I can't even remember what I was researching when I stumbled across this site chock full of vintage compacts, but I'm so glad I did. I was dazzled by both the quantity and quality of this person's collection, and then I saw that it formed an exhibition that took place a decade ago. "The Art of Allure: Powder Compacts and Vanities of the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries" was on display at the University of Arizona Museum of Art in April and May of 2004, so at this point it's a vintage exhibition of vintage compacts.
The collector behind this wonderful compilation is Noelle Soren, whose bio I pored over and have decided it's movie-worthy. She and her husband both hold advanced degrees in archaeology and art history (ahem) and have traveled the world digging up various artifacts. Eventually she found her way to collecting vintage compacts, and she also wrote and photographed the catalogue for the exhibition. The catalogue is available online and is incredibly informative. She also mentioned that hard copies of the catalogue do appear on Ebay from time to time, so I'm going to keep my eyes peeled in the hopes of snagging one. Definitely check it out (but only if you have plenty of time - you can easily spend an hour looking at everything!)