Hidden in the wardrobe

MagpieNicola here. Today I’m talking about wardrobes. This seems to fit rather nicely with Anne’s piece a couple of days ago about those unpleasant bugs that can hide in cupboards and drawers and eat your favourite clothes, and also with our recent AAR on lost treasures.

Why wardrobes? Well, recently I was talking to an author and publisher about re-discovering the romance books of my youth. By youth I’m talking about the very first books I read that could be described as being romantic, before I devoured Georgette Heyer or Jilly Cooper. I was about twelve years old. They included family sagas, romantic suspense – I remember Spindrift by Phyllis Whitney – and The Property of a Gentleman by Catherine Gaskin. I loved discovering the Gothic suspense of Victoria Holt, and packed amongst the historicals were some of the raunchy 1970s contemporary novels. What an education they were.

I found all these books in my grandmother’s spare room wardrobe, tucked away amongst her evening dresses and smart clothes. The Scent same cupboard contained her scent bottles and her jewellery. Oh, and there were shoes too, beautiful shoes in different colours not like my brown school ones! My grandmother was a well-dressed lady but these were not the clothes she wore every day. These were special, packed away carefully in tissue paper and plastic bags, smelling of perfume and mothballs. As a result, the books smelled of perfume and mothballs too. They were lined up so you could see their spines yet when the wardrobe doors were closed you would not have known they were there.

My writing friends and I were discussing this and one of them recalled finding Hardacre, a classic family saga set from the Victorian era to the 1950s, in his mother’s wardrobe too. He suspected she had hidden it away because it had a single swear word in it. (Naturally he read the book and found that one word.) This set me thinking about wardrobes and the things people hide in them and why.

Elizabeth's royal wardrobeThe first “wardrobes” were actually rooms in palaces or grand houses where the nobility kept their clothes.   For royalty this meant the place that the king kept his clothes, armour and treasure, and as a result, in medieval English government the “wardrobe” grew to become the royal palace’s accounting department, hence the role of Keeper of the King’s Wardrobe being so influential.

Ordinary people however, used chests to store their clothes. It was from these cupboards the modern wardrobe or freestanding “closet” emerged. There are examples of such “hanging cupboards” in the US that date from the 17th century. 

There’s something about wardrobes, isn’t there. Perhaps it’s the fact that you can lock things away in there. Perhaps it’s that they Lion, witch, wardrobe are big enough to hide in. And they are dark inside. The book by CS Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe uses the wardrobe as a gateway into another world. What is hidden inside is adventure and danger and an escape. In the play The Wardrobe by Sam Holcroft, the wardrobe is a place of safety and protection where for seven hundred years children have hidden from events in British history such as the Civil War and the plague.

Wardrobes aren’t just for clothes. People hide other things in them – secret diaries, money,
forbidden things… Which brings us back to the books in the wardrobe. Was it simply a practical storage solution for my Nanna to keep her romance books in there? There were plenty of other bookshelves in the house, but they contained non-fiction and Readers Digest condensed editions. Was she ashamed of reading romance and so she hid the books away? Romance novels were hugely popular at that time and with her group of friends but perhaps they were made to feel inferior in the way that some people still look down on romance today. Or perhaps it does come back to the sex and the swearing. Knowing that she had a curious and avid reader for a granddaughter maybe she wanted to hide the books away from me! However, finding them in the wardrobe with all those lovely clothes and the perfume and the jewellery just made me see romance books as impossibly exotic and glamorous, exciting, an escape from real life. I guess I still see them that way today.

CabinetAre you prepared to share the secrets of your wardrobe or closet, or do you remember a cupboard from your childhood that contained exciting and secret things? 

90 thoughts on “Hidden in the wardrobe”

  1. I had a great aunt and two great uncles (siblings) who had a farm that I spent a lot to time at as a child. My aunt had what seemed to me to be a giant piece of furniture that she called a chifforobe. She kept it even after they had sold some of the land and built a brand new house with plenty of closet space. The strangest thing that I remember finding in it after she died was a box full of pistols. There were probably six or seven of them in the box. Nobody could ever figure out who they belonged to or why they were there. A real mystery.
    But to me the real treasure that she kept was in a bedroom closet in the old house. She had hundreds of magazines going back as far as the early 1900s. I loved to go through those mags. and did so every chance I got. Home and Garden, Redbook and many others. They fascinated me.

