicole

    Ahhh! That is so exciting. As a history teacher, I love antiques and often tell my husband I was born in the wrong era. I would give anything to experience life 100 years ago. You definitely have a family heirloom to preserve and pass down (including you finding them, which is now part of the story to be passed on :)

  6. Image for Deb in Oklahoma Deb in Oklahoma

    Wow. What a lovely Victorian-era time capsule. After the initial ooh and ahh, my first thought is that these need a shadow box. The gloves, the stretcher, and the handwritten note--they all need to be showcased in a shadow box. Please don't stash them away--this was a great little treasure to find and should be enjoyed by everyone.

  7. Image for Kim Kim

    What a FABULOUS "find"! I love to wear gloves to formal affairs. It is a little old-fashioned and traditional, but you would be amazed by how many people comment on how special it is to bring back some old fancy traditions. Enjoy these treasures. Having the note from your grandmother is so special! Best, Kim

  8. Image for Jeanie Jeanie

    I have my great Aunt Margaret's gloves and I love them! A bygone era where women wore dresses, hats and gloves to church. Where being polite and kind were the norm and not the exception. I love your blog, KariAnne. I know it's a lot of work and takes a lot of time, but please keep doing it.

  9. Image for Debi Debi

    How wonderful that they were treasured all of these years and that you and your daughters will continue to treasure them!

  10. Image for Jenn Jenn

    I love this! I am a period drama watcher, I think mainly for the furniture and the dresses. I am always saying to my husband "Did you see that sofa?" The only thing that makes me think I could not have lived during that time are corsets...can you even imagine? How about corsets in the Texas heat? Yikes!

  11. Image for Jenn Jenn

    I love this! I am a period drama watcher, I think mainly for the furniture and the dresses. I am always saying to my husband "Did you see that sofa?" The only thing that makes me think I could not have lived during that time are corsets...can you even imagine? How about corsets in the Texas heat? Yikes!

  12. Image for Lyn Lyn

    I love stories like this. Several years ago we were shopping for the perfect little antique piece to fit in an alcove as you go up our stairs. I found a lovely 3 drawer chest with a nice carved back on it. It had the real old smell so I opened it to start airing it out before putting an odor reducing thing in it. Well, inside was a note written by the man who made it - it was in the mid-1850's - it was a wedding gift to his daughter. How lovely. My husband loves photography, and after a trip I love looking for the perfect photo to have printed on canvas. I have a large photo of black-eyed Susans that he took in Ireland. I have a lovely candle on it, and a rustic metal basket with friendship balls in it. I just love it.

  13. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    What an incredible piece of history from your husbands family ❤️ They are definitely a treasure!!! Both of my daughters got to wear their great grandmothers elbow length white gloves for their debutante balls. Their three cousins wore them as well. Love the nostalgia 🥰

  14. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    That is truly magnificent. What a beautiful story this so much pomp and circumstance. I think those gloves deserve their own special place on your wall and a beautiful shadowbox. Just saying. Have an amazing week.

  15. Image for Erin Kaven Erin Kaven

    Found an incredible picture in a bedroom set that was my Grandmother's (born 1889) in which she and all her 8 brothers and sisters were in white dresses and suits on the steps of their Victorian. So reminiscent of Meet Me In St. Louis. It made me remember the story of the taffy pulls they use to have and long for the days of parties that involved music (played in house, not a recording), taffy pulls, dancing and pretty white dresses. Turn of the Century love.

  16. Image for Doreen Bednarski Doreen Bednarski

    Oh Karianne, how blessed you are to have a lovely forever ago glimpse into family history. Such an absolute treasure. Put them on and twirl and dance as though you are there!

  17. Image for TERESA GONZALES TERESA GONZALES

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!What a find and with a card about them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The allure of bygone times -fancy dresses-tea-romance..........ahhhhhh

  18. Image for trudy nickelson trudy nickelson

    I too should have born in that same era and I share your dreams. Your message was beautifully written. What a treasure you have found indeed!

  19. Image for jillian jillian

    OK. I will be the evil person bursting everyones fantasy bubble (my little pretties) Having grown up in the 50's...and that was enlightened compared to before that..(.you know, outhouses woohooo.).. women could not own property or have credit in their own name. Women were thought to be lesser in almost every way, and generally disregarded. Few could work and even then in only what were considered acceptable female jobs.( A few were the exception.) Constant sexual harassment. Common assault. And getting up every day having to spend a lot of time getting dressed.( so much work.) Endless repression and control..If you were one of the small percentage of wealthy there was help, otherwise women were essentially house slaves. Winter Cold and Summer Hot houses. Terrible health care. Romance novels and tv specials make it seem so gracious and lovely, but no. Ok. putting my microphone down.

    1. Image for Dianne Bell Dianne Bell

      Jillian, I agree with you. I love the little romantic notion of fancy ball gowns, parties, carriage rides, but yes, that was for the minority not the majority. And, I sure as hell don’t want to be treated like someone’s property. That and all the other stuff can stay in the past. I’d rather be here now. We, as women are still fighting our way forward; we’ve made lots of strides but have to keep pushing for more equality. And , that’s what I’m instilling in my two daughters, young women who are becoming more independent and reaching for more! Have a great day!

