1834 Fashion Plates from Popular Women’s Magazines

Women’s magazines in the 19th century published fashion plates- illustrations of women’s clothing intended to guide the reader towards the latest styles. I love fashion plates, but often the scans of fashion magazines scan the plates very poorly.  On the other hand, many wonderful repositories of just fashion plates exist such as the Casey Fashion Plate index, but since plates were so often cut from the magazines, these collections omit the contextual information we need to understand the plates.

So, I spent some time pairing up beautifully scanned plates from the Casey Fashion Plate Index with their descriptions from various fashion magazines. I did excerpted the descriptions, added punctuation where needed, and corrected some truly strange spellings and archaic word choices. Riband means ribbon, apparently, though I did have to look that one up.

I chose to focus on 1834. Maybe because I am working on a paper doll from this era… Maybe….

Godey’s Lady’s Book Fashion Plates from 1834

If there ever was a magazine that barely needs an introduction, it is Godey’s Lady’s Book. In the 19th century, it was the most widely circulated magazine in the United States. That’s not just the most widely circulated women’s magazine, the most widely circulated magazine period. It began in 1830, but didn’t reach the height of its popularity until after Sarah Josepha Hale took over as the editor in 1837. She was an amazing woman and helped found the holiday of Thanksgiving. She also wrote the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

April 1834 Fashion plate from Godey's Lady's Book magazine of two gowns- one evening dress and one carriage dress.

(The Court Magazine and Monthly Critic describes identical dresses in their November 1833 issue.)

Evening Dress (left) – The robe is composed of a new kind of gauze, called gaze fleur des anges, a rose-colored ground, flowered in… a blond lace pattern, and worn over a satin slip to correspond. The corsage is low, cut in a very graceful manner on the shoulders… The lappel, bust, and bottom of the corsage, are each edged with blond lace. Bouffant sleeve slashed in front of the arm. The hair parted on the forehead, is disposed in light loose curls… A half wreath of blue wild flowers is placed rather far back (on the head) … gloves of white knitted silk, resembling double-grounded lace. Black satin slippers of the sandal kind.

Carriage Dress (right- identified as a Morning Dress) – A pelisse of lemon-colored gros frincesse… The sleeves very large from the shoulder to the bend of the arm, sit nearly, but not quite close to the wrist…. Pelerine (cape) of two falls, deep on the back and shoulders….  and knots of ribbon much larger than those on the sleeves are placed at equal distances from the waist to the bottom of the skirt. Lemon-colored satin hat, lined with pale lilac velvet… The trimming consists of knots of lemon-colored gauze ribbon and… flowers to correspond. Cashmere scarf. Lilac kid gloves.

Two evening gowns from 1834. Originally published in Godey's Lady's Book.

Evening Dress (left) –Robe of.. satin; a low corsage, plain behind, but disposed in drapery folds in front… and turning back round the bust in the pelerine form. The lappel and the bust… are both bordered with blond lace… The sleeves are of the double bouffant form; the lower bouffant is extremely small; it is shaded by a row of blond lace… The border of the dress is embroidered in detached bouquets in silk to correspond… a turban of white and blue gauze… A white ostrich feather, tipped with blue, rises from the bandeau, and completes the trimming.

Evening Dress (right) – Satin under-dress of a peculiar shade of gray; the corsage is cut low, sits close to the shape, and is bordered with blond lace… A deep flounce of blond lace encircles the border of the dress… the sleeves of the single bouffant form over satin… Knots of fire-colored gauze riband decorate the sleeves, and the sides of the robe. The hair is divided on the forehead, falls in loose curls at the sides of the face, and is combed up tight to the summit of the head, where it is arranged in a cluster of light bows, in which a sprig composed of colored gems is inserted. A bandeau, composed also of colored gems is brought from the sprig round the forehead.

Ladies’ Pocket Magazine Fashion Plates from 1834

The Ladies’ Pocket Magazine was published in London. As far as I can tell, it came out twice a year and was small format (pocket-sized) and included a variety of content from stories to non-fiction, poems, essays and fashion plates. The plates were divided between styles from London and styles from Paris.

Women's fashion plate from 1834 of a dinner dress from Lady's Pocket Magazine.

Dinner Dress- A green satin round dress a low body the front crossed in full drapery folds on the bosom. Long sleeves very wide and terminating in deep tight cuffs. Blond lace mantelet… The cap also composed of blond… is trimmed with an ornament of cut ribbon on one side and a bow on the other.

1834 fashion plate from March of an evening dress from Lady's Pocket Magazine.

Evening Dress- A velvet robe of a new color bordering on lilac. The body cut low and square is trimmed with blond lace arranged in the lapel style. Bouffant sleeves… The hair is dressed in loose curls at the sides and in high light bows on the summit of the head. It is adorned with a bandeau of fancy jewelry and a sprig of… roses inserted in the bows.

Women's fashion plate from 1834 of a walking dress from Lady's Pocket Magazine.

Walking Dress- A pelisse of apple-green satin… trimming of white fox fur descends in a straight band down the corsage and passes from thence to the bottom of the skirt…. Green satin bonnet to correspond round and rather deep brim bordered with a blond lace ruche… The trimming of the crown is composed of ribbon which forms a point in the centre and two full blown roses inserted one on each side of the band on the top.

Lady’s Magazine and Museum of the Belles Lettres, Fine Arts, Music, Drama, Fashions, etc. Fashion Plates from 1834

The Lady’s Magazine and Museum was born after two older ladies magazines came together- The Lady’s Magazine and the Lady’s Monthly Museum. Both magazines began in the late 18th century in England to cater to the women’s market. By the 1830s, facing competition, they combined into one publication and continued until 1847.

Lady's walking cape from 1834 with a child's costume as well.

 Toilette de Ville –  Hat of… satin ornamented with two ostrich feathers. Cloak… lined with satin… The cape is about half the length of the cloak… The cape is cut open at each side… and shows the sleeves which are immense… The collar and cuffs of black velvet.

Child’s Dress-  Cloak of pink satin made with large sleeves and pelerine…. the cloak is fastened round the waist by a… boa of swan’s down… Frock and trousers… to match and trimmed at the tops with swan’s down. Satin hat with a plain ribbon crossed in front and descending at the sides.


Costume de Soiree Dress of organdy embroidered in colored worsteds [in a pattern of] rose buds and foliage… The embroidery is continued in a light wreath round the bottom of the skirt to mark where the hem should come… The cap is… a plain crown and excessively full border which is very deep in front and diminishes gradually towards the sides… White gloves, white silk stockings, and black satin shoes.

The sitting figure shows the back of the same gown. This was a common “trick” in plates of this era and I think it’s pretty charming.

Thoughts on the 1830s? Other periods of fashion I should take on?


Casey Fashion Plate Index

Godey’s Lady’s Book

Lady’s Pocket Book Vol 1 1834

Lady’s Magazine and Museum 1834

A Historical Paper Doll Round-Up: Every Historical Paper Doll From 2010 to 2015

Historical Paper Doll Round-Up: Free Printable Historical Paper Dolls in Fashions from 900 Anglo-Saxon until 1970 American free to print from PaperThinPersonas.comAs a kid, my favorite paper dolls were historical paper dolls. I had everything from paper doll flappers to knights. I still tend towards historical paper dolls in my own collecting, especially those depicting an era that I don’t see very often.

So, for last post of 2015, I thought it would be fun to post a round-up of all the historical paper dolls on Paper Thin Personas from 2010 when I did my first historical paper doll (a teddy bear with regency fashions) until 2015.

As some of you may recall, one of my goals in 2015 was to create at least ten historical paper doll posts in 2015. I surpassed my goal.

I wanted to make paper doll sets representing periods of fashion history that I either didn’t know much about or that challenged me to draw things that I would normally shy away from, because they were intimidating- like the patterns of the Tudor era or the ruffles and pleats of the 18th century.

Mostly though, I wanted to a chance to dig back into my passion for historical dress research which I had let slip a little as I went through grad school. So, today I am going to share every historical paper doll on the blog organized by era of history.

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Underwear and Corset History Books: An Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliography of books on the history of corsets and underwear. This is one of several posts I plan on doing focusing on historical costume research resources. Today, I am focusing on a topic that I think is really important and also fairly hard to research: Corsets and Underwear.

It may not come as a surprised that there are a lot of myths about corset history. Fewer about underwear history in general, but corsets weren’t worn in a vacuum, after all.

As some of you know, I collect costume history books, so I might as well embrace that obsession while I’m at it. My goal with these little selected bibligraphys is NOT to list every single book published on a topic. Rather, I want to share the books that I find most useful.

