Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday Video: A Miser's Purse, c1870

Friday, August 5, 2016

Isabella reporting,

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 & Noble here.

If you have received this video via email, you may see an empty space or black box where the video should be. Please click here to view the video.


Unknown said...

In the Regency era, did the reticule temporarily replace the miser's purse or were they used only for special occasions? When would a woman choose one over the other and would she own both?

I thought the miser's purse would be a great gift for my sister-in-law who does Civil War reenactment so while searching for a knitted pattern, I came across this page that has some more photos and a painting from 1774 (now I want to go to the art museum to see how many paintings I can find with miser's purses).

For those knitters out there, this pattern seems pretty simple and one end can probably be stitched on the inside to create a flat end. Add beading and change the yarn weight and fiber type to create one closer to the one in the video.

Thanks for another great post!

LauraCamerlengo said...

Thank you for the feature! I am delighted that you enjoyed the video and e-book.

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket