Long before credit cards and Apple Pay, a miser's purse was the way thrifty shoppers kept their money sorted. Despite their name, miser's purses were a fashionable accessory and popular gift. Frequently mentioned in 19thc novels and women's magazines, the purses were also a favorite small handicraft project for ladies who enjoyed crochet and fancy beading. Today they turn up at flea markets, as sad and limp as old balloons, and likely unrecognizable to most modern shoppers. This brief video from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum will remedy that, however, and explain how you didn't have to be a miser to use a miser's purse.
To see more examples of miser's purses in the Cooper-Hewitt collection, see here. For more information, the Museum has published a short ebook on miser's purses as part of their DesignFile line. The book was written by the narrator of this video, Laura Camerlengo, a Curatorial Fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; it's available to download from Amazon here, and from Barnes & Noblehere.
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There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.