The Selection Critera

1. Have I actually seen it? If I hadn’t actually seen the book, than it doesn’t get to go on this list.

2. Do I actually think its worthwhile? If I don’t, than it doesn’t go on this list. Now, this isn’t a list of what I think are the best, just what I think are decent, so some of these I do criticize.

3. Does it focus specifically on underwear and/or corsetry? There are a lot of good books on Tudor dress that talk about underwear and there are a lot of good Victorian fashion books that talk about corsets, but that’s not the point of this list. This list is for specialized resources. So, the book has to be focused on corset history or underwear history.

4. Is it just a pattern book? I have no issue with books with patterns, but this bibliography isn’t about how to make corsets. There are excellent books on corset construction that don’t touch on the history of the garments. So, those are straight out. Some of these books do include patterns, however.

That’s it. That’s how things ended up on this bibliography. Not exactly the most complicated criteria.

The Bibliography of Books on Corset and Underwear History

Cunnington, C. Willett, and Phillis Cunnington. The History of Underclothes. N.p.: Dover, 1992.

Originally published in London in 1951, it was reprinted by Dover in 1992. It starts in the Medieval period and goes through about 1940. Now, let me make a few things clear here. The first is that this book was written in the 1950s and therefore it has to be recognized as a dated resource. It also lacks extensive illustration, again because it was written in a time when illustrating a book was much more expensive and challenging than it is today. Despite these flaws, this might be one of the best overview books on this topic around. At least, I have yet to find it the equal. Plus, they cite all their illustrations, so yay! Citation!

My only complaint is that the Dover reprint is about the size of a trade paper back. I wish it was larger. As far as complaints go, I think that is pretty minor.

Ewing, Elizabeth. Dress and Undress: A History of Women’s Underwear. New York: Drama Book Specialists, 1978.

Basically, Ewing attempts to do what Cunnington did in an updated fashion. After devoting about maybe a dozen pages to the period between 3000 and 1500, the book then covers the next few hundred years in more detail. I think Ewing’s work is decent but not fantastic. I’m not a big fan of the illustrations, but the text is well written.

Lynn, Eleri, Richard Davis, and Leonie Davis. Underwear: Fashion in Detail. London: V&A, 2010.

This is such a beautiful book. I mean, I love all the Fashion in Detail books by the V&A, but this one is really glorious. For those of you unfamiliar with the Fashion in Detail collection, it is structured so that you get a close up photograph of a garment, two line drawings of the garment and then a description of the garment. Unlike many fashion books, the Fashion in Detail collection focuses on, well, the details. So the books are often structured around specific elements like button holes or lace, rather than around time period. As much as I love this book (and I love it so much I own two copies), I don’t think I would buy it as the only costume history book you own. Still, if you want eye candy… this book as eye candy.

Salen, Jill. Corsets: Historic Patterns and Techniques. Hollywood, CA: Costume & Fashion, 2008.

This is one of those books that has patterns, but I have never made anything from them and I don’t think it’s really a “construction” book, rather it is a detailed study of about 24 corsets. The earliest is from around 1750 and the latest is from 1817. There are also two really cute little doll corsets included which is rather fun. Each corset gets a photo, a hand-drawn pattern and a detailed description. The unique inclusion of maternity stays and children’s corsets makes this a particularly valuable book, but it focuses strictly on corsets, so be aware.

Steele, Valerie. The Corset: A Cultural History. New Haven: Yale UP, 2001.

Steele takes on 400 years of corset history in this book and looks at both why women wore corsets and what their purpose was. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the book, however, is the section she devotes to look at the modern obsession with “fit” bodies in relation to the pasts obsession with corsetry. Well illustrated and well written, it’s a great book, but it is strictly about corsets.

Summers, Leigh. Bound to Please: A History of the Victorian Corset. Oxford: Berg, 2001.

If you’re looking for a book of beautiful photos of corsets, this ain’t it. If you are looking for a wonderful study on the sociological implications of the corset and its evolution, than this is totally that book. It’s a fascinating look on the role corsets played in construction Victorian femininity and middle-class culture. I think Summers and Steele are doing similar things in their books and I think both are excellent. Summers is a bit more focused on the Victorians than Steele who delves more into modern and fetish corset aspects.

