Woven Metal Handbag

In Attire
Woven Metal handbag, Dorset-Rex 5th Ave.
Woven Metal handbag, Dorset-Rex 5th Ave.

This handbag was carried by my great-aunt Connie (Conceicao), as part of her 'going-away' outfit on her wedding day in 1957. Connie was the daughter of Portuguese immigrants her parents, never fully learned English, but were part of a  thriving Portuguese community in the mill town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Had Connie been born twenty or thirty years later she most likely would have been CEO of a Fortune 500 company, however as a woman born in the 1930s she adopted a profession that was suitable to her gender. Connie went to Bryant College studying business, a rare thing at the time, and rose to become the executive secretary to the president of Peerless department stores in Providence, which she held until the company was dissolved in 1990. She took great pride in her work, and left her two daughter at home with her sister Erminia. One of the best parts of her job was getting to buy stylish things, directly from New York, whole sale. This bag, woven chrome metal with a black Lucite top and handle was made by Dorset-Rex of Fifth Avenue. Though many of her fashionable and modish clothing from the 1950s and 1960s has long since been sent away to charity, she kept this bag and gave it to me a few years ago. Even for fashionable women, everyone has their favorites. When I opened the bag there was a pay stub from 1959 still tucked into the side pocket, she made $45 a week, which as she observed, was quite a lot of money at the time, especially for the daughter of immigrants.

Place(s): Rhode Island
Year: 1925

– Elizabeth Clappin

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant