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What The Contents Of This Depression Era Purse Says About American Women In 2017

What the contents of this Depression-era purse says about American women in 2017

This is us: Some aspects about American womanhood remain the same.

How much have women changed in 80 years? A lot. And in some ways not much at all.

The recent discovery in a Chicago theater of a 1930s clutch purse is a time-capsule glimpse into a night out for a Depression-era young woman. The little red bag’s contents, as reported by, were limited to a rosary, a pen, two tubes of lipstick, a still nearly full bottle of liquid foundation, Anacin (modern-day Advil) and a Kelvyn Park pin (which refers to a public park and high school in Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood).

No smartphone, of course. Instead, a well-used address and phone number book. Also, no money. Is it simply missing? Did the theater-patron rely on others’ cash that night?

Eric Nordstrom of Chicago’s Urban Remains pried open a rusted red clutch purse from the 1930s to reveal this glimpse of a woman’s night out at the theater.

Handbag inventory in 2017 includes some of the same staples as their 1930s counterparts, and yet much more, based on an informal office poll, a random sample just like the one from nearly 90 years ago. Yes, there a few bottomless Mary Poppins’ bags in the bunch.

Makeup still makes its appearance (four tubes of lipstick and two tubes of lip…

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