This week's pin is what I'm terming girl-pearls--the chatelaine. What's a chatelaine? It's the girl version of a man-tool!
Like the Swiss Army knife or Leatherman (not that girls can't use it!), the chatelaine was worn at the waist for easy access during work. This lady's picture is titled "the nurse's chatelaine"--she may have used the scissors to cut off old bandages, a pencil to make notes on the mini clipboard, some smelling salts to revive the faint, and finally a little pillbox to dispense medications when needed. This one is elaborate and makes me glad nurses have pockets in their scrubs now! When we were in Maine this summer, my husband and I had a blast window shopping the antique stores. I found another very elaborate chatelaine in the window:
The tag on this one says it's for sale for $1,295.00--so you know why I didn't get it!! It also says, it's sterling silver, and includes a thimble, thimble case, pin cushion, patch box, and stamp box. Very cool! These are examples of 19th century ones. They were often worn by the wealthy housekeeper, might have included keychains, and was somewhat a status symbol showing the matron of the home who held sway over her domaine.
If a married woman moved to the home of her husband, under the roof of her mother-in-law, her mother-in-law would remain the keeper of the keys. But if her mother-in-law became widowed, the keys were passed to the daughter-in-law because her son became the head of the household. I would attempt to explain the complexities of mother-in-law relationships here, but you can imagine! And if there were no women in the home, the housekeeper then would hold the keys of the house. And if this housekeeper was also secretly a mistress, you can imagine that conundrum! I find it very interesting that Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie in their book, America's First Daughter about Thomas Jefferson's daughter, have a scene depicting this interesting passing of power and keys from one woman to another (no spoilers!!).
So you see, a little Pinterest pin can spin my brain to lots of interesting story threads. What if the keys were lost, hidden, kept by the wrong woman? What might she kept locked away? What secrets did the keeper of the keys hold?
Have you heard of Chatelaines before?
Where does this pin take you for a story idea?
Do you keep girl-tools hidden in your kitchen cupboards so no one else will pirate them when you need them? Ha! I do!
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots.Nurse Practitioner by day.Wife, mother, writer by night.Coffee drinker--any time.Find me at: www.anneloveauthor.com