    Reply
  2. I had a great aunt and two great uncles (siblings) who had a farm that I spent a lot to time at as a child. My aunt had what seemed to me to be a giant piece of furniture that she called a chifforobe. She kept it even after they had sold some of the land and built a brand new house with plenty of closet space. The strangest thing that I remember finding in it after she died was a box full of pistols. There were probably six or seven of them in the box. Nobody could ever figure out who they belonged to or why they were there. A real mystery.
    But to me the real treasure that she kept was in a bedroom closet in the old house. She had hundreds of magazines going back as far as the early 1900s. I loved to go through those mags. and did so every chance I got. Home and Garden, Redbook and many others. They fascinated me.

    Reply
  3. I had a great aunt and two great uncles (siblings) who had a farm that I spent a lot to time at as a child. My aunt had what seemed to me to be a giant piece of furniture that she called a chifforobe. She kept it even after they had sold some of the land and built a brand new house with plenty of closet space. The strangest thing that I remember finding in it after she died was a box full of pistols. There were probably six or seven of them in the box. Nobody could ever figure out who they belonged to or why they were there. A real mystery.
    But to me the real treasure that she kept was in a bedroom closet in the old house. She had hundreds of magazines going back as far as the early 1900s. I loved to go through those mags. and did so every chance I got. Home and Garden, Redbook and many others. They fascinated me.

    Reply
  4. I had a great aunt and two great uncles (siblings) who had a farm that I spent a lot to time at as a child. My aunt had what seemed to me to be a giant piece of furniture that she called a chifforobe. She kept it even after they had sold some of the land and built a brand new house with plenty of closet space. The strangest thing that I remember finding in it after she died was a box full of pistols. There were probably six or seven of them in the box. Nobody could ever figure out who they belonged to or why they were there. A real mystery.
    But to me the real treasure that she kept was in a bedroom closet in the old house. She had hundreds of magazines going back as far as the early 1900s. I loved to go through those mags. and did so every chance I got. Home and Garden, Redbook and many others. They fascinated me.

    Reply
  5. I had a great aunt and two great uncles (siblings) who had a farm that I spent a lot to time at as a child. My aunt had what seemed to me to be a giant piece of furniture that she called a chifforobe. She kept it even after they had sold some of the land and built a brand new house with plenty of closet space. The strangest thing that I remember finding in it after she died was a box full of pistols. There were probably six or seven of them in the box. Nobody could ever figure out who they belonged to or why they were there. A real mystery.
    But to me the real treasure that she kept was in a bedroom closet in the old house. She had hundreds of magazines going back as far as the early 1900s. I loved to go through those mags. and did so every chance I got. Home and Garden, Redbook and many others. They fascinated me.

    Reply
  6. What a lovely meditation on wardrobes, Nicola! Most of the ones I’ve seen were when I lived in England–I think they’re relatively rare in the US, though they must have been used once. I never saw any as magical as grandmother’s! But I did read a lot of the same books. Catherine Gaskin was always a favorite, particularly PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN.

    Reply
  7. What a lovely meditation on wardrobes, Nicola! Most of the ones I’ve seen were when I lived in England–I think they’re relatively rare in the US, though they must have been used once. I never saw any as magical as grandmother’s! But I did read a lot of the same books. Catherine Gaskin was always a favorite, particularly PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN.

    Reply
  8. What a lovely meditation on wardrobes, Nicola! Most of the ones I’ve seen were when I lived in England–I think they’re relatively rare in the US, though they must have been used once. I never saw any as magical as grandmother’s! But I did read a lot of the same books. Catherine Gaskin was always a favorite, particularly PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN.

    Reply
  9. What a lovely meditation on wardrobes, Nicola! Most of the ones I’ve seen were when I lived in England–I think they’re relatively rare in the US, though they must have been used once. I never saw any as magical as grandmother’s! But I did read a lot of the same books. Catherine Gaskin was always a favorite, particularly PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN.

    Reply
  10. What a lovely meditation on wardrobes, Nicola! Most of the ones I’ve seen were when I lived in England–I think they’re relatively rare in the US, though they must have been used once. I never saw any as magical as grandmother’s! But I did read a lot of the same books. Catherine Gaskin was always a favorite, particularly PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN.

    Reply
  11. Wow, Mary, what a story about the pistols! I’ve never heard of a chifforobe – how interesting. I would have been enthralled to find such wonderful magazines too. What a treasure trove! Thanks so much for your comment!

