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Costume and Dress: Home

Costume skills courses include costume construction and fitting, fabric painting and fabric dyeing.

Finding Costume Materials

There are a variety of resources for costume information. The library has many illustrated books on costume, both with respect to the history of costume and also theater costume.  The tabs in this guide will provide some selected resources on a variety of costume related topics, and also suggest how you can search to find additional materials.

1950 Dress from the Smithsonian Institution

A physician's wife in Los Angeles, purchased this 3-piece dress in Beverly Hils for a trip to Las Vegas. This picture is a "secondary source", the dress itself is a "primary source".

(Image from the Costume Collection Website at the Smintisonian National Museum of American History)

Where Do I Start?

The first place to start is usually the main search box at the Tomlinson Library Home Page. From the search box, you can use the "Books, eBooks, Media, Etc." default tab to look for books and DVDs, or, the "Articles" tab to find magazine articles about a particular topic.  If you want to find out if we have a particular magazine such as "Life Magazine" use the "Journal Titles" search tab.

Primary, Seconcary, Tertiary Resources

As you consider what resources you need, keep in mind the three major types.

Primary sources are the actual garments themselves.  An actual Victorian blouse would be a primary source.

Secondary sources are representations of a garment such as a photograph or drawing of that blouse, or perhaps a drawing on an ancient Greek vase.

Tertiary sources are representations of a secondary source, such as a drawing from a painting or sculpture, or perhaps a garment designed from secondary source. 

Theatrical costumes are usually based upon historical fashion, but are not true replicas. 

There's No Place Like Home

Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers

These Ruby Slippers were worn by Dorothy Gale,  in the 1939 MGM film, "Wizard of Oz". The slippers are one of the most asked about artifacts at the Smithsonian and are displayed in the National Museum of American History.

(Image from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Website)

Reference Librarian

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Jamie Walker
John U. Tomlinson Library, L226

Library Chat Box

At any time during your research if you need help, you can ask a professional librarian for help while you are online.  Just use the chat box above. This chat box is also on every page of this guide, and also the library home page.  You can also check out the "Need Help?" tab above for other ways to contact us for help.