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About this collection

From its origins as a plain fiber sack, the humble shopping bag emerged as a sophisticated merchandising tool. Its development parallels the transformation of the American retailing economy from peddlers, shopkeepers, and dry goods stores in the 19th century, to the rise of department and chain stores, mail order catalogues, and supermarkets in the 20th century. Its development reflects changing trends in art, design, and marketing over more than a century.

 

The Lee L. Forman Bag Collection is the legacy and namesake of Lee L. Forman who started saving the new paper Bloomingdale's shopping bags in the 1970s. The collection grew as Forman became increasingly interested in the design and history of bags as cultural icons. 

 

The Lee L. Forman Bag Collection was donated as a key collection of the Institute for Human Science and Culture in 2019 by Howard Forman. 

 

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