Waugh, Norah. Corsets and Crinolines. New York: Theatre Arts, 1970.

There are certain works in a field that are seminial and Waugh’s Corsets and Crinolines is one of those books. First published in the 1950s, it discusses about 1500 until about 1920. Waugh organizes her work in large historical periods than by type of garments. So, finding stuff can be challenging. However, once you get past the wacky organization and sometimes tiny font, Waugh’s work is one of the most comprehensive books on the subject. Along with period patterns and diagrams, she quotes contemporary sources and includes tons of lovely primary source information. Unlike Cunnington’s work (which came out around the same time) Waugh doesn’t spent much time talking about cultural implications of garments, she just gives tons and tons of lovely information. Some of it a trifle disorganized, I grant, but I just don’t care.

Someday, I will own a hard cover addition this book, but that day might be a while off.

So, that’s my list. Did I miss any stellar texts on the subject? Is there something I should track down to check out? Let me know in a comment.

I linked to Amazon in this list mostly, but check your local library first. A lot of these are commonly found in those places and I am big fan of seeing a work before investing. Don’t just invest, look at it first. I mean, you can take my work for it, but I’d rather you make your own choices.

Viking Women’s Clothing in the 9th and 10th Century

An actual Viking oval brooch from the 10th Century- The Met- Accession Number: 1982.323.1
An actual Viking oval brooch from the 10th Century- The Met- Accession Number: 1982.323.1

Today, we’re going talk about Viking women’s clothing, because I was working on a Viking paper doll. As always happens with me, I did a lot of research. This post could have been many more paragraphs, but what I wanted to do today was write a quick overview. The truth is that we actually don’t know what Viking women wore. Rather, scholars have examined various pieces of archaeological evidence and have come up with theories which, at times, completely contradict each other. In the this post, I tried to summarize the major scholars on the topic and explain what I learned while researching my Viking paper doll.

I maybe many things, but I am not a scholar on Viking dress.

Who were the Vikings?

The Vikings were a Germanic Norse seafaring culture which existed from about 700 ACE until about 1000 ACE. The main strongholds of Viking culture were Norway, Sweden and Denmark, but there where were Viking settlements in England, Ireland, Iceland and Greenland.  The Vikings also made contact as far as the Middle East, Russia, and China. Seriously, these dudes got around.  Their travels and expansion heavily influenced European medieval cultures.

Basic Overview

It is generally agreed that Viking women wore clothing; however, theories differ on what this clothing looked like.  Most agree that women wore a shirt of some kind underneath a dress suspended from two oval brooches. This dress is often called an apron-dress or smokkr. If you need to modern version, imagine a jumper. The apron-dress was held up by oval brooches, sometimes called dwarf brooches. Over top of the apron-dress women may have worn an apron in front, a pleated train in back, a caftan coat, a cloak or a shawl. That’s one of the areas  scholars disagree on. The exact meaning of the apron-dress and who was entitled to wear it is also a topic of debate. I’m not going to get into that discussion here. It should, however, be noted that this apron-dress does not appear to have been universally worn by women of all social statuses and ages.

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What Did Anglo-Saxon Women Wear in the 10th Century?

The internet can be pretty messy when it comes to historical costume and fashion research. When I started working on my 10th century Anglo-Saxon paper doll for one of my drawing winners, Gwendolyn, I found myself flummoxed.

disc-broochThe 10th century is a transitional period in Anglo-Saxon dress and not one extensively covered in most sources. I hope to have my Anglo-Saxon paper doll up tomorrow.

A full bibliography is at the bottom of the post, each plate is credited underneath it. Since I can’t seem to get my footnotes plugin to work, I’m going to use inline citations (which I hate, by the way, but what can you do?). There is only one book I was able to find that covers the 10th century with the sort of detail I wanted and that was Owen-Crocker’s Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. You’re going to see me mostly citing her. (Funny story, I found another book which covered the period briefly and the person they cited was… drum roll please… Owen-Crocker.)

So… Let’s do this thing!

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Regency Fashion History Resources… Books, Fashion Plates & More

Recently, I was asked by Fashion Doll Fridays had ended and when the Flora paper doll might get some stylish outfits. The answer is… probably never on the Flora outfit front, but Fashion Doll Fridays ended when I stopped doing such a regularly scheduled blog. The historical paper dolls are the hardest to draw, because of research and planning time.

