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Art - Historic Costume: 20th & 21st c. America & the UK

Image rich resources for advertising from previous decades. Late 19th - the end of the 20th century.

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.

Background and context


Research tips

To find images of costumes associated with a specific place and time:

  1. Look for books in historic costume
  2. Review clothing catalogs from the era
  3. Visit museum web sites, looking for costume collections or works of art created in the same location and period. 
  4. Review ads in magazines from the era

Librarian / Research Help

Contact:Barb Prior (she/her)
Clarence Ward Art Library
Top Floor, Venturi Art Building

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