  20. Image for Dianne Bell Dianne Bell

    KariAnne, what a special treasure to have found. Have you and yours girls attempted to try them on? Just to think, you're touching the hands of the ladies who wore them before! Fabulous! Hope you’ll find the perfect way to display them; maybe in a shadow box like one of the other ladies mentioned. Enjoy your own piece of history! Have a sweet day!

  21. Image for Marie Davis Marie Davis

    I have followed you for years! I love the way your write! Your decorating is amazing and your writing hooks me and makes me feel like we are just buddies and you are telling me stores! I just want you to know how much I enjoy both! ❤️🤓❤️

  22. Image for BRENDA VINCENT BRENDA VINCENT

    What a wonderful keepsake. I don't mean to question, but when I read the handwritten card, I thought it said Mary Margaret. I just would hate to have her name recorded wrong for posterity. My apologies, if I misread.

    1. Image for beverly e beverly e

      I thought the same thing. The card looks like it says her name was Mary Margaret, but they called her Aunt May.

  23. Image for Kathy Menold Kathy Menold

    Karianne , Finally got to see Dougton Abby the movie and am feeling your yen to be at a royal,ball with beautiful gowns and jewels and always gloves. I kept some of my Mothers gloves from the 20s and as a child would put them on and was fascinated by the tiny buttons. I still think through all the moves I have made I still have some along with her beautiful embroidered handkerchiefs. I keep them in a satin quilted box which still has that scent of years gone by.and a sweet remembrance of my Mother.

  24. Image for june june

    The beautiful legacy of gloves...how wonderful that you found these. I remember my mom's beautiful gloves and my grandmothers. Even as a little girl my mom had us wear our little white gloves on Sunday to church. Thanks for taking me back in time today.

  25. Image for Kris Kris

    What a delightful find! I'm sure that made your day. Maybe your week. A couple of years ago, my daughter and I went with my friend and her daughter to a tea and fashion program at our local museum. The speaker was amazing--it could have been a very stuffy presentation but she was fun and lighthearted and willing to answer all those questions you want to ask but don't know how. She brought fashions with her from the 1860s to the 1940s (yes, I saw a black dress from the '30s that I thought would be perfect for me, but she wasn't willing to part with it, haha). She was dressed in 1880s clothing and showed us each.of.every.layer. Oh my goodness. The dresses looked amazing, but .... the corset. The undergarments. The petticoats, bustles, and who knows what else to make the dresses stand out properly. It made it much less romantic to envision trips to the outhouse. I think the bottom layer was pantalets--anyway, they were completely open (purposely!) to allow for personal hygiene, cuz once you got on all those layers, you sure didn't want to remove them until bedtime. You would have thoroughly enjoyed the program--so much history is woven into fashion!

  26. Image for Marty Marty

    Oh how amazing and what a precious find. I love the story of times gone by. I remember when I was a little girl that my mom always wore gloves to dress up and I even wore them to Church and especially on Easter Sunday when I was really small. She was very old school Southern and women were always proper.

  27. Image for Indigo Indigo

    Oh Karianne .. I know that exact feeling. My mother passed away at 94 and I was the executor of her estate. One of the things I wanted to capture before the estate sale opened was her gold thimble she always had on her finger when sewing. I lived in a town that was about 400 miles from my mother. One day my doorbell rang and it was the son of a good friend of the family. He unloaded two trunks that his father had been storing for my mom. Inside among many things, were the letters my mother and dad had written to each other from 1936 thru WWII! I want to sit down one day and scan them on my computer and make a hard bound book for our family. So I know your feeling well.

  28. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, my goodness. What a treasure! I would have loved that era, too. So romantic. And those scallops on those gloves! I’m not sure the Smithsonian has such a gorgeous find! ❤️❤️❤️

  29. Image for Betty Baker Betty Baker

    Ithink that this was a beautiful story. I imagined myself in a corset pulled tightly, flowing lacy petticoats, a gorgeous green satin off the shoulder beautiful gown with a really full skirt and dainty shoes. And a knock comes to the door and there he is, I get my shawl and long gloves,go down the steps into a wonderful elegant carriage ..he opens the door for me, helps me into the carriage comes around the other side, steps elegantly in and says Scarlett you look ravishingly tonight and I say “well thank you Rhett and at that Mr. Butler taps the roof and says to the carriage driver “ off to the Ball James”oh what a wonderful evening it was. Can’t you just picture it.?

  30. Image for D. Velasco D. Velasco

    Bravo! What a great write-up. The story was charming and each part of it was accompanied by a correspondingly beautifully photograph, Thanks you for sharing such a touching piece of family nostalgia.

  31. Image for Mary Mary

    Wow, what a great find! And since I have not followed you that long, I went over to read about your grandparents and the letters written between them, I love that idea. I have some old letters like that written between my mother and father during WW 2 and they would make a nice booklet to share, thanks for the idea!

