Object Timeline

1920

  • Work on this object began.

1930

  • Work on this object ended.

2016

  • We acquired this object.

2017

2021

  • You found it!

Dance Purse

This is a Dance Purse. It is dated ca. 1925 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is molded plastic, rhinestones, textile cord. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

In the 1920s with the increasing freedoms for women at nightclubs and other aspects of social life, new accessories took on a range of fashionable forms and styles to coordinate with daywear and evening wear of the era. At the same time jewelry manufacturers made vanity cases with sumptuous ornament to coordinate with high style jewelry. By the 1920s the powder compact was an ever-present female accessory and manufacturers took to designing containers for this new consumer item. This object falls in between a purse and a vanity case as a so-called "dance purse." These accessories were compromises between objects of utility and objects of adornment. The dance purse offered the functionality of a vanity case; this model has two compartments, one for blush and the other for storage. Concealed in the black tassel underneath is a refilable lipstick container. Its scale and carrying strap suggest its use as a purse to be worn on the wrist. It is decorated as a piece of jewelry with a radial rhinestone pattern evocative of the glamour of nighttime social life in the 1920s.

This object was donated by Bartholomew Voorsanger. It is credited Gift of Bartholomew Voorsanger.

  • Necklace
  • antique textile, rubber, onyx, nylon, zinc.
  • Promised gift to the Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian....
  • 7067.113.2016

Its dimensions are

H x diam. (compact): 8 × 4 cm (3 1/8 × 1 9/16 in.) L (overall): 38 cm (14 15/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Dance Purse; molded plastic, rhinestones, textile cord; H x diam. (compact): 8 × 4 cm (3 1/8 × 1 9/16 in.) L (overall): 38 cm (14 15/16 in.); Gift of Bartholomew Voorsanger; 2016-48-6

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108727329/ |title=Dance Purse |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 October 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>