Printed cotton handkerchief bearing the musical score and words to 'It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary', with images of flags, medals and marching soldiers. Made as a patriotic souvenir during World War I. The personal connection of the handkerchief to World War I is unknown.

The song 'It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary' was written by Jack Judge. Its focus on nostalgia for home was a break from songs intended to rouse the fighting spirit. It was copyrighted in 1912, and became a popular song during World War I. (Henry James 'Harry' Williams is credited as co-writer, but appears to have been a friend of Jack Judge to whom Jack owed a favour. They both made a fortune from the song.)

Physical Description

Off-white cotton handkerchief printed in colour, featuring a musical score and words, with rows of marching soldiers bearing rifles beneath. Border of green shamrocks; Victoria Cross in each corner, between which appear the crossed flags of Commonwealth countries. The edges of the handkerchief are hemmed with obvious machine stitching.


This handkerchief is typical of souvenirs that were made and sold cheaply, and easily transportable either by mail or in luggage, during World War I. Printed and embroidered handkerchiefs, usually with patriotic or nostalgic themes, were available at both locations of the war effort: they were sold close to war zones, where soldiers on leave could buy them to send home; and they were sold at home, appealing to families who might retain them as a keepsake of a loved one or post them overseas.

While the provenance of this handkerchief has been lost, it is a good representative example of souvenir handkerchiefs of the period. Its unmarked condition suggests that it has been carefully stored for nearly 100 years.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Public Life & Institutions

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Judy Wheeler, 1 Sep 2011

  • Date Made


  • Organisation Named

    B. Feldman & Co., London, England, Great Britain
    Music reproduced on handkerchief with permission from B. Feldman & Co. The company is still at the same address as it was when this handkerchief was printed (as of 2011).

  • Inscriptions

    In the centre of the handkerchief are the words and music to 'It's a long, long way to Tipperary': It's a long way to Tipperary, It's a long way to go. It's a long way to Tipperary To the sweetest girl I know! Goodbye, Piccadilly, Farewell, Leicester Square, It's a long long way to Tipperary, But my heart's right there! Beneath score is printed in red the text 'BY KIND PERMISSION OF / B. FELDMAN & CO 2, 3 & 4 ARTHUR St. NEW OXFORD St. LONDON W.C.' At lower left: 'REG'D'.

  • Classification

    Military history, Service, Souvenirs

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Object Dimensions

    506 mm (Width), 465 mm (Height)

  • References

    Irish Culture and Customs web site [Link 1] accessed 19/9/2011.

  • Keywords

    Patriotism, Souvenir Handkerchiefs, Souvenirs, World War I, 1914-1918