This leather purse, which was worn attached to the belt, was extremely popular beginning in the last quarter of the 19th century. More durable than a cloth purse, it was used especially for outdoor activities, for shopping and travelling. It was also during this period that this accessory starting being used to carry money.

In the 19th century, the purse was above all a fashion accessory. Often made of a soft fabric, embroidered or beaded, which matched the dress, the "reticule" also had its practical aspect. It permitted ladies wearing dresses without pockets to hold onto their personal effects - for example, their handkerchief, their case of smelling salts and their visiting cards.
McCord Museum of Canadian History

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