County Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton talks purses at Canton Fine Arts Association luncheon
JACKSON TWP. Members of the Canton Fine Arts Association held their September luncheon at the La Pizzaria Restaurant in Jackson Township with the topic being “Pursonality Plus,” a lighthearted look at the history of purses.
The guest speaker was Stark County Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton.
The luncheon adhered to all of the safety guidelines for gatherings with only four people at each table and tables were six feet apart. Plus, everyone had a mask on when not seated at the table eating or drinking.
“We are all socially distanced and masked according to the Governor’s guidelines,” said Canton Fine Arts Association Program Chairwomen Susan Bennett. “We are going to hold a best creative mask contest later and have a tote bag donated by Chicos in Belden Village Mall.”
Ann Dixon won the mask contest. Judy Zimmerman, a retired art teacher, served as the judge.
The Canton Fine Arts Association is a nonprofit affiliate of the Canton Museum of Art and sponsor monthly luncheons with programs from September through May. Fine Arts also raises funding for the museum.
Creighton gave a presentation on the history of the purse. Starting with details of how carrying a purse was started by men in the 1600s.
“Men needed something to carry their money and their papers in and so they carried a pursa which was a small leather bag,” Creighton said. “By the 1700s, men’s clothing was being designed with pockets in the coats and the shirts. The men then started carrying something called a pocketbook where they would carry their money and it would go in a pocket like a wallet.”
She went on to say that women started carrying a purse that was tied to their waist by a string and was hidden under their dresses. There was a slit in the dress so that they could access the purse when needed. When women started wearing dresses with the big petti coats, they began carrying a handbag.
“Of course, women wanted to add some flair to their handbags and would eventually build the purse business into the $160 billion global industry that it is today,” Creighton said.
Creighton brough along some of her collection of purses to talk with the group about. The luncheon was open to the public and offered a full-course lunch, prizes and the presentation.
To find out more about or to join the Canton Fine Arts Association, visit it online at www.cantonart.org/canton-fine-arts.