Children's printed handkerchiefs have a rich two hundred year history going all the way back to America's beginnings. Along with delighting generations of children with their colorful designs, these highly collectible items have also served a social and educational role. The earliest reflected Puritan influences, tending to be instructional, religious, and moralistic in nature. As industrial growth and prosperity changed, the very nature of childhood, sports and games, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales became more common subject matter. By the early twentieth century, storybook and comic strip characters began to appear, soon joined by such popular figures of mass culture as Mickey Mouse, Raggedy Ann, Davy Crockett, and Howdy Doody.