    Reply
  12. Wow, Mary, what a story about the pistols! I’ve never heard of a chifforobe – how interesting. I would have been enthralled to find such wonderful magazines too. What a treasure trove! Thanks so much for your comment!

    Reply
  13. Wow, Mary, what a story about the pistols! I’ve never heard of a chifforobe – how interesting. I would have been enthralled to find such wonderful magazines too. What a treasure trove! Thanks so much for your comment!

    Reply
  14. Wow, Mary, what a story about the pistols! I’ve never heard of a chifforobe – how interesting. I would have been enthralled to find such wonderful magazines too. What a treasure trove! Thanks so much for your comment!

    Reply
  15. Wow, Mary, what a story about the pistols! I’ve never heard of a chifforobe – how interesting. I would have been enthralled to find such wonderful magazines too. What a treasure trove! Thanks so much for your comment!

    Reply
  16. That’s very interesting, Mary Jo. I hadn’t realised that the wardrobe was rare in the US. I just thought it was called a closet. Are they built in? I love learning these differences! Weren’t the Catherine Gaskin books wonderful? A UK publisher is currently re-printing lot of these old favourites and my kindle is groaning as a result!

    Reply
  17. That’s very interesting, Mary Jo. I hadn’t realised that the wardrobe was rare in the US. I just thought it was called a closet. Are they built in? I love learning these differences! Weren’t the Catherine Gaskin books wonderful? A UK publisher is currently re-printing lot of these old favourites and my kindle is groaning as a result!

    Reply
  18. That’s very interesting, Mary Jo. I hadn’t realised that the wardrobe was rare in the US. I just thought it was called a closet. Are they built in? I love learning these differences! Weren’t the Catherine Gaskin books wonderful? A UK publisher is currently re-printing lot of these old favourites and my kindle is groaning as a result!

    Reply
  19. That’s very interesting, Mary Jo. I hadn’t realised that the wardrobe was rare in the US. I just thought it was called a closet. Are they built in? I love learning these differences! Weren’t the Catherine Gaskin books wonderful? A UK publisher is currently re-printing lot of these old favourites and my kindle is groaning as a result!

    Reply
  20. That’s very interesting, Mary Jo. I hadn’t realised that the wardrobe was rare in the US. I just thought it was called a closet. Are they built in? I love learning these differences! Weren’t the Catherine Gaskin books wonderful? A UK publisher is currently re-printing lot of these old favourites and my kindle is groaning as a result!

    Reply
  21. I know that when I’ve gone to antique places in the south they have wardrobe things, but they are called armoire(s). (Dictionary definition – a large wardrobe or movable cupboard with doors and shelves.) In fact, I’ve got 2. One made from cedar and another one that isn’t (don’t know the kind of wood) but is older.
    My cedar one just has shelves. Well, now that I look at it, that is because we converted it to have shelves in it. Before it was just a big wardrobe/closet thing.
    The other, older one, one half has a rod for hanging clothes with a shoe rack at the bottom of that half. The other half has a series of shelves, some of which roll out for easy access. Those shelves were built in.
    Both of my armoires have 2 doors.
    I have heard of the word chifferobe and I have a memory of it coming from my Grandma who was from Ohio. She also called a couch a davenport. But then again, her mother and her grandparents were born in England. Looking up the word davenport, that is an English versus American word, I think. But I could be wrong.
    All I know is it isn’t a southern word!

    Reply
  22. I know that when I’ve gone to antique places in the south they have wardrobe things, but they are called armoire(s). (Dictionary definition – a large wardrobe or movable cupboard with doors and shelves.) In fact, I’ve got 2. One made from cedar and another one that isn’t (don’t know the kind of wood) but is older.
    My cedar one just has shelves. Well, now that I look at it, that is because we converted it to have shelves in it. Before it was just a big wardrobe/closet thing.
    The other, older one, one half has a rod for hanging clothes with a shoe rack at the bottom of that half. The other half has a series of shelves, some of which roll out for easy access. Those shelves were built in.
    Both of my armoires have 2 doors.
    I have heard of the word chifferobe and I have a memory of it coming from my Grandma who was from Ohio. She also called a couch a davenport. But then again, her mother and her grandparents were born in England. Looking up the word davenport, that is an English versus American word, I think. But I could be wrong.
    All I know is it isn’t a southern word!

    Reply
  23. I know that when I’ve gone to antique places in the south they have wardrobe things, but they are called armoire(s). (Dictionary definition – a large wardrobe or movable cupboard with doors and shelves.) In fact, I’ve got 2. One made from cedar and another one that isn’t (don’t know the kind of wood) but is older.
    My cedar one just has shelves. Well, now that I look at it, that is because we converted it to have shelves in it. Before it was just a big wardrobe/closet thing.
    The other, older one, one half has a rod for hanging clothes with a shoe rack at the bottom of that half. The other half has a series of shelves, some of which roll out for easy access. Those shelves were built in.
    Both of my armoires have 2 doors.
    I have heard of the word chifferobe and I have a memory of it coming from my Grandma who was from Ohio. She also called a couch a davenport. But then again, her mother and her grandparents were born in England. Looking up the word davenport, that is an English versus American word, I think. But I could be wrong.
    All I know is it isn’t a southern word!

    Reply
  24. I know that when I’ve gone to antique places in the south they have wardrobe things, but they are called armoire(s). (Dictionary definition – a large wardrobe or movable cupboard with doors and shelves.) In fact, I’ve got 2. One made from cedar and another one that isn’t (don’t know the kind of wood) but is older.
    My cedar one just has shelves. Well, now that I look at it, that is because we converted it to have shelves in it. Before it was just a big wardrobe/closet thing.
    The other, older one, one half has a rod for hanging clothes with a shoe rack at the bottom of that half. The other half has a series of shelves, some of which roll out for easy access. Those shelves were built in.
    Both of my armoires have 2 doors.
    I have heard of the word chifferobe and I have a memory of it coming from my Grandma who was from Ohio. She also called a couch a davenport. But then again, her mother and her grandparents were born in England. Looking up the word davenport, that is an English versus American word, I think. But I could be wrong.
    All I know is it isn’t a southern word!

    Reply
  25. I know that when I’ve gone to antique places in the south they have wardrobe things, but they are called armoire(s). (Dictionary definition – a large wardrobe or movable cupboard with doors and shelves.) In fact, I’ve got 2. One made from cedar and another one that isn’t (don’t know the kind of wood) but is older.
    My cedar one just has shelves. Well, now that I look at it, that is because we converted it to have shelves in it. Before it was just a big wardrobe/closet thing.
    The other, older one, one half has a rod for hanging clothes with a shoe rack at the bottom of that half. The other half has a series of shelves, some of which roll out for easy access. Those shelves were built in.
    Both of my armoires have 2 doors.
    I have heard of the word chifferobe and I have a memory of it coming from my Grandma who was from Ohio. She also called a couch a davenport. But then again, her mother and her grandparents were born in England. Looking up the word davenport, that is an English versus American word, I think. But I could be wrong.
    All I know is it isn’t a southern word!

    Reply
  26. Thanks, Vicki – that is so interesting. I love the different names given to the different pieces of furniture depending on where they came from and when. I had never heard of a chifferobe and see that it combines both hanging space and drawers. I have heard of a Davenport but was astonished when I looked it up to see it is the name of a furniture company from the Midwest that was adopted as a generic name for some furniture, sofas especially. Apparently the Davenport desk was different and originated in 18th century England. Who knew!!!

    Reply
  27. Thanks, Vicki – that is so interesting. I love the different names given to the different pieces of furniture depending on where they came from and when. I had never heard of a chifferobe and see that it combines both hanging space and drawers. I have heard of a Davenport but was astonished when I looked it up to see it is the name of a furniture company from the Midwest that was adopted as a generic name for some furniture, sofas especially. Apparently the Davenport desk was different and originated in 18th century England. Who knew!!!

    Reply
  28. Thanks, Vicki – that is so interesting. I love the different names given to the different pieces of furniture depending on where they came from and when. I had never heard of a chifferobe and see that it combines both hanging space and drawers. I have heard of a Davenport but was astonished when I looked it up to see it is the name of a furniture company from the Midwest that was adopted as a generic name for some furniture, sofas especially. Apparently the Davenport desk was different and originated in 18th century England. Who knew!!!

    Reply
  29. Thanks, Vicki – that is so interesting. I love the different names given to the different pieces of furniture depending on where they came from and when. I had never heard of a chifferobe and see that it combines both hanging space and drawers. I have heard of a Davenport but was astonished when I looked it up to see it is the name of a furniture company from the Midwest that was adopted as a generic name for some furniture, sofas especially. Apparently the Davenport desk was different and originated in 18th century England. Who knew!!!

