Journalist and author, Louise Hooper Harper, a native of Plainview, Texas, began her writing career at the age of 52. Her weekly column became a mainstay in the Plainview Daily Reporter appearing under the title of Patchwork.
Her articles captured the voices of women living in Hale County who transformed Texas communities. Louise’s writings reflect the diversity of these women and the positive influence their work had on shaping Hale County history.
Louise also served as the editor for the Hale County Historical Quarterly from 1982-1987. During the course of her career, Louise has written on various topics including women in the military, quilting, health issues affecting women, and women in business. She has authored several books including The Changing Role of Women during World War II. Louise, who says she was called to write, credits her long career to her passion for words, her gift for prose, and her talent for storytelling. All of which have enriched her life and those who followed weekly columns.
In 2013, Louise donated her collection of vintage handbags to the Woman’s Collection. The collection represents handbags originally owned by Hale County women during the 1930s and 1940s and later donated to Louise’s personal collection.
Louise’s interest in handbags coupled with her interest for the region’s history is evident from her prose and the extensive collection she amassed over the years. The collection represents a variety of styles, designs, patterns, fabrics, and textiles. Many are beaded with pearls, crystals, and sequins showcasing exception craftsmanship.
No other collection of vintage handbags with an emphasis on West Texas during World War II is held by any other institution in the country. The collection contains over 200 items. This exhibit reflects the various styles and showcases how fashion shaped the form and function of handbags during the 1930s and 1940s.
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