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Dress and Fashion: Design and Manufacture

Several rare and unusual published resources of interest to students of western dress and fashion from the 19th to the early 20th-century. Includes historical surveys as well as manufacturers' booklets and sample swatch catalogs.

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Brocade shoe; red and white satin shoe; shoe belonging to Rosa Anderson, a fair maid of Perth, whose elopement created a great sensation in bygone days in the town, to whose Council her husband belonged. Digital ID: 105978 Brocade shoe; red and white satin shoe; shoe belonging to Rosa Anderson, a fair maid of Perth, whose elopement created a great sensation in bygone days in the town, to whose Council her husband belonged. Digital ID: 105978

Collection History

The tradition of collecting contemporary practical works relating to the business and industry of a particular field, as well as to its design and aesthetics, began with the Astor Library, one of NYPL's founding institutions. The works grouped in this presentation were routine contemporary acquisitions of their day, welcomed into the collections not only in anticipation of their immediate utility, but also in expectation of their future historical role as source documents for future historians and designers. Among the special items featured here are manufacturers' catalogs containing real fabric swatches along with sketches showing how the new prints and weaves could be fashioned into seasonably stylish garments.

Background

The history of apparel manufacturing parallels the invention of factory sewing machines and the rise of a middle class to appreciate and acquire multiple articles of ever updated clothing. Coming from two complementary library divisions, the catalogs and histories in this digital presentation, which will grow over time, provide a window into the daily practices and design resources of one of the few manufacturing industries that still thrive in New York City. Recognizing the significance of the 9,000 volumes in SIBL's textile industries collection, the National Endowment for the Humanities recently funded a two-year project to film the entire, predominantly black-and-white, holding .

Library Division(s)

NYPL Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the vast collections of The New York Public Library, including drawings, illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.