The Art of Gazette du Bon Ton
In 1912 Lucien Vogel started a new magazine dedicated to presenting the fashions of the most prominent Parisian design houses in the most luxurious way possible - la Gazette du Bon Ton. By 1925 he was running Condé Nast's VOGUE Paris.
In between, a stable of brilliant young artists filled the pages of Gazette du Bon Ton with stylish pochoir prints which would help propel Art Deco to the forefront of the design world. Together, these publishers, painters, and craftsmen would shape fashion publishing for decades to come.
Projects from the Summer Graduate Fellowship in Digital Humanities
Each summer Cornell's Olin Library offers a fellowship program focused on preparing humanists with digital expertise enhancing their abilities to analyze information and engage new audiences in their research. As a result of this fellowship, the fellows generate digitally-based projects using techniques developed throughout the summer fellowship. This exhibition highlights a selection of the projects from the previous four summers.
This exhibit focuses on the role played by two major American clothing workers’ unions, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) in defending the standards of living and the job security of their members through the use of the union label and the promotion of the fashion industry in collaboration with prominent American designers. Sewn into every union-made garment, the label signaled to consumers that the goods they were buying were produced by American workers who enjoyed “fair labor standards and the American way of life.”
Films, Mills, and Poets: Mid-Century Bombay was an exhibit that was shown at the Carl A. Kroch Library's Asia Collections between September and November 2017, in conjunction with 'The Archive and the City of Bombay', a symposium held September 15. This online version highlights the major areas of the physical exhibit, while also showing a selection of the objects from the collection that were on display.
Go Figure explores perceptions and representations of Euro-American beauty ideals across the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Through outerwear and undergarments, this historical costume exhibition shows how women’s bodies have been manipulated and shaped to fit fashionable silhouettes at different moments in time. From corsetry and girdles to diet and exercise, shaping the human body is critical to fashion change and illustrates the fluctuating and dynamic nature of socio-cultural conceptions of “beauty.”
An Old Industry Takes New Root
Cider - the alcoholic or "hard" variety - was long the favorite drink of the United States, but a variety of factors relegated it to the background for many years. Now, this age-old beverage has returned to the forefront with New York and Cornell University leading the charge.
An eclectic exhibition, indeed. It grew out of a simple and (intentionally) vague prompt: texture.
What resulted was a group of students and staff members selecting some of the most visually stunning and beloved items hidden in the corners of our costume and textile collection. TEXTURE is about how fashion and textile objects can ask questions beyond their selvedges and seams.
Ithaca & Silent Film Style
The Biggest Little Fashion City explored Ithaca’s silent film history through the lens of costume, style, and fashion by chronicling the influence of the actors and actresses who lived and worked in Ithaca during the heyday of film production. Secondly, the exhibit highlighted the ways in which the new medium of moving pictures more broadly transformed fashion trends from the 1910s through the late 1920s.
Early Women in Botanical Illustration
Prior to the 20th century, one of the few paths to scientific relevance for women was the pursuit of botany; a number of women achieved success and recognition through illustrating scientific works on plant life with accuracy, skill, and beauty.
This exhibit celebrates the art and achievements of several woman illustrators of the 19th and early 20th centuries whose works are held by Albert R. Mann Library.
WOMEN EMPOWERED: Fashions from the Frontline chronicles how women have strategically and persistently used fashion to empower and uplift. From activists to politicians, academics to servicewomen, artists to athletes, entertainers and everyday unsung heroes, WOMEN EMPOWERED uses fashion to tell the stories of women on the frontlines. The exhibit is therefore organized according to physical spaces--The Street, The Government, The Stage, The Sports Arena, The Academy--where fashion transforms, at times transgresses, and ultimately empowers.
The Voyage and Revelations of HMS Challenger
Saturday, 21 December, 1872
H.M.S. Challenger departed Portsmouth, England to begin the great scientific voyage of her age. Over the next three and a half years Challenger and her crew would travel over 68,000 nautical miles, circumnavigate the globe, collect enough data to fill 50 volumes of reports that took 20 years to compile, and begin the modern science of oceanography. At a cost of over £200,000 – £10 million, in modern currency – the expedition was not only the most audacious undertaking of Victorian exploration but also the first voyage of “big science”.
Chocolate has been described as being more than a food, less than a drug. This description points to the singular position this wildly popular confection plays in our lives. Popular to the tune of $74 billion annually, chocolate begins as a tiny blossom on a small tropical tree. Only three out of a thousand of these will produce the cacao pods that after a labor intensive and lengthy journey, with several chemically and technically complex steps along the way, will end up in your hand as a candy bar.
