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Featured Collection


D-Lib Magazine
November/December 2009

Volume 15 Number 11/12

ISSN 1082-9873

Historic Costume and Textiles Collection

Ohio State University

Contributed by
Leta Hendricks
Assistant Professor and Museum Librarian
Historic Costume and Textiles Collection
Ohio State Univeristy

Photograph - Charles Worth Gown

A special exhibition, “Journeys: Treasures of The Ohio State University Libraries Special Collections,” is on display through January 3, 2010 to celebrate the reopening of the renovated Thompson Memorial Library. Featured exhibit item: 19th century gown by Charles Worth from the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection. Copyright © Historic Costume & Textile Collection. Used with permission.

The Ohio State University Historic Costume and Textiles Collection (HC&TC) is a scholarly and artistic resource of apparel and textile material culture for the Columbus academic, art, business, and cultural communities. The Collection is a partnership between the College of Education and Human Ecology's Fashion and Retail Studies program in the Department of Consumer Sciences, and The Ohio State University Libraries.

The Collection began in the 1940s as a teaching tool for home economics courses. Charles Kleibacker became the first curator of the Collection in 1985. A disastrous flood of the Collection's Campbell Hall basement storage facility, in 1987, damaged a majority of the collection. In the aftermath of the flood, the College of Human Ecology established a fund for the building of gallery and storage facilities for the Collection. The Geraldine Schottenstein Wing for the Historic Costume & Textiles Collection opened in May of 1996. On October 26 the first major exhibition, "Fashioning the Future: Our Future from Our Past" opened in the Gladys Keller Snowden Gallery located in the Schottenstein Wing. Curator Charles Kleibacker retired from the university with emeritus status in 1995. Gayle Strege joined the Ohio State University's Consumer Sciences Department in 1996 becoming the second curator of the collection, a position she continues to hold today.

Photograph of Frontier Dress

Delmas grant image: 19th century American frontier dress. Copyright © Historic Costume & Textile Collection. Used with permission.

The oldest clothing pieces date from the mid 18th century. The oldest textiles include pre-Columbian Peruvian textiles and a Spanish velvet from 1450-1510. The Collection currently numbers 12,000 artifacts. Artifacts in the Collection encompass a range of three dimensional objects such as textiles and articles of clothing and accessories for men, women, and children, including national dress costumes from the mid-18th century to contemporary 21st century designers. Historic textiles date from the 15th century through the 21st century. The Collection also houses artwork, commercial patterns, fashion plates, period fashion magazines, photography, sketches, swatch books; and professional, personal, and family papers. The Collection's mission is to collect, exhibit, explicate, and preserve textile and apparel material culture. Particular strengths of the Collection are artifacts pertaining to central Ohio and the United States fashion industry.

In 2008, the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection received an $8,000.00 grant, from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, to professionally photograph collection artifacts that are representative of fashion history and construction. The digital images will act as a tool for history of fashion courses taught at Ohio State University and the Columbus College of Art & Design, and for researchers. Scheduled online access to these images is through the College of Arts and Sciences' Media Manager virtual database; the Collection's Website and Facebook Page. Future plans include providing online public access to the Collections' PastPerfect museum database sub-collection records and images. The Collection's diverse sub-collections consist of the Ann W. Rudolph Button Collection; Ethnographic Dress Collection; the Ethel Traphagen School of Fashion Collection; Textile Collection; Twentieth Century Designer Collection and Vernacular Dress, a unique collection of Ohioan dress, from the 19th Century through the 21st Century.

To view this collection, see

Copyright© 2009 Historic Costume & Textile Collection

(An error found in the text of this feature was corrected on November 23, 2009.)

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