Historical information

Adda & Co operated a business at 52 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris.The store sold crocheted silks, furs and hides.

History of shopping bags:

Before the late 1800s, shopping bags didn’t exist. Shoppers would either carry their goods home in baskets, or have the merchant deliver them to people's homes, until 1852 when Francis Wolle, a schoolteacher in Pennsylvania, invented a machine to produce paper shopping bags. This invention would allow customers to carry items home in disposable paper bags. Soon after, owners of department stores and retailers began to realise that paper shopping bags could be used to help market their brands, and as such custom shopping bags with printed logos became common place. Carrying a shopping bag from certain shops became a type of status symbol for consumers, providing evidence that one was well-off, had good taste, or both.


The paper shopping bag is a rare survival of ephemera related to a retail store called Adda &Co that operated at 52 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris. The arrival of waves of more than ten million migrants by boat is one of the major themes in Australia’s history. The paper shopping bag is representative of personal items purchased for migrant journeys as markers of domesticity, warmth and making oneself at home in a new land that speaks of the transnational lives embedded in threads of migration.

Physical description

A brown paper shopping bag with a printed logo and store information in black ink