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The ubiquitous miser’s purse

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dc.contributor.author Camerlengo, Laura L.
dc.date.accessioned 2011-02-01T16:07:42Z
dc.date.available 2011-02-01T16:07:42Z
dc.date.issued 2010
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10088/11723
dc.description.abstract Purses, of all shapes, sizes, and designs, were the preeminent monetary storage device for men and women of the Victorian era, and the miser’s purse was perhaps the most ubiquitous in nineteenth-century culture. This small, highly decorative purse is a particularly compelling type of object because, unlike other purses, it was deeply embedded in Victorian popular culture. As seen in hundreds of contemporary sources, the crafting, giving, receiving, sale, and use of the miser’s purse reflected specific social mores, and conveyed certain meanings, to the Victorians. This information, though, has remained largely unknown to present-day scholars as, to date, very little has been written about the miser’s purse. By citing references to miser’s purses found in nineteenth-century literature and paintings, as well as non-fictional accounts of these accessories found in fancywork guides, etiquette guides, and women’s magazines, the author examines the personal, social, literary and artistic functions of the Victorian miser’s purse. Among these sources are important contemporary works, including the fictional writings of Charles Dickens, James Fenimore Cooper, and William Makepeace Thackeray; paintings by James Collinson and Ford Madox Brown; the pre-eminent American magazines Godey’s Lady’s Book, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, and Peterson’s Magazine; as well as popular etiquette and fancywork guides by Lydia Lambert and Matilda Pullan. By this approach, the miser’s purse is shown to be a separate and distinct accessory from other contemporary purses and bags, and its social and symbolic roles are explored. Not only was the miser’s purse emblematic of the Victorian era and its domestic ideologies, but it also embodied the culture’s gift-giving modes. The author explains how these social functions were adapted by Victorian writers and artists into the works they produced. Both the crafting and giving of purses functioned as important literary and artistic devices, often to teach a moral lesson, to help young women to capture the attention of male suitors, to serve as a representation of filial love, or to foreshadow marriages between literary characters. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Parsons the New School for Design
dc.subject Handbags en_US
dc.subject Victorian Society en_US
dc.subject Fashion en_US
dc.subject Social status en_US
dc.title The ubiquitous miser’s purse
dc.type Thesis
dc.identifier.srbnumber 101968

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