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Vintage Collections - Vintage Box Purses

The Readers Collections have been a lot of fun. Today's collection feature is a look into the world of Vintage Box Purses. These come from Diane H. from Houston Texas.


Talk about a collection, Diane's variety of box purses is truly amazing, there are so many great photos to share, so I included a mix of her personal collection as well as her personal collection she's parting with. I hope you will enjoy them and a little of their history as much as I did.


Do you know anything about the history of when box bags first started being produced?

The Box bag, in one form or another has been around for over a hundred years. Looking a my purse history reference material, these bags evolved from 'Ladies Vanity Item's... First you had compacts, then compacts with storage for lipstick..add rouge...add combs...add mad money...add cigarettes and matches...add timepieces and so on. As the functionality asserted itself, the materials from which the
vanity item was made changed...tapestry fabric...leather...Bakelite..metal..plastic..WOOD. In tandem, shape changed as well.


I have a few leather purses from the forties, which are oval

boxes, or six-sided boxes, and a nice velvet one from the 50's which is 12" tall and shaped like a stove pipe. I classify all of these as box purses.


The majority of my collection in the photo's, are from the 1960's -early 70's. Some were commercially produced, others were home-crafted from kits being sold at that time. Enid Collins of Texas, started the craze for the Wooden Box Bag in the early 60's, and they were pricey.
So of course, the knock-offs followed, along with the do-it-your-self themes. (Japan produced many of the Collins look-a-likes.


What made you decide to start collecting these?
It was a natural progression, from the perspective of a minutely
obsessive personality, to get more of what made me happy. After the joy of using my first box purse, (an Enid Collins 'It grows on Trees',
which is a wooden box purse decorated with faux coins), I fell in love.That bag was so uniquely, feminine, that I had to have more. My friends all loved it...strangers would stop me and ask is that a purse?..Where did you find that?'. Of course this was in the early 80s, and women who had owned those bags when they were initially issued
(1950-70's), just smiled. They of course understood.

Diane also happens to be the owner GoodEye, a great vintage shop on Etsy. We'll also be back with Diane a little later to show off her store Houston Vintage & Costume
2609 Blodgett St.
Houston Texas 77004.


Thanks Diane for sharing your wonderful collection with us!



Wow. You're giving me the itch to revive some old collections. And I have no space in my one bedroom apartment!

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