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1926 Bridal shower booklet

Identifier: MSS-2751

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a 1926 bridal shower booklet created for the bride, Bernice, by the women who attended the party. The first part of the booklet are "advice" pages with the first letter of each line begins with the letters of the bride's name, "B-E-R-N-I-C-E." The second part of the booklet has various recipes from the attendees. The booklet, similar in size and shape to a stenographer's notebook, has thick cardboard covers and is held together with two metal rings. The front cover has the picture of a bride on it.


  • 1926

Biographical / Historical

The custom of the bridal shower is said to have grown out of earlier dowry practices, when a poor woman's family might not have the money to provide a dowry for her, or when a father refused to give his daughter her dowry because he did not approve of the marriage. In such situations, friends of the woman would gather together and bring gifts that would compensate for the dowry and allow her to marry the man of her choice. The earliest stories about these events have been known to originate in Brussels, Belgium around 1860. A frequently quoted legend traces the origin of this practice to the 16th or 17th Century Netherlands. However, there are also parallels with many dowry practices and the United States colonial or hope chest (trousseau) custom. In the United States, bridal showers started in urban areas in the 1890s, mainly among the upper middle classes. By the 1930s, bridal showers had spread to rural America.

Although the format has remained relatively consistent, there have been some significant changes. An etiquette guide from the 1920s suggested showers should be "purely spontaneous and informal," with guests arriving unannounced at the bride-to-be's home, while a planning guide from the 1950s suggests more complex themes and games. Showers are often held during the afternoon or evening, but not generally as luncheons or dinner parties. They commonly take place four to six weeks before the wedding. Due to the prior history of showers being "purely spontaneous and informal", showers have not developed the same formal etiquette that has developed with respect to weddings.


0.1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



A 1926 bridal shower booklet created for the bride, Bernice, by the women who attended the party.


Gift of Wade Hall, 2009


To provide faster access to our materials, this finding aid was published without formal and final review. Email us at if you find mistakes or have suggestions to make this finding aid more useful for your research.

Processed by

Martha Bace, 2010; updated by Martha Bace, 2013


Guide to the 1926 Bridal shower booklet
July 2010
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266