    Reply
  30. Thanks, Vicki – that is so interesting. I love the different names given to the different pieces of furniture depending on where they came from and when. I had never heard of a chifferobe and see that it combines both hanging space and drawers. I have heard of a Davenport but was astonished when I looked it up to see it is the name of a furniture company from the Midwest that was adopted as a generic name for some furniture, sofas especially. Apparently the Davenport desk was different and originated in 18th century England. Who knew!!!

    Reply
  31. Nicola – that is fascinating about Davenport being the name of a company and used generically to also refer to a particular piece of furniture.
    I called my Dad a few mins. ago and he says that the “couch” my Grandma always called the Davenport was from their living room in Ohio. That my Grandparents took it with them when the family moved to Florida in the late 1940’s.. So…it probably was a Davenport from the Davenport company. Who knew!
    He vaguely remembers her (his mom) using the word chifferobe also but she used the word clothes press more frequently.
    Thanks for this interesting trip into family history and word usage…

    Reply
  32. Nicola – that is fascinating about Davenport being the name of a company and used generically to also refer to a particular piece of furniture.
    I called my Dad a few mins. ago and he says that the “couch” my Grandma always called the Davenport was from their living room in Ohio. That my Grandparents took it with them when the family moved to Florida in the late 1940’s.. So…it probably was a Davenport from the Davenport company. Who knew!
    He vaguely remembers her (his mom) using the word chifferobe also but she used the word clothes press more frequently.
    Thanks for this interesting trip into family history and word usage…

    Reply
  33. Nicola – that is fascinating about Davenport being the name of a company and used generically to also refer to a particular piece of furniture.
    I called my Dad a few mins. ago and he says that the “couch” my Grandma always called the Davenport was from their living room in Ohio. That my Grandparents took it with them when the family moved to Florida in the late 1940’s.. So…it probably was a Davenport from the Davenport company. Who knew!
    He vaguely remembers her (his mom) using the word chifferobe also but she used the word clothes press more frequently.
    Thanks for this interesting trip into family history and word usage…

    Reply
  34. Nicola – that is fascinating about Davenport being the name of a company and used generically to also refer to a particular piece of furniture.
    I called my Dad a few mins. ago and he says that the “couch” my Grandma always called the Davenport was from their living room in Ohio. That my Grandparents took it with them when the family moved to Florida in the late 1940’s.. So…it probably was a Davenport from the Davenport company. Who knew!
    He vaguely remembers her (his mom) using the word chifferobe also but she used the word clothes press more frequently.
    Thanks for this interesting trip into family history and word usage…

    Reply
  35. Nicola – that is fascinating about Davenport being the name of a company and used generically to also refer to a particular piece of furniture.
    I called my Dad a few mins. ago and he says that the “couch” my Grandma always called the Davenport was from their living room in Ohio. That my Grandparents took it with them when the family moved to Florida in the late 1940’s.. So…it probably was a Davenport from the Davenport company. Who knew!
    He vaguely remembers her (his mom) using the word chifferobe also but she used the word clothes press more frequently.
    Thanks for this interesting trip into family history and word usage…

    Reply
  36. I don’t have a wardrobe story exactly, wardrobes being rather scarce in my neck of the woods, but I do have a closet story. My grandparents had an old house, (for northern Canada) it had been built in 1910-11 and was one of the few structures that survived when the original town burnt down in 1912. The house was full of nooks and crannies and it had a delightfully spooky “closet” tucked away on a dark and rather spooky alcove. In this closet were shelves full of books. It was on those dusty old shelves that I first found “Daddy Long Legs” and “Little Women”. I don’t know who had been the original owners of some of these books (they were too old for them to have been my aunts), but I was the latest one! I wonder sometimes what happened to all of those old treasures. If I had been older, who knows what stories I would have discovered, but alas, I was only 8 at the time and not ready for romances!

