A very favorite research book in my vintage fashion library is Vintage Handbags, Collecting and Wearing Designer Classics, by Marnie Fogg, published by The Five Mile Press in 2009 (ISBN 978-1-74211-667-9). I promise you, if you are a keen lover of vintage purses, you will just go GA-GA over the photos in this gorgeous book!
I absolutely adore vintage handbags, especially Corde handbags from the 1940s. I actually use my handbags on a daily basis, even though you pretty quickly get the idea just exactly what women DIDN'T carry in their tiny little handbags whenever you start to use one. Women in the 1940s didn't have to deal with mobile phones, MP3 players, Blackberries, etc.--all they required was a hankie and a tube of lipstick and they were set for whatever life could throw at them!
Here's a few photos from this MUST HAVE book just to whet your appetite. You won't be disappointed if you add this lovely book to your reference collection.
American Bamboo and Plastic, 1953 by the Philadelphia Company, Ingber
Gown and Clutch, 1952, by Christian Dior