Wartime Wednesday: Pillow Talk
The Civil War also saw soldiers and sailors send home pillow covers, but by the Spanish American War, “Mother” pillows were massed produced by commercial companies and sold on military bases. Some were also sent home from members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. According to one source, “it was America’s entry into World War I that opened the floodgates to the manufacture and sale of Mother pillows.” Statistics from the Federation of American Retailers of Felt Products and Novelties, more than twelve million pillows were sold between 1917 and 1920. World War II would see almost that many sold. One site indicates the cost was approximately $7.00.
Because silk was required in the manufacture of parachutes, the covers were initially made of rayon, a
fiber generally derived from wood pulp. Eucalyptus trees are the primary source, but bamboo, soy, and cotton may also be used. With the invention of nylon in 1938 by DuPont, many covers from the mid- to end of the war were of this fabric – often touted as helping the Allies win the war.
Rarely used to cover pillows, the shams were often framed and hung on the wall, or stashed in a cedar chest for safekeeping. The majority of the covers denoted the military base, and many included poems or sentiments. Some just indicated Mother, Wife, Sister, or Sweetheart. Scenes and unit or branch insignias were often embedded among ivy or flowers. More often than not, fringe edged the covers.
Have you ever seen a sweetheart pillow?
Estelle Johnson promised to wait for Aubry DeLuca, but then she receives word of his debilitating injuries. Does she have the strength to stand by him in his hour of need?
Aubry DeLuca storms the beaches at Normandy, then wakes up in the hospital, his eyes bandaged. Will he regain his sight? Will the only woman he’s ever loved welcome him home or is he destined to go through life blind and alone?
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