    Reply
  37. I don’t have a wardrobe story exactly, wardrobes being rather scarce in my neck of the woods, but I do have a closet story. My grandparents had an old house, (for northern Canada) it had been built in 1910-11 and was one of the few structures that survived when the original town burnt down in 1912. The house was full of nooks and crannies and it had a delightfully spooky “closet” tucked away on a dark and rather spooky alcove. In this closet were shelves full of books. It was on those dusty old shelves that I first found “Daddy Long Legs” and “Little Women”. I don’t know who had been the original owners of some of these books (they were too old for them to have been my aunts), but I was the latest one! I wonder sometimes what happened to all of those old treasures. If I had been older, who knows what stories I would have discovered, but alas, I was only 8 at the time and not ready for romances!

    Reply
  38. I don’t have a wardrobe story exactly, wardrobes being rather scarce in my neck of the woods, but I do have a closet story. My grandparents had an old house, (for northern Canada) it had been built in 1910-11 and was one of the few structures that survived when the original town burnt down in 1912. The house was full of nooks and crannies and it had a delightfully spooky “closet” tucked away on a dark and rather spooky alcove. In this closet were shelves full of books. It was on those dusty old shelves that I first found “Daddy Long Legs” and “Little Women”. I don’t know who had been the original owners of some of these books (they were too old for them to have been my aunts), but I was the latest one! I wonder sometimes what happened to all of those old treasures. If I had been older, who knows what stories I would have discovered, but alas, I was only 8 at the time and not ready for romances!

    Reply
  39. I don’t have a wardrobe story exactly, wardrobes being rather scarce in my neck of the woods, but I do have a closet story. My grandparents had an old house, (for northern Canada) it had been built in 1910-11 and was one of the few structures that survived when the original town burnt down in 1912. The house was full of nooks and crannies and it had a delightfully spooky “closet” tucked away on a dark and rather spooky alcove. In this closet were shelves full of books. It was on those dusty old shelves that I first found “Daddy Long Legs” and “Little Women”. I don’t know who had been the original owners of some of these books (they were too old for them to have been my aunts), but I was the latest one! I wonder sometimes what happened to all of those old treasures. If I had been older, who knows what stories I would have discovered, but alas, I was only 8 at the time and not ready for romances!

    Reply
  40. I don’t have a wardrobe story exactly, wardrobes being rather scarce in my neck of the woods, but I do have a closet story. My grandparents had an old house, (for northern Canada) it had been built in 1910-11 and was one of the few structures that survived when the original town burnt down in 1912. The house was full of nooks and crannies and it had a delightfully spooky “closet” tucked away on a dark and rather spooky alcove. In this closet were shelves full of books. It was on those dusty old shelves that I first found “Daddy Long Legs” and “Little Women”. I don’t know who had been the original owners of some of these books (they were too old for them to have been my aunts), but I was the latest one! I wonder sometimes what happened to all of those old treasures. If I had been older, who knows what stories I would have discovered, but alas, I was only 8 at the time and not ready for romances!

    Reply
  41. There is a lot of talk about a chifforobe in the movie “To Kill A Mockingbird” and I imagine in the book too. Perhaps it was an antiquated Southern term, because no one in my part of the country uses it.

    Reply
  42. There is a lot of talk about a chifforobe in the movie “To Kill A Mockingbird” and I imagine in the book too. Perhaps it was an antiquated Southern term, because no one in my part of the country uses it.

    Reply
  43. There is a lot of talk about a chifforobe in the movie “To Kill A Mockingbird” and I imagine in the book too. Perhaps it was an antiquated Southern term, because no one in my part of the country uses it.

    Reply
  44. There is a lot of talk about a chifforobe in the movie “To Kill A Mockingbird” and I imagine in the book too. Perhaps it was an antiquated Southern term, because no one in my part of the country uses it.

    Reply
  45. There is a lot of talk about a chifforobe in the movie “To Kill A Mockingbird” and I imagine in the book too. Perhaps it was an antiquated Southern term, because no one in my part of the country uses it.

    Reply
  46. I don’t have wardrobe or chifferobe stories. I believe I saw some but they were in houses of comparative strangers, not in family houses where I could explore.. There were plenty around me though, because I was always familiar with both terms.
    I don’t know if “chifforobe” is southern or not. I heard the term often in St. Louis in the 1930s — but then, as I’ve remarked before, St. Louis is entirely Southern, entirely Northern, entirely Eastern, and entirely Western. I heard ALL regions, ALL the time.
    I do have a comment on the relatively more common built-in closet in the U. S. I have read that for many years the various British areas had room taxes — real estate taxes that counted each room in the house. And a built-in closet was a room, but a piece of furniture wasn’t. If we ever had room taxes in the U. S they didn’t survive the Revolution. So we built the closets as we built our houses.
    I don’t remember my source for this, so it may be lots of hot air. But I do remember it as an explanation for our more prevalent use of builtins.

