1930's - 1940's - 1950's
Beaded Scenes, Carpets, Birds, Bugs, Animals
Compact Purses &
Elegant Evening Handbags
Petit Point, Fabric
Change Purse &
Mesh & Metal Purses
Hand Mirrors & Sets
Personal & Wardrobe Items
Clothing, Linens, Textiles
Celluloid Albums & Boxes
Around the World
Nippon, Noritake &
Crystal & Glass
Art & Decorative
The Treasure Chest
- Facts and Tips
Compact purses, also called vanity bags, are
desired by both the purse enthusiast and the compact collector.
Originating from the early 1900's to the 1930's, these purses were carried by
the well dressed, discriminating woman. Many ingenious vanity purses were
introduced by the Whiting & Davis Company.
The Delysia made it's debut in Cosmopolitan in
1924. This uniquely shaped vanity bag contained two mirrors, powder
and rouge compartments. It's compact was built into the center with mesh
making up the top with a center carrying strap and the bottom where a tassel
The Baby Peggy purse came in gold, silver or enameled mesh and was
intended to be carried by "her" daughter. The bottom of the bag is mesh
but the top is silk, drawn to close with a pull cord instead of the adult
version carry strap but still maintaining the appearance of the Delysia.
The Piccadilly was a popular 1920's purse. A
round compact was incorporated into the frame at the top of the bag. The
bodies of these purses were typically made of fine ring or baby soldered mesh.
The continually elusive El-Sah vanity compact purse has a
rectangular compact as part of the frame. The compacts lids were
floral enameled, jeweled, or had black silhouettes of a dancing couple.
Other companies such as Napier-Bliss brought forth
the Du Barry Bag and the Evans Case Company, produced mesh handbags which
guilloche enameled lidded compacts.
By the late 1930's and early 1940's the compact
carry-alls found their place in my lady's wardrobe accessories.
Appropriately named, these vanity purses did carry all her necessities for the
evening, not only powder but also cigarettes, comb, mirror and many had a
discreet secret hiding place.
Vanity compact purses continue to attract lots of
attention in the marketplace. They are fun, fashionable, functional and most
purse collections boast at least one or two.
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