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Shopping Bag Collection

Identifier: RG 5


This special collection was founded in 1970 due to tremendous popular public interest in shopping bags in the 1960s. Shopping bags are frequently referred to as “portable art.” They originate from leading commercial firms, shopping malls, deluxe retail stores, and all sorts of merchandising outlets in the United States, and from stores all over the world. The collection contains over 2,000 bags.


  • Majority of material found in ca. 1975 - present

Conditions Governing Access

Available by appointment only. Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied or photographed without permission from library staff.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.


135.33 Linear Feet (Arranged topically into 67 Solander boxes. Smaller bags are stored in a filing cabinet drawer. )

Language of Materials


Physical Location

67 Solander boxes are stored in offsite storage.

Custodial History

Many of the shopping bags were acquired as gifts from donors and from staff.


Atlas Obscura, "At the Newark Public Library, Shopping Bags Carry Local History," 25 September 2018.
Wilson, Antonia. "Bags of Style." Creative Review. October 2014: 38-44.

Processing Information

Inventory was conducted by Nadine Sergejeff, 2019.

Nadine Sergejeff
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, Newark Public Library Repository

5 Washington Street
PO Box 630
Newark NJ 07102 USA