Workers Find Purse High School Student Lost in 1954. Its Contents Are a Tantalizing Glimpse of the Past

Martha Ina Ingham lost her purse almost 70 years ago. Now that it has been found, what people really want to know is … who her prom date was.

As WLKY reports, Ingham attended Jefferson High School in Jeffersonville, Indiana. She graduated in 1955. At some point, probably in 1954, she lost her purse at school — where it stayed for more than six decades.

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Martha Ina Ingham has been found! Thank you to everyone who shared our original post. We will provide an update soon! ♥️????

Posted by Greater Clark County Schools on Saturday, February 9, 2019

According to News and Tribune, the purse was recently discovered by workers who were removing cabinets in an old science classroom. The school is now being demolished to make way for a new elementary school.

The school district shared a photo of Ingham’s purse on Facebook in the hopes of returning it to her. The mystery of the found purse was intriguing in itself, but what really caught people’s attention were the purse’s contents.

Lost and Found Alert: Martha Ina Ingham’s handbag from 1954 has been found in the Franklin Square demolition. We would…

Posted by Greater Clark County Schools on Thursday, February 7, 2019

Inside, the purse was like a time capsule from the 1950s. The school posted the contents, which included a basketball schedule for the 1953-1954 school year, sponsored by Shannon’s Dairy.

Posted by Greater Clark County Schools on Friday, February 8, 2019

There was also a well-loved tube of red lipstick and a first place ribbon for the mile relay.

Posted by Greater Clark County Schools on Friday, February 8, 2019

A letter from “Carter” explaining that, “Bobbie and I aren’t going back together. I’m just continuing to walk her to classes.” It ends with, “I think Paul is an alright guy. But you’ll never catch him, he runs too fast. Ha! Ha!”

Posted by Greater Clark County Schools on Friday, February 8, 2019

And most tantalizing of all, a letter inviting Ingham to go to the prom.

Posted by Greater Clark County Schools on Friday, February 8, 2019

“I’ve heard that Paul has asked you to go to the Prom with him,” it reads. “If he hasn’t, I would like very much to take you.” It concludes with a postscript:

If you have already consented to go with Paul, please forget that I have asked. If he has asked, but you haven’t consented yet, please consider my invitation.

The glimpse into the past was fascinating to many commenters, who asked to know more about the purse and its owner. Quite a few wanted to know who she chose to go to prom with.

Fortunately, there may be an answer on the way. Erin Bojorquez, the district’s public information officer, told the News Tribune they were able to find Ingham’s family via social media:

“A family member came across our post and then shared it with [her] youngest son. I’m thrilled I was able to connect with Marty’s family.”

Ingham is reportedly in her early 80s and lives out of the area. The school plans to mail the purse to her. Bojorquez told the News Tribune that she hopes to get an answer to the prom mystery in the process:

“I hope this little piece of history brings back fond memories of her year at Jeffersonville High School. I also hope to answer the community’s burning question about who took Marty to prom.”

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