‘Candy and flowers, dear,’ Ellen had said time and again, ‘and perhaps a book of poetry or an album or a small bottle of Florida water are the only things a lady may accept from a gentleman.’
— Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
When Scarlett O’Hara received this advice from her mother (during her fictional girlhood, leading up to the outbreak of the Civil War), Florida water had already been a popular variant on Eau de Cologne for several decades. The New York-based company Murray & Lanman first began to produce and sell a trademarked Florida Water in 1808. The firm has undergone a few name changes over the past two centuries, but it still exists; and, now known as Lanman & Kemp, it still offers this classic item.
The Lanman & Kemp website lists multiple uses for its Florida Water, including a treatment for “jangled nerves” and a suggestion for “boudoir daintiness.” I don’t know how long this particular list has been in existence, but it delights my vintage-loving soul, and so does the label on the Florida Water bottle…