Saturday, July 2, 2011
Great blog about Benjamin Feldman's efforts to track down the history behind an old leather coin purse that he found at a Chealsea flea market. The NY Times also gives an account. Not quite the biography of an artifact, but the purse has opened up a fascinating story of immigration, lower east side tenements, prohibition, well-known descendants, and the changing city. The purse on its own likely wouldn't have prompted this search, but neither would Sol Goldberg's name without the purse. The combination of name and object is a potent semiotic mixture that, unlike most flea market finds, provides enough context to start a search, and evoke a sensual history.