Collector’s Corner: Linens for Tea

Collector's Corner: Linens for Tea
Handmade cutwork set; date unknown.

My tea linen sets have come from all over the United States. I found my first one in Arizona, but most of them have come from Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

When shopping for a new ensemble to add to my collection, I choose them for their uniqueness, design pattern, and sometimes even the story behind them. I also get excited when I can find a set for a particular season. I keep saying when I find a certain Christmas one, I will quit collecting sets, but we all know that probably won’t happen!

For me, part of the fun of collecting is wondering if there are stories to some of the sets. Did the ladies have tea every day? Or did they have tea once a week, or did they use them just for parties? My daughter, Michele, bought me my oldest set in Tennessee. The family that was having the sale told Michele the set was used in the early 1920s. I love stories like that one!