Image by Nancy Nolan
Anita Davis is author of What’s Inside? A Century of Women and Handbags, 1900–1999.
Anita is a native Arkansan and lifelong collector who loves outsider art, Gladys Knight, dream work, her two daughters, and learning about the mysteries of life. Her varied life experience includes owning a mail-order catalog called Pure and Simple in the 1980s and co-owning Vagabonds coffee house and vintage store in the 1990s. She has a talent for finding valuables (“They’re valuable to me!”) in unexpected places and has led the revitalization of Little Rock’s SoMa neighborhood in which ESSE Purse Museum & Store is located. What’s Inside is an extension of her endeavor to explore concepts of art, history, and the feminine at ESSE—the only purse museum in the United States and one of only three in the world.