General Info


Vassar’s Office of Communications just included us in a great series of videos they’re doing called “What Are You Doing,” showing behind-the-scenes work at the college.  They’ve shared a short video with me talking about the collection, and the link to the video was featured on Vassar’s home page last Thursday and Friday.

You have time to watch it – it’s only 1:44 long – short and sweet. Enjoy!

I am very pleased to share the final report from our NEH grant funded “Historic Costume Preservation Workshop” at Vassar College in spring 2010.

Including all the appendices, it is rather lengthy, so I certainly don’t expect you to read through every word – but it’s a great reference to flip through and see just how much we accomplished, both during the project itself and in the year since. If you’re interested in doing a similar project at your institution, this could be a handy reference.

Historic Costume Preservation Workshop Final Report

In addition to the narrative about the project, the appendices include the syllabus, sample reports, workshop schedule, links to resources and publicity, and our general preservation assessment report.

Welcome to our blog for the Vassar College Costume Collection. This is where we share news about the collection and talk about our research process. We love your feedback – to comment on a post or read other comments, click on the heading of the post where it says “No comments,” “1 Comment,” etc. Thanks for visiting!

I’m taking a moment today to look over the research everyone has done so far this semester, to see what objects and what stories are emerging as part of our upcoming exhibition.

Please comment below on which of these you think should or shouldn’t be included (and why) and what else you think is missing. Does each object speak to our general theme of the influence of education on fashion? If so, how? If not, is a different theme emerging? Which objects could be grouped together, to complement or contrast with each other?

(Expect some other posts coming soon from students to address in greater detail the emerging narratives of some of these objects)

Here are the objects we’re already working with:


  • 1879 Graduation Dress of Sallie Tucker Blake (Mrs. Josiah Drummond)
    (research by Molly Turpin and Arden Kirkland)

  • 1890’s Day Dress
    (research by Faren Tang)

  • 1900’s bridesmaid’s dress worn by Mrs. C. Lane Goss
    (research by Faren Tang and Holly Hummel)
  • 1935 Class Day Dress of Sarah S. Graham
    1935 Class Day Dress of Sarah S. Graham
    (research by Ceci Cholst)
  • 1950’s Vassar Blazer
    (research by Rebecca Tuite, London fashion history writer, currently focusing on Vassar style in the 1950’s)

and here are some others that I propose might fill out the story:


  • Brown Plaid Day Dress
  • Navy blue wool gymsuit
    Navy blue wool gymsuit; courtesy of Special Collections, Vassar College Library

  • 1924 Class Day Dress of Martha Stockwell Mumford

  • 1926 Gymsuit of Dorothy Reid Kittell VC’26

  • 1925 Daisy Chain Dress of Kathryn Keeler Sherrill VC ’27
  • collage of images of current Vassar student fashion
    (perhaps with help from the team at Contrast, Vassar’s style magazine)

Now, as I add to this list, I find some patterns emerging in my choices – but maybe it’s just me. What patterns do you see? I’ll write more later about the patterns I’m thinking of – after you’ve had a chance to draw some of your own conclusions.

UPDATE: here are some others under consideration, added since this original post:

  • Brown Wool and Velvet Bustle Ensemble
    Brown Wool and Velvet Bustle Ensemble
  • Teal Taffeta Crinoline Ensemble
    Teal Taffeta Crinoline Ensemble
  • Ivory Silk Evening Dress with Floral Motif
    Ivory Silk Evening Dress with Floral Motif

We also really should add in some menswear to represent the post co-ed period . . .

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