We Toured An Exbibit of Judith Lieber Handbags in Memory of Our Mom

27 Jul

I am a very sentimental person, I admit it. My sister is as well. So when I saw there would be an exhibit  of Judith Lieber handbags at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC when I was there this summer, I knew we had to go.

Our Mom loved pocketbooks, as we call them back East. She had a large collection of stunning bags, which we divided among her granddaughters, daughters and daughter in law when she passed away. Each purse was a beloved friend kept safe in its cloth covering.

Mom loved to shop for pocketbooks and shoes. Every shopping adventure ended up at a shoe store. In her closet were dozens of pairs of shoes stored in neat see-through boxes, along with the carefully stored purses. My mom could not walk past a shoe store without going in!

My daughter, brought up in the Midwest, learned her love of purses from my Mom. In the Midwest we call them purses, while in New Jersey the same item was a pocketbook. My daughter came up with a new word, a ‘pocket purse’, to describe the carryall held by almost all women.  As a child she would proudly walk with my Mom, each holding their own ‘pocket purse.’

One of my favorites at the exhibit.

So going to see Judith Lieber’s designs seemed apropos. As we walked through the exhibit, delighted to see the crystal evening minaudieres, the leather creations, and letters from former First Ladies, we remembered buying purses that were inspired by Lieber designs. We wished we could have owned an original. I wished my Mom could have had at least one. She would have cherished it.

Reading a time line of Lieber’s life in Hungary before and during the Second World War, we were impressed at how she found a career she loved and was able to flourish a bit even in times of terror.  I was glad that her love of an American soldier brought her safety and that he too was an artist.

Each piece in the exhibit made us pause and remember our Mom, while thinking of the creativity and imagination of Lieber.  We had a wonderful imagining owning one of these and choosing which ones were our favorites.

Update:  In November I was able to purchase a pair of Judith Lieber sunglasses at a charity auction, which I presented to my sister as a gift.   In April, Judith Lieber and her husband Gerson died hours apart.  May their names be a blessing.

5 Responses to “We Toured An Exbibit of Judith Lieber Handbags in Memory of Our Mom”

  1. Amy July 28, 2017 at 7:47 am #

    Such a sweet post. And it’s funny—just the other day my father, brother, and I had a conversation about why some people call them purses and others pocketbooks. I always used pocketbook, but my daughters—born and bred in New England—always use purse. Maybe it’s also a generational thing?

    • zicharon July 28, 2017 at 7:50 am #

      I think it is locational. You grew up in NYC area as did I. Our daughters grew up outside of NYC. My sister uses the word Handbag now. And we still use our made up word. Have a great day.

      • Amy July 28, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

        You, too!

  2. thegenealogygirl August 3, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

    What a sweet post. I love it when I am able to feel a connection to a loved one.

    • zicharon August 4, 2017 at 4:58 am #

      As soon as I saw this was on display, I knew we had to go!

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