Author Ruth Chew, designer Giuliana Coen Camerino

In 2005, Giuliana Coen Camerino's handbags were presented in Milan.
In 2005, Giuliana Coen Camerino's handbags were presented in Milan. (Antonio Calanni/associated Press)
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ruth Chew Author, Illustrator

Ruth Chew, 90, an author and illustrator of more than 20 children's fantasy books, including "The Wednesday Witch," died of pneumonia May 13 in Castro Valley, Calif.

Ms. Chew, whose married name was Ruth Silver, grew up in the Washington area and was a 1936 graduate of Western High School. She took classes at the Corcoran art school. In "The Wednesday Witch," published by Holiday House in 1972, the main character rides an old canister vacuum instead of a broom.

Giuliana Coen Camerino Handbag Designer

Giuliana Coen Camerino, 90, designer of handbags carried by Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and others, died May 10 in Venice, the home of the Roberta di Camerino fashion house, which she founded in 1945. No cause of death was reported.

Ms. Camerino is credited with making handbags a fashion item. Her distinctive and timeless bags typically had brass clasps created by the Venetian craftsman who make accents for gondolas or they were made of velvet woven on antique looms.

She started designing handbags while in exile during World War II in Switzerland, where she fled to escape the persecution of Jews in Italy. She created the name for her fashion house, which also made shoes and apparel, from the 1935 film "Roberta" starring Irene Dunne, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and her husband's family name.

Her talents were recognized by the Whitney Museum of American Art with an exhibit in 1980.

-- From staff and wire reports

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