Monday, February 17, 2014

Child's Purse-Early 20th Century

This was my grandmother's purse. I've tried doing the maths, and I just can't figure it out. The pieces look too late to have belonged to a child circa 1910, unless it was some sort of evening bag for a teenager.  By the time it was given to me in the early 70's, it was already antique either way, and starting to look rather worn. Most of the pieces were missing, though I lost a few myself not realising this should never have been used as a toy.
It could use a bit of restoration work as the leather is coming unglued. I ended up with the purse as my older cousins were tomboys (into rodeo, horseback riding, that sort of thing) and my sister was...unpleasant. The same grandmother gave me a small cedar box with a painted hunting scene on the lid that has sat atop my dresser since she gave it to me circa 1974. I keep letters in it, Birthday cards, and so on. I can't really remember ever not having it there. For at least the last fifteen years or so, this little purse has sat there as well.
There's a dear little lipstick holder, and a perfume cask that has lost the top, and a metal notepad holder. It had a tiny pencil that held it shut, but along with the compact, comb, and brush it disappeared long ago. I already know what sort of perfume it held, as my grandmother only wore Tweed.

Lipstick would have been sort of risqué for women at that time, Mama Bess (my great grandmother) must have been more sophisticated than I realised letting her daughter have lipstick to play with. Even for a teenager, that would have been something, "nice" girls didn't wear, and the lippy came in pots, applied with a brush. The pieces have a Deco-ish look to them, but really I'm stumped. Oh to go back in time and have the brains to ask questions!

That carved thing in the background was in the bag. You open it, and there's a tiny bug on a spring. I can't tell if it is carved wood, or a nut, so I shoved it back in the purse until I can figure it out. I don't want the allergic one getting hold of it if it is a carved nut.

So what do you guys think for dates? Am I crazy thinking it looks like the late 1920's rather than turn of the century?  Have you ever seen one like it?


Janice said...

I believe this would have been more of an overnight bag. Typically woman only carried purses to hold hankies and such and really did not have what we think of today. Our purses are crammed with every possible item we might need. I'm not sure this was common place years ago.

Goody said...

Ah, good point, some of my mother's evening bags from the 40's are the size of a cigarette case.

I've never run across anything like this elsewhere. Have you? Does it look late 20's to your trained eye?

pastcaring said...

It's a sweet little thing, isn't it? I would have thought maybe a vanity case, possibly for overnight use as Janice says, handbags were indeed tiny back then. I wouldn't know from the case itself, but the lipstick holder, etc, do look 1920-30s to me (though I am far from an expert). What a lovely piece of family history to have. xxx

Goody said...

Oooh, now I want to know where she was off to overnight! Probably NOT a meeting of the local Women's Temperance League. Alice enjoyed her cocktails (something called a "Pink Lady" if I recall).

I think it looks older as well. I may associate it as a child's bag because I was a child when it was given to me.