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Research Guides

Book Arts & Rare Book Collections: Costume & Textile Collection

Historically significant, rare and collectible books from the Libraries Special Collections Division.




About Historic Costume and Textiles

Special Collections is home to the material formerly held by the School of Home Economics at the University of Washington. The collection consists of historic journals and periodicals like Harper's Bazaar and Gody’s Lady Book, reference books, pattern and instruction books, and an extensive collection of fashion plates and fashion photography. 

Blanche Payne, a faculty member in the School of Home Economics, was the primary benefactor of the historic material, especially the fashion plates. She traveled Europe extensively and researched non-Western folk dress and embroidery techniques. She collected original ethnic costumes, textile, and embroidery examples. You can find the paper documents and flat material in Special Collections, and Payne’s collection of textiles and costumes at the Henry Gallery. Payne also authored a book, History of Costume, a college textbook describing the evolution of fashion from 3000 BC to 1900. Manuscripts relating to the Eastern European costume, including her travel journal through the Balkan countries and notes for her book, are available to researchers through the University Archives. 


Special Collections has undertaken an extensive digitization project for the Fashion Plate Collection which you can browse here

Starting Your Research

Please find a list of print, online, and audio/visual resources to start your research. This section serves as a jumping off point and is by no means exhaustive.