My partners in Tabletop Market week navigation, Denise and Naomi, were already familiar with hand coolers (“Coolies! We love them!”), but I had to do a bit of research. It seems that hand coolers were an essential part of the early Victorian woman’s boudoir. With her heavy layers of clothing -- even in hot summer weather -- keeping hands sweat-free wasn't an easy feat. Small glass eggs or objects soothed hot hands and allowed a lady to a present cool, dry one for greetings or kisses.
Hand coolers may even date back to ancient Roman times. The poet Propertius, 51 BC, describes "Cynthia, demanding the present of a peacock feather fan, and cooling balls for her hands".
I love the idea pausing for a quiet moment while cradling one of these coolers before going down the aisle, , and possibly recalling a Roman women practicing the same ritual more than 2000 years ago. This little fawn would certainly calm my nerves!