    Reply
  47. I don’t have wardrobe or chifferobe stories. I believe I saw some but they were in houses of comparative strangers, not in family houses where I could explore.. There were plenty around me though, because I was always familiar with both terms.
    I don’t know if “chifforobe” is southern or not. I heard the term often in St. Louis in the 1930s — but then, as I’ve remarked before, St. Louis is entirely Southern, entirely Northern, entirely Eastern, and entirely Western. I heard ALL regions, ALL the time.
    I do have a comment on the relatively more common built-in closet in the U. S. I have read that for many years the various British areas had room taxes — real estate taxes that counted each room in the house. And a built-in closet was a room, but a piece of furniture wasn’t. If we ever had room taxes in the U. S they didn’t survive the Revolution. So we built the closets as we built our houses.
    I don’t remember my source for this, so it may be lots of hot air. But I do remember it as an explanation for our more prevalent use of builtins.

    Reply
  48. I don’t have wardrobe or chifferobe stories. I believe I saw some but they were in houses of comparative strangers, not in family houses where I could explore.. There were plenty around me though, because I was always familiar with both terms.
    I don’t know if “chifforobe” is southern or not. I heard the term often in St. Louis in the 1930s — but then, as I’ve remarked before, St. Louis is entirely Southern, entirely Northern, entirely Eastern, and entirely Western. I heard ALL regions, ALL the time.
    I do have a comment on the relatively more common built-in closet in the U. S. I have read that for many years the various British areas had room taxes — real estate taxes that counted each room in the house. And a built-in closet was a room, but a piece of furniture wasn’t. If we ever had room taxes in the U. S they didn’t survive the Revolution. So we built the closets as we built our houses.
    I don’t remember my source for this, so it may be lots of hot air. But I do remember it as an explanation for our more prevalent use of builtins.

    Reply
  49. I don’t have wardrobe or chifferobe stories. I believe I saw some but they were in houses of comparative strangers, not in family houses where I could explore.. There were plenty around me though, because I was always familiar with both terms.
    I don’t know if “chifforobe” is southern or not. I heard the term often in St. Louis in the 1930s — but then, as I’ve remarked before, St. Louis is entirely Southern, entirely Northern, entirely Eastern, and entirely Western. I heard ALL regions, ALL the time.
    I do have a comment on the relatively more common built-in closet in the U. S. I have read that for many years the various British areas had room taxes — real estate taxes that counted each room in the house. And a built-in closet was a room, but a piece of furniture wasn’t. If we ever had room taxes in the U. S they didn’t survive the Revolution. So we built the closets as we built our houses.
    I don’t remember my source for this, so it may be lots of hot air. But I do remember it as an explanation for our more prevalent use of builtins.

    Reply
  50. I don’t have wardrobe or chifferobe stories. I believe I saw some but they were in houses of comparative strangers, not in family houses where I could explore.. There were plenty around me though, because I was always familiar with both terms.
    I don’t know if “chifforobe” is southern or not. I heard the term often in St. Louis in the 1930s — but then, as I’ve remarked before, St. Louis is entirely Southern, entirely Northern, entirely Eastern, and entirely Western. I heard ALL regions, ALL the time.
    I do have a comment on the relatively more common built-in closet in the U. S. I have read that for many years the various British areas had room taxes — real estate taxes that counted each room in the house. And a built-in closet was a room, but a piece of furniture wasn’t. If we ever had room taxes in the U. S they didn’t survive the Revolution. So we built the closets as we built our houses.
    I don’t remember my source for this, so it may be lots of hot air. But I do remember it as an explanation for our more prevalent use of builtins.

    Reply
  51. Thanks so much for the information on room taxes, Sue. Something else new and fascinating that I’ve learned! I must try and find out more… That idea goes very well with the UK window tax. The government can be very imaginative in order to get its hands on more money!

    Reply
  52. Thanks so much for the information on room taxes, Sue. Something else new and fascinating that I’ve learned! I must try and find out more… That idea goes very well with the UK window tax. The government can be very imaginative in order to get its hands on more money!

    Reply
  53. Thanks so much for the information on room taxes, Sue. Something else new and fascinating that I’ve learned! I must try and find out more… That idea goes very well with the UK window tax. The government can be very imaginative in order to get its hands on more money!

