Game name (and type): 'Drop the Handkerchief' (circle game)
Alternative types: games with rhymes, language play, play with props/equipment

Handwritten description of the circle game 'Drop the Handkerchief' composed for Dr Dorothy Howard by Beverley June Prentice, an eleven year old student at East Camberwell Girls Secondary School, in 1954-1955. Prentice describes 'Drop the Handkerchief' as a game requiring a handkerchief which is played by children aged between four and twelve years in backyards or indoors all year. To play, she explains that players form a circle and recite a rhyme while a child runs around the outside of the group carrying a handkerchief. When the final lines of the rhyme are reached, the child drops the handkerchief and runs back to the place in the circle. Prentice states that as the child passes by, players must look behind them to see if the handkerchief has been dropped. If so, they must collect the handkerchief and race the child to their position in the group. Prentice notes that if they reach the space first, the child becomes a 'plum' and sits in the circle's centre. She lists names of other players of 'Drop the Handkerchief' including Faye White, Judith Gordon, Maree Stone, Janice Pinchen, and Carole Moore.

One of a collection of letters describing a children's game written to children's Folklorist Dorothy Howard between 1954 and 1955. Dr. Howard came to Australia in 1954-55 as an American Fulbright scholar to study Australian children's folklore. She travelled across Australia for 10 months collecting children's playground rhymes, games, play artefacts, etc. This letter, together with the other original fieldwork collected by Dr. Howard during this period, is preserved in the Dorothy Howard Collection manuscript files, part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC), Archive Series 3. The ACFC is an extensive collection documenting children's folklore and related research.

Physical Description

Handwritten game description in blue ink on paper. Comprises two sheets. First page features a letterhead printed in black ink; second page features an annotated, hand drawn diagram along lower portion.

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