  32. Image for Sue Sue

    The glove stretcher was probably used to stretch the finger portion of the gloves (since our fingers aren't all the same size). I agree with Kim from Oklahoma that these items (including the note) should go into a shadow box. But I also agree with Jillian that life for women today is MUCH better than it was in the days of ball gowns, gloves and tiaras. Women back then had no right to vote, didn't work unless it was in a family business or they were destitute, and couldn't have the careers they can have today (doctor, lawyer, banker, politician, police officer, real estate agent, etc). Their opinions on politics or any contemporary news carried no weight because they were women. They were expected to marry well, raise their children to marry well, and tend the household. They didn't go out at night unescorted, they wore corsets and they carried smelling salts in case they fainted because they couldn't breathe in their corsets. It was a very narrow, confining life. No thanks! But the gloves are a cool find.

  33. Image for Veronica K Nightingale Veronica K Nightingale

    What a wonderful find and w3hat a lovely post! I also read about Box 54. I constantly have to keep watch over keeping more stuff than I need, but there are some things I will not part with and will leave to my daughter - my grandm0ther's dishes (from her engagement in 1914) and my mother's dishes, which I am now using instead of keeping stored away. I have taken to emailing bit and pieces of family history and sending them to my children, including stories of the past my grandmother and great-grandmother told me. So many people have no clue who and what made them who they are. This is sad.

  34. Image for Rebecca A Parker Rebecca A Parker

    Oh KariAnne! What a truly wonderful, fabulous, amazing find! A true treasure indeed! Girl, I'm right there with you in loving so many things about today but feeling so connected to an earlier time. And Hallmark? Please! I'm secretly happy that summer is over so I will have an excuse to stay in ndoors on Saturdays with my hot tea and my Hallmark movies! :-)

  35. Image for Denise V Cox Denise V Cox

    How lovely!! When you " go", let me know. I'm traveling with you. I've often said I was born in the wrong time period. I have an "old soul"... so to speak... 😉.

  36. Image for Linda F Linda F

    What a wonderful find! My mother passed away in August and when my brothers and I were going through our parents house, to get ready to sell, I found about 2 dozen of my great grandmothers embroidered handkerchiefs and brought them back home with me. I saved a couple for me, allowed my daughter and the female 1st/2nd cousins choose one they wanted to keep as a memory. It brought about some good memories my 1st cousin and I shared about our great grandmother with the others who never got the chance to know her. I love the idea someone talked about putting them in a shadow box and may do the same for the handkerchiefs I kept.

  37. Image for Connie Connie

    What a joy to find your grandmother's gloves and letters! I remember my first job interview wearing a white hat, short white gloves and a dress that had a full skirt, three quarter length sleeves and a peter pan white collar. I got the job. LOL What a blessing for your girls too! Thanks for writing such an enjoyable story!

  38. Image for Jeanine Jeanine

    Somewhere in time....treasures, for sure. Im with Deb from Oklahoma, find a way to display all of this history of your family and home. I'm with you, I wish some of that girly charm was still of today. Enjoy your finds!

  39. Image for Carol Carol

    Oh gosh, what an amazing find. I'm right there with you regarding living in another time. My Dad always told me I was born a hundred years too late. I too have some beautiful gloves from my ancestors although I don't know specifically who they belonged to. I have some tiny wee leather ones and some long elegant ones. Such a gift.

  40. Image for Tammy Tammy

    Oh , my! How fun. We found my husband’s grandmother’s gloveswhen she passed. While not nearly as glamorous or polished, she was the state of Oklahoma’s president of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary. Apparently she wore fancy long dresses and gloves to the big events during the 60’s. Red, white, cream, browns and - wait for it- gold lame gloves! We still have them. I love stepping back in history where life seemed a little more gentle and glamorous!

  41. Image for Becky Becky

    So cool! I have my great grandma's glove box full of handkerchiefs. 😊 ...but you know? I am SO relived to live in a time when gloves and hats are not required wear anytime I leave my house. 😁

  42. Image for Colleen Colleen

    I love old finds like this! I agree with some others who have commented..displayed in a shadow box with a picture of the lady that wore them would be so sweet :)

  43. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    What a wonderful connection to your husband's ancestor! Those gloves framed behind glass would be a lovely wall art piece for your bedroom. Would even look great in the living room or sitting room. I would not want to live in that time, but sure would like a visit there.

  44. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I displayed my gloves on ceramic gloves models and had hats with hat boxes on a round card table covered with a tablecloth that went to the floor. I was amazed at how small they were. Of course, I got a pair for graduation, because every respectable young lady needed a pair of white gloves! (I am 66 now.)

  45. Image for Donna Gaddis Donna Gaddis

    What a gift that you have some written history to make these treasures even more real! As a dealer in antiques i am always urging people to write and connect the history they know to the object. That is the thing that will truly tie the lives together across the years. Wishing you a November soaked in gratitude. I am thankful for you, dear creative and giving friend!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.