This long rectangular purse has a long pink and white braided strap. The straps are sewn to the long sides of the rectangular bag and the cord is so long that it can easily be worn cross body. The bag itself is woven rayon and cotton. According to a tag on the inside of the bag it was "Made in Greece" of "90 spun rayon- 10% Cotton." The bag is woven in a series of horizontal decorations. There are five decorated bands that are the same on both sides; the pattern conists of two different skinny bands above on ths band and then those two bands repeated below it. The base color is a bright coral pink that has picked up some brown discoloration. The top decorated band is a series of light blue ovals on a field of light yellow and deep mustrad stripes with a border of navy blue blunt spikes. This pattern is both the top and bottom bands. The two skinny bands between the the large central band and the outer bands have the same oval pattern as the outer bands but with teal thread instead of baby blue. These teal accents are on a black background that is borded on top and bottom by royal blue blunted spikes (the same pattern as on the other bands). The central band is significantly larger than the others, it hsa three geometric symbols on a black field with a thin yellow border. The shapes are diamonds with three lines coming off of each face and a small diamond in the center of the shape. From left to right the shapes are teal, green, and light blue. The strap ends in pompoms at both ends so that bottom of the bag has some decoration. The round strap has been woven/braided with pink and white strings of yarn so that it creats a pattern down the whole cord.
This item was found in a box marked as having been donated by Nick Topping but does not have any further documentation. The bag was most likley one of the items sold in his store.
Topping was born Nick Topitzes in 1918, the son of Greek immigrants who operated a grocery store in Milwaukee. Nick Anglicized his last name to avoid the rampant ethnic discrimination facing many Greeks at the time. After graduating with a degree in history and communications, Topping was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II, where he served in counterintelligence in the Mediterranean. When Topping returned to Milwaukee after the war, he invested in what he knew best, and opened a general/grocery store, Topping and Co. International House. From then on Topping became a advocate for social peace and activism against the rampant racism of the time. He is also responsible for bringing the Beatles to Milwaukee. (Source: "Topping Brought The Beatles" by Sarah Biondich in the Express Milwaukee)
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Bag, Tagari, Nicholas Topping Collection, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/9795. Accessed 03/05/21.