Delaware was nicknamed “Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief” in the 1800s because of the small size of the state. “Uncle Sam’s pocket among the peaches (Delaware)” was cited in 1857. “Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief” was included in a list of state nicknames in 1866.
Delaware (Listeni/ˈdɛləwɛər/) is one of the Mid-Atlantic states located in the Northeast megalopolis region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, to the northeast by New Jersey, and to the north by Pennsylvania.
Delaware is 96 miles (154 km) long and ranges from 9 miles (14 km) to 35 miles (56 km) across, totaling 1,954 square miles (5,060 km2), making it the second-smallest state in the United States after Rhode Island.
Dow’s Patent Sermons, Second Series
By Dow, Jr. (Elbridge Gerry Paige)
Philadelphia, PA: T. B. Peterson and Brothers
My dear friends—I don’t care where you are, whether in Gotham, Spitzbergen, Brazil, Patagonia, Texas, or in Uncle Sam’s pocket among the peaches, (Delaware,) you must expect to have your share of troubles.
9 April 1866, Cleveland (OH) Daily Plain Dealer, “Geographical Nicknames,” pg. 2, col. 5:
Delaware, Uncle Sam’s Pocket handkerchief.
The Little Giant Cyclopedia and Treasury of Ready Reference:
1,000,001 Figures and Facts
By K. L. Armstrong
Boston, MA: Geo. M. Smith & Co.
Pg. 137 (Geographical Nicknames):
... Delaware, Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief and Blue Hen State, ...
15 January 1940 Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “How Our States Got Their Names—Delaware,” pg. 10, col. 7:
It has been nicknamed the Diamond, Blue Hen, and Blue Hen’s Chickens state, as well as New Sweden and Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief.
Delaware apparently is called the “pocket handkerchief” because of its size.
Google News Archive
7 December 1983, Tuscaloosa (AL) News, “Focus,” pg. 2, col. 5:
One of Delaware’s nicknames is Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief.
Names & Nicknames of Places & Things
By Laurence Urdang
New York, NY: New American Library
Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief
A nickname of Delaware, so called because of its size.
Other Expressions • Origin of "Uncle Sam"/"Brother Jonathan" • Saturday, January 16, 2016 • Permalink