    Reply
  54. Thanks so much for the information on room taxes, Sue. Something else new and fascinating that I’ve learned! I must try and find out more… That idea goes very well with the UK window tax. The government can be very imaginative in order to get its hands on more money!

    Reply
  55. Thanks so much for the information on room taxes, Sue. Something else new and fascinating that I’ve learned! I must try and find out more… That idea goes very well with the UK window tax. The government can be very imaginative in order to get its hands on more money!

    Reply
  56. I’ve always heard the closet/room tax story as well. Apparently it is a big historical myth!
    https://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Winter08/stuff.cfm
    The above article had many other historical myths listed and “demythed”. Fascinating…
    This post also talked about the myth of the closet tax.
    https://historymyths.wordpress.com/tag/closet-tax/
    (I love productive procrastination….I’m doing something important so I don’t have to do whatever…)

    Reply
  57. I’ve always heard the closet/room tax story as well. Apparently it is a big historical myth!
    https://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Winter08/stuff.cfm
    The above article had many other historical myths listed and “demythed”. Fascinating…
    This post also talked about the myth of the closet tax.
    https://historymyths.wordpress.com/tag/closet-tax/
    (I love productive procrastination….I’m doing something important so I don’t have to do whatever…)

    Reply
  58. I’ve always heard the closet/room tax story as well. Apparently it is a big historical myth!
    https://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Winter08/stuff.cfm
    The above article had many other historical myths listed and “demythed”. Fascinating…
    This post also talked about the myth of the closet tax.
    https://historymyths.wordpress.com/tag/closet-tax/
    (I love productive procrastination….I’m doing something important so I don’t have to do whatever…)

    Reply
  59. I’ve always heard the closet/room tax story as well. Apparently it is a big historical myth!
    https://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Winter08/stuff.cfm
    The above article had many other historical myths listed and “demythed”. Fascinating…
    This post also talked about the myth of the closet tax.
    https://historymyths.wordpress.com/tag/closet-tax/
    (I love productive procrastination….I’m doing something important so I don’t have to do whatever…)

    Reply
  60. I’ve always heard the closet/room tax story as well. Apparently it is a big historical myth!
    https://www.history.org/Foundation/journal/Winter08/stuff.cfm
    The above article had many other historical myths listed and “demythed”. Fascinating…
    This post also talked about the myth of the closet tax.
    https://historymyths.wordpress.com/tag/closet-tax/
    (I love productive procrastination….I’m doing something important so I don’t have to do whatever…)

    Reply
  61. Sue, I stumbled on these sites/articles just by searching on the web for the closet tax. Took a few tries because at first all I kept coming up with was hotel room tax (grin.)

    Reply
  62. Sue, I stumbled on these sites/articles just by searching on the web for the closet tax. Took a few tries because at first all I kept coming up with was hotel room tax (grin.)

    Reply
  63. Sue, I stumbled on these sites/articles just by searching on the web for the closet tax. Took a few tries because at first all I kept coming up with was hotel room tax (grin.)

    Reply
  64. Sue, I stumbled on these sites/articles just by searching on the web for the closet tax. Took a few tries because at first all I kept coming up with was hotel room tax (grin.)

    Reply
  65. Sue, I stumbled on these sites/articles just by searching on the web for the closet tax. Took a few tries because at first all I kept coming up with was hotel room tax (grin.)

    Reply
  66. Oh, productive procrastination is the best! Thanks for checking this out, Vicki. it’s good to know but I am a little bit disappointed as well. The closet tax sounded such a convincing thing!

    Reply
  67. Oh, productive procrastination is the best! Thanks for checking this out, Vicki. it’s good to know but I am a little bit disappointed as well. The closet tax sounded such a convincing thing!

    Reply
  68. Oh, productive procrastination is the best! Thanks for checking this out, Vicki. it’s good to know but I am a little bit disappointed as well. The closet tax sounded such a convincing thing!

    Reply
  69. Oh, productive procrastination is the best! Thanks for checking this out, Vicki. it’s good to know but I am a little bit disappointed as well. The closet tax sounded such a convincing thing!

    Reply
  70. Oh, productive procrastination is the best! Thanks for checking this out, Vicki. it’s good to know but I am a little bit disappointed as well. The closet tax sounded such a convincing thing!

    Reply

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