Vintage Purses

Happy winter term to you and yours!

On a recent trip to visit my family, a relative gifted me a small collection of vintage purses and shoes. The late owner, SK Bradford, lived in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia in the first half of the twentieth century. She married a man who worked for the B&O Railroad and, according to oral histories from those who knew her, she and her spouse lived comfortably. She took advantage of access to free train travel and often shopped in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. Upon her death in 1981, some of her articles of clothing and accessories were donated to a local theatre, but directors and actors declined to use the items in performances, knowing that they were special.

Images of the shoes will come later. Captions contain the materials that I believe were used to complete each purse. My best guess is mid-century when it comes to determining the dates of the items.


Nylon (?) with clear plastic beads


Suede with beads and snap closure


Cotton with hinge closure


Beaded fabric (cotton?) with metal zipper, made in Czechoslovakia


Cotton with hinge closure

SK Bradford was well regarded in her community and I’m eager to learn more about her through the objects that she owned.

Until next time,


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