Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Historic Costume: North America and Western Europe: Visual Reference

Visual Resource Tools

"Visual Reference" is a general term for a wide range of materials that fall into two general categories:

Primary sources were made in the period and place being studied. Examples include clothing advertisements from  women's magazines, dress patterns printed in period newspapers, drawings by a fashion designer, or an actual article of clothing. Primary resources that are rich with images can also yield, with careful analysis, an insider's view of the ideas, concerns, and values of a place and time. 

Secondary sources, on the other hand, are created by scholars and costumers who have studied primary resources, synthesized what they have learned, and presented it for others in the field. Secondary sources are arranged by century indicated on each tab. To find more, search OBIS using the tips on the "Databases" tab of this guide.

Websites and museum collections

Librarian / Research Help

Contact:Barb Prior (she/her)
Clarence Ward Art Library
Top Floor, Venturi Art Building
bprior@oberlin.edu
440-775-8635



  • HOW DO I ….?
    Watch these videos for advice & support on using library resources and doing research. Visit us at https://libraries.oberlin.edu/ to chat with us in real-time, schedule a research appointment, or send us an email message.