Extended! - The Purse and the Person: A Century of Women's Purses


Purse, 1950s. Striped handbag made of concentric rings of colored telephone coil.

 Extended! – Until March 4, 2007

The Purse and the Person: A Century of Women's Purses
Horace C. Cabe Gallery
July 24 through December 31, 2006
Opening Reception on Friday, August 11, 5 – 8 pm in conjunction with 2nd Friday Art Night

The Purse 
The Purse and
the Person
brings together life stories buried right under our noses— in the purses carried by our mothers and grandmothers. This exhibition looks at purses from the inside out, examining day-to-day life reflected in a very personal, very female artifact.


The Person
Glimpse into the lives of Edwardian matrons, flappers, wartime Rosie the Riveters, suburban housewives, hippies, businesswomen and more. The women of the 20th century reveal their personalities, their fashion sense, and their day-to-day concerns brought out in the mysterious depths of their purses.


Purse collector Anita Davis (center) with her mother Bennie Sue Anthony, and Sharon Park in Hot Springs, circa 1957.The Collector 
Arkansan Anita Davis has been collecting purses and the things that women put into them for more than a decade. Her still-growing collection of more than 3,000 purses and accessories focuses on handbags carried by a broad spectrum of American women.



Opening Reception

Friday, August 11, 5 – 8 pm

Enjoy live music and refreshments during the exhibit’s opening reception.


Gallery Talk

Friday, September 8, 6 pm

Collector Anita Davis will discuss the purse as an expression of the changing roles of women in society. Her talk is in conjunction with 2nd Friday Art Night, 5 – 8 pm.


P is for Purse

A children’s story and crafts hour

Saturday, August 12 and September 9, 10 am

Join us in the galleries for a reading of My Granny’s Purse by P.H. Hanson and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. Then, in our Hands-on History room, kids can “pick a purse” and decorate it. This event is fun for ages 3 to 8.


All events are free and open to the public.