Since they were first domesticated, nearly 10,000 years ago, in South and Southeast Asia, chickens have accompanied human beings everywhere on the planet. When the early European settlers arrived in the Americas, they unloaded crates of chickens - no doubt squawking in protest - from their crowded, stinking ships. For the next several hundred years, chickens chased bugs and scratched in the dust in farmyards and backyards all over the country.
This exhibit features books from the Phillips Beekeeping Collection, a testament to the hard work and vision of one man, the dedication of hundreds of beekeepers and the labor of millions of bees. In 1925, Everett Franklin Phillips, the recently hired professor of apiculture at Cornell, began to act on his desire to create a great central collection of beekeeping literature, an "accessible storehouse of our knowledge of bees and beekeeping."
A peek at select treasures from the collection of Cornell entomologist John G. Franclemont introduces the early history of a fascinating life science.
FASHION AND FEATHERS explores the complex and nebulous space between inspiration and exploitation. Throughout the exhibition, we have endeavored to identify as many birds as possible, hypothesizing about abstracted representations of birds and identifying actual feathers. We invite you to “go birding” in this exhibition. Look closely at each item, identify birds, and in doing so, reflect upon the beauty and tragedy of fashion and feathers.
Black Excellence: Fashion that Prevails showcases the work of Black style tastemakers, influencers, and designers. The exhibition is organized thematically around the influences of African heritage, elegance, entertainment, and education. Curator Sian Brown MA ‘20 interviewed Black fashion designers in North America about their experiences in the industry, including their struggles, triumphs, and joys. Her research findings are conveyed through Black Excellence, which explores fashion design as a site where Black culture, dress, and identity are negotiated and produced.
The Language of Flowers in Victorian Europe
Though an ancient practice, attaching meanings to flowers probably reached the zenith of its expression in the books of the mid-nineteenth century printed in England, France, and the United States. What had started as simply applying connotations – a feeling, a broad concept – had, by Queen Victoria’s reign blossomed into a complex system of messaging that could convey a surprising amount of information in the arrangement of a bouquet.
The 10,000-item Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection holds many hidden treasures from several centuries of fashion. An exhibit, “Chinese Traditional Dress and Its Influence (1840-1960),” originally put some of its best Chinese pieces on display in the Elizabeth Schmeck Brown Gallery of the Human Ecology Building in 2013. Now the gallery will be open for viewing digitally, as well.
Earth Thinking 1970 to Tomorrow
Whole Earth Catalog presented a do-it-yourself approach to environmentalism against a backdrop of widespread pollution in the United States. At the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, that message of cooperation and education about environmental issues resonates stronger than ever.
Cornell's trees are at the core of the beauty of the university's campus, but of course they are also so much more. In honor of our woody flora, this exhibit pairs data on the ecological and economic value of specific campus trees with lovely illustrations from the Library’s rare and distinctive collections in the historical life sciences.
A Passion for Spiders
Spiders are diverse, fascinating and surprisingly useful to humans. This virtual version of a Mann Gallery exhibit created in collaboration with Dr. Linda S. Rayor (Entomology) challenges your preconceived notions, and encourages you to find some love for this much maligned species.
Understanding the Middle East through Geologic Movement
This exhibit features maps donated by Professor Muawia Barazangi, emeritus professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The maps and images explore how plate tectonics created, and shaped the geography of the Middle East, and how that geologic history resulted in the region’s status as both an oil & gas rich region, and an epicenter of natural disasters.
HIST 2391 - From Terra Incognita to Territories of Nation-States
History 2391 grew out of a desire to find a new way to expose students to the rich and diverse visual record of Early American history. The seminar engages the rich cartographic record of colonial North America via an in-depth analysis of two dozen iconic maps. Students assessed human representations of space across cultural boundaries, and explored change over time in the mapmaking practices of indigenous peoples and various European intruders.
visual narratives in Japanese pop culture
A curated tour through the President Andrew Dickson White Library, the historic heart of Cornell's first library, and iconic university landmark. This online exhibition explores the architecture, history, and people associated with the A. D. White Library.
From May to September 2018, Library users were invited to record their thoughts on vintage typewriters set up in Olin and Uris libraries. Inspired by Notes from a Public Typewriter, the typewriters allowed Cornellians to connect with each other and the past. This exhibit spotlights the machines and some of the messages left by people who were experiencing manual typing for the first time, and others who were reconnecting with a bygone technology and with it, long-forgotten memories.