I’m a librarian and I’m compulsive about research, plus I collect fashion history books. Sometimes this is a good thing… I have books I can use, but sometimes this means I get wrapped up frustrated when I can’t figure out what shoes looked like circa 1845. I don’t mind adapting, but I like to be pretty darn sure that what I’m drawing is correct, or as correct as I can be given constraints of time and/or skill. So, I don’t do as many historical paper doll sets as I would like.

However, it recently occurred to me that people who like paper dolls, usually also like historical clothing. Therefore, I thought I would post about some of the sources I used when I was drawing Flora outfits and then people could, armed with research guides (as we say in the Library biz), draw their own. And submit them to the Showcase and everyone would be happy… Especially Flora.

Regency, Federalist, Early Republic, Georgian, Empire, Napoleonic Era… The Terminology Confusion

So, here’s the thing… The era from the late 1790s until the mid-1820s has a lot of names. Depending on the country you are in and the exact year period, you could be dealing with Late Federalist (until 1801) or Early Republic (which either goes until 1865 or until 1815 depending on your source) in America, the Regency (1811-1820) or Late Georgian Era (1714 to 1830) in England. or the Directoire (1795–1799) or Empire Period (1800-1815) in France, or the Napoleonic era (19794-1814) in Italy. I tend to use the term Regency or the term Empire since most people associate the period with Jane Austen’s writings and she wrote in the Regency. I also have noticed that the term Empire has come to mean a raised waist on any dress and I don’t think it conjures to mind, for most people, the actual style I am referring too. I avoid the American terms as well, because America was never a leader in fashion trends in this period. There’s also something annoying about having to caveat every-time I talk about the era, so I have chosen to go with which term I think most people know the best.

Is this a gross over generalization? Well… yes. Does it bother me? Not really.

You should, however, know all of these terms because they do get used to specify countries of origin for different styles. In the 45 odd fashion books lying around my house, the terms I have seen used the most are Regency, Empire, Napoleonic and Federalist. Your mileage may vary.

Books about Empire and Regency Fashion, Specifically…

A lot of fashion books mention the early part of the 19th century (call it Empire, Regency or Federalist, see above), but not very many focus on it exclusively. These are three of my favorites that do.

Napoleon & the Empire of Fashion: 1795-1815 by Cristina Barreto (ISBN:978-8857206509) was written to accompany an Italian museum exhibit. I confess that I didn’t buy it for the essays… (some of which lose something in translation, I think), I bought it for the beautiful photos of fashion plates and clothing. Incredible photos. It’s pretty pricy on the secondary market right now, so I’d recommend using your local library.

Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen by Sarah-Jane Downing (ISBN: 978-0747807674) is a skinny little book, but gives a fantastic overview of the clothing and manners of the period. I use it for the sections on fabric and color.

Ackermann’s Costume Plates: Women’s Fashions in England, 1818-1828 edited by Stella Blum (ISBN: 978-0486236902) is one of the few books of plate reprints that isn’t grossly over priced. It’s easy to find on the secondary market and is mostly in black and white. It deals with the often ignored transition from Regency into Romantic. Each plate has some descriptive text which answer questions like… what is this dress supposed to be? Ackermann’s Repository was THE fashion journal of its era.

Primary Sources for Empire and Regency Fashion History

Primary sources might be museums with costume collections or books published in the actual time period or fashion plates. All of these sources can be combined to be excellent ways to discover what people wore in the early 19th century. The “trick” to finding materials is often to learn how to search museum holdings. Try words like “dress” or “gown” or even “ballgown” and then limit by years if you can. Some places have an advanced search function which allows you to put in a range of “creation” years into your search. Remember that every museum or library will organize their collections a little differently. You can try some of the different period terms mentioned above to see what you get as well.

Ackermann’s Repository Series 1 and Ackermann’s Repository Series 2 and 3 are digitized copies of the famous Ackermann’s Repository of Arts. It’s an incredible resource, but sometimes the plates aren’t included in the scans, as owners would sometimes cut them from the books or they would be cut by people to be sold separately. The descriptive texts are worth the price of admission however.

The mirror of the graces; or, The English lady’s costume, first published in 1811 was a etiquette book published by A Lady of Distinction. If you want to know what is proper to wear when, this book will tell you. You can buy a reprint, but it free online, so why bother?

