History: Glove Legends

Excerpt from a Book about Gloves, Published in 1945


Because gloves were first used as a hand protection or shield, they were synonymous with protection in the first traditional meaning. From the first faint etchings of their dim beginning, they have travelled through periods of history with little diversion or hesitation, continually growing in importance by their accumulation with more and more meaning with the years. They have become a solemn pledge of loyalty and friendship; a symbol of love; a bond of security; an emblem of high honour and integrity; a tenure by which estates and lands were held or transferred. Sadly enough, the glove came to signify hatred; was used as a challenge, defiance and the loss of one’s glove was a mark of degradation. Unquestionably, the worst disgrace to befall this honorable symbol of antiquity has been during the present century; just as other beautiful objects or worthy symbols have sometimes been grotesquely turned to the devil’s purpose, so too, the glove, when used by felons to hide their finger prints while committing major crimes. Nevertheless, even to this day, gloves have also kept their dignity and their customs of being used as treasured gifts on occasions of joy and sorrow.



Certain tribes in East India actually worship leather gloves!! They believe that gloves symbolize good fortune and that leather is a sacred object.



The savages of the Belgian Congo, in Africa, wear gloves on festive occasions, made from the skin of their enemies!



Gloves are one of the oldest articles of dress! They were first worn by the prehistoric cave-dwellers, who lived more than 200,000 years ago!



During the 17th century in Europe, when a woman presented her glove to a suitor, it indicated that she accepted his marriage proposal!



King Charles VI, of France, was so fond of gloves that he wore out more than 255 pairs of gloves a year!



To shake hands while wearing a glove is considered a grave insult in Ethiopia, where it frequently results in a deathly duel!



In parts of Greenland, gloves are made from the hair of departed relatives as a symbol of respect!


C. Cody Collins: Love of a Glove 1945