Gender, Race, and Expertise
In her 1981 essay, “The Legacies of Slavery: Standards for a New Womanhood,” Angela Y. Davis explained that the 19th century cults of true womanhood and domesticity expressed an ideal of femininity that did not extend to Black women and enshrined whiteness at the beginning of movements for women’s independence. This exhibit asks how gender, race, and expertise intersect in the new profession of home economics by focusing on how this discipline re-fashioned women’s bodies around the year 1916.
Wrap, Protect, Cover, Perform
GREEN ARMOR is a fashion exhibition that explores and celebrates the power of the color green as a form of armor throughout fashion history. Green has a longstanding relationship with the human body: it signals illness but also alerts the body when it is safe to “go,” enhanced today by our collective Cornell COVID-19 dashboard that reminds us green is the “new normal.” We represent different facets of green armor through the following themes: The Troupers, The Emissaries, The Dancers, The Viewers and The Playwrights (In Three Acts).
In this exhibition we use trash as a lens to rethink the social constructions of waste, marginalization, and consumption and how we might reclaim these stories through repair, preservation, and re-narrativization. Trash is not just something produced by individuals that is automatically gross, offensive, disgusting or harmful. It’s all part of a wider sociocultural, political, ecological, and economic system.
This fashion exhibition critically examines the collecting practices of Professor Beulah Blackmore and Mrs. Ruth Sharp who contributed to the development of two ethnological dress collections on Cornell’s campus: the "Ethnic Collection" within the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection and the "Hmong Clothing and Textile Collection" within the Department of Anthropology Collections.
The Journey Begins
This exhibition is a journey to discover and explore science fiction and its fashion. Through a comprehensive look at the genre of science fiction we have curated an exhibition that dives into the many realms of this tiered genre. With a little perseverance, patience, and creativity, three student curators came together to deliver a fashion exhibition like no other. Prepare to discover multiple aspects of fashion's relationship with science fiction, from your favorite superheroes to popular culture references.
Fashion and Function in Circus Performance
The relationship between circus and fashion is one of ebb and flow, inspiration and aspiration: the iconic imagery of circus dress symbolism has long influenced design houses and couture displays, providing visual references that translate from the ring to the runway. This exhibition explores the circus as fashion inspiration by highlighting examples of past and present performers, designed spaces, and the symbolism of circus as fantasy. Step right up! The show is about to begin.
The Legacies of American Swimwear
This digital fashion exhibition considers the nuanced social, cultural, and economic implications of swimsuits throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Bathing costumes from the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection are put in conversation with historical advertisements, photos, and articles that provide context. The exhibit challenges us to think about how the body, garment production, leisure, gender norms, and intersectionality are both concealed and revealed through swimwear.
Fashion in Transit explores the relationship between what we wear and how we move. Organized according to forms of fashioned moment - swimming, sliding, walking, riding, rolling, flying, and orbiting - this exhibit illustrates the ways that garments and accessories have long been influenced by various modes of transportation, and in some cases, have been the very element that enabled those activities to take place.
This exhibit celebrates the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Ithaca in October, 2007
Beginning with his hire in 1957, Giok Po Oey (1922-2010) worked tirelessly to build a world-class library collection of publications from and about Southeast Asia. Giok Po worked closely with the founders of Cornell’s Southeast Asia Program to build up this magnificent treasure known around the world as the John M. Echols Collection on Southeast Asia.
A Curatorial Styling Exhibition on the Evolution of the Preppy Style and its Relevance in 2021
The Prep is a curatorial styling exhibit that analyses the trajectory of the preppy style from its origins to modern day. In exploring the stylistic and lifestyle characteristics that constitute being a prep, the history of how the subculture came to be, and how media representations have influenced the style and its demographic over time, the exhibit touches upon themes of nostalgia, class, inclusivity, and uniformity.
Womenswear During World War II
How did global warfare affect women's fashion in the United States during WWII? In this exhibit, we explore women's changing roles during wartime through the clothing they wore. You'll find examples of what women wore in the military, nurse corps, factories, and on the homefront. "Clothing Amidst Conflict" reveals women's undeniable commitment to style during the war.
Half a century ago, life in John M. Olin Library looked very different — but the building itself is a long-standing symbol for generations of Cornellians. The exhibition on view in Olin and Uris libraries traces Olin’s history through photographs, drawings and artifacts. Beginning with Boardman Hall, the building that preceded Olin on the south side of the Arts Quad, it explores the state of Cornell’s libraries in the 1950s, which led to the building of one of the country’s largest university research libraries.