Casey Fashion Plate Index consists fashion plates from LAPL and they have extensive Regency fashion plates holdings.
Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the largest costume collections in the world.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is another museum with one of the largest costume collections in the world.
Fashion Plate Collection from the University of Washington contains Regency and Empire fashion plates, along with many others, it should be noted.


There’s a lot of pretty shady fashion history on the internet, but these are a few sites I find both really useful and not poorly constructed or difficult to navigate. I have very low tolerance for sites that are hard to navigate.

Candice Hern’s Regency Fashion Section is an excellent resource from a well respected romance novelist. I confess openly that I haven’t read any of her novels, but her website is wonderful.
Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion for Shoes is an excellent guide to… well.. shoes.
Regency Fashion Glossary might have some horrible background images, but it makes reading the primary source materials above a real breeze.
Undressing your Heroine and Undressing your Hero are great, since women and men’s clothing of this period had a bunch of layers which are clearly described in these two excellent articles.
The Age of Nudity is an exhibit from Kent State University on regency dress. They also have an excellent costume collection that is fun to tool around in when you have a few minutes.

Twelve Museums with Searchable Online Costume Collections

This post could be subtitled: How to waste time looking at pretty dresses…

I used to have a Research Resources page, but it never got updates and I know from my stats was basically ignored, but I think tracking down this sort of stuff on the internet is fun (I am a librarian, what do you expect?), so here are a few museums which have strong costume collections that you can view online and that I use when I’m looking for research sources.

Two things people should know:

    1. The number of costume pieces which predate 1700 is limited, but not non-existent. I have tried to note when a museum has pre-18th century holdings.

    2. These are in the order which I bookmarked them and doesn’t resemble any actual ranking of quality.

Okay, here we go….

Contains something like 50,000 costumes and textile artifacts from the mid-18th century to the present, the Chicago History Museum Costume Collection is one of the largest in the world. Not everything is available on line yet, but those which are have beautiful quality photos and some include CT scans showing the interior construction of the garments (which is totally useless for paper dolling, but totally cool never the less.)

Browse a selection of objects from the Fashion Museum collection, or search the selection for a specific term using the search box or menus. The photo’s aren’t the best, but the Fashion Museum has some stuff that is hard to find elsewhere, including an excellent collection of regency dresses.

Searchable database which is wonderful, but the collection can also be browsed by costume themes such as clothes for work or sports and includes some unusual pieces like early archery dresses and information.

Okay, so I didn’t know that Indianapolis had such a stellar costume collection until a few months ago, but they really do have a stellar collection. The color photos are lovely, but there is some variation in quality. Like a lot of collections in the United States, the strength of the material comes from the 19th century.

Be sure to search the “online catalog” as well as check out the Costume Gallery. The Gallery contains only a few of the costume pieces owned by the Kent State Museum, the rest are in the catalog and the catalog contains several hundred thousand pieces, though not all are costume related. I don’t know why Kent State has such a strong collection, but they do and they are all lovely- especially their 18th century pieces.

The KCI Digital archives is a wonderful source organized by date, but not a large one. If you can find a copy, their book Fashion is incredible.

Searchable by date, type or region, the collection is massive. Unlike a lot of other collections, LACMA has a fair number of things that are pre-18th century.

The Met’s database covers the entire collection, including their costume materials. Recently, the Brooklyn City Museum gave the Met their costume collections and so there are some really outstanding pieces from that collection available. Like LACMA, the Met is large enough to have pieces that predate the 18th century.

Mostly 20th century, and mostly high fashion, the FIT’s collection is small enough to browse, but large enough to be diverse. I hope they add more to it in the coming years, because I’m sure this only scratches the surface of what the school actually owns.

Search the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to find beautifully photographed costume pieces from around the world. Their Chinese material is particularly strong, though their photos are a little small.

There is so much at the V&A that it is a little overwhelming. Not every photograph is useful, but the huge amount of material is well worth it. V&A has some of the best pre-18th century materials available.

The MFA owns pieces ranging from Middle Eastern rugs to African kente cloths to haute couture fashions to American stays. Their collection is sprawling to say the least, but incredibly useful.

This isn’t isn’t complete. I know there is material out there from other museums, but I wanted to showcase a few that I find particularly useful. Did I miss anyone’s favorites? Are there some I should know about? Do people find these sorts of things useful?