The University Library building, later renamed Uris Library, opened on October 7, 1891, precisely twenty-three years after classes began at Cornell University. The architect, William Henry Miller, was Cornell’s first student of architecture, remembered through his many buildings on campus and portrait, which hangs in the Uris Library lobby. In addition to the library, with its iconic tower, he designed Barnes Hall, Stimson Hall, Boardman Hall, and Risley Hall, two fraternities, the A. D. White House, the Central Avenue Bridge, and Eddy Gate.
Julie Otsuka’s novel, When the Emperor was Divine, was the 2013 New Student Reading Project book, read by all new Cornell undergraduates. The text imagines the historical experience of internment for Japanese Americans through the eyes of one representative, but unnamed, family.
Through photographs, documents, maps, and artwork, our exhibition examines the story through the perspective of Ostuka’s characters—“the woman,” “the girl,” “the boy,” and “the father”— each of whom acts as narrator.
Students in the seminar – Dress, Cloth and Identity in Africa and the Diaspora (HIST 2452) – have spent this semester exploring the different histories that can be traced through an analysis of how textiles are produced, traded, used and worn. The items in this exhibit provide just a small sample of the multiple histories woven into these fabrics as they journeyed from agricultural products, to finished cloths and designer dresswear.
Ready for a New Generation!
In 1982, Uris Library opened a new addition carved out of Libe Slope, featuring a panoramic window with glorious western views and very comfortable seating. It soon became known as the cocktail lounge, a popular spot for late-night studying and the occasional nap. In 2019, the well-loved room underwent a renovation to renew furnishings and equipment, and make it more accessible. This exhibition focuses on the design and renovation process.
Engaging Communities, Empowering Students: Fostering Cross-Cultural Connections through Dress, 1936-1958 explores the different ways international students helped to foster cross-cultural understandings of dress on Cornell’s campus in the mid-twentieth century.
February 17-June 12, 2023
This two-part exhibit at the Clarke Africana Library celebrates the community-building tradition of African American quilt-making.
Organized by Cornell University Library, Tompkins County Public Library, and the Community Quilting Resource Center, the Quilting Project honors Morrison’s legacy and her deep connection to quilt-making. In her novel Beloved, for example, she used an heirloom quilt as a storytelling device to connect the different histories of its characters. And, in exploring the African American diaspora experience throughout her work, Morrison wove complex narratives from a patchwork of voices across time and space.
“Toni Morrison is one of the preeminent chroniclers of the African American experience and, much like quilt-making, she created beautiful, useful, and communal art out of the multiplicity and everyday experiences of her characters,” said project co-organizer Camille Andrews, emerging literacies librarian at Mann Library of Cornell University Library. “We hope that our community today, in these difficult times, will find inspiration in her works and legacy as they participate in the quilting project.”
The Toni Morrison Quilting Project invited to participate remotely by making and donating quilt blocks and small quilts. Once collected, the quilt squares and small quilts will be donated to different local organizations and locations including the Toni Morrison residence hall, currently under construction on Cornell’s North Campus.
Morrison earned her master’s degree in American literature in 1955 from Cornell, and she received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She died in 2019.
“It is amazing that Toni Morrison lived in our community and that her education here in Ithaca contributed to her extraordinary writing,” said Brigid Hubberman—CEO of the nonprofit Children’s Reading Connection and a quiltmaker spearheading the development of the Community Quilting Resource Center—who is helping to drum up awareness about the quilting project. “It is wonderful to have an opportunity for the Ithaca and Tompkins County community to come together with quiltmakers at Cornell to shine light on the beauty of Morrison’s legacy, stitching the most powerful words, wonder, and wisdom from her stories.”
NIkolai Vavilov and the Suppression of Science in the Modern Era
NIkolai Ivanovich Vavilov was one of the most brilliant geneticists of the 20th century - yet his life ended in a Soviet prison, jailed for his ideas.
Featuring the Research of Circus in Fashion and Costume through Exhibitions
Circus Fashion is developed as a repository of exhibitions and resources on circus costume. Utilizing items from various resources across campus including the Circus Publicity Collection in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections and the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection, along with artifacts loaned by circus professionals and institutions, the Circus Fashion site elevates the study of circus costume into retrievable, publicly accessible information through engaged and creative scholarship.