October 15, 2021 – January 31, 2022
Level T/Human Ecology Building
CURATED BY: Emily Hayflick Ph.D. ’25 and Lynda May Xepoleas Ph.D. ‘23
FACULTY ADVISOR: Dr. Denise Nicole Green
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. Leading up to the onset of World War II, home economists at U.S. institutions and colleges began to rethink their course offerings in order to cultivate “international friendships” between their students and international communities. At Cornell, Professor Beulah Blackmore took this approach by educating students about the fashions of diverse peoples, places, and cultures. In 1936, she traveled abroad in search of dress- and textile-related artifacts that she could then use in her lectures on fashion history and design. After returning from this trip to Cornell’s campus, Blackmore continued the work of internationalizing fashion curricula through collaboration with students. She relied upon the knowledge and expertise of several international students, and with them, shared the collection through live fashion showcases and museum exhibitions. While Blackmore’s efforts to build what would become the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection (CF+TC) are well-documented, the contributions of students with whom she worked are buried within archival files. This exhibition dives deep into the CF+TC and archival records held by the Division of Rare and Manuscripts Collection in Cornell University Library to tell the stories of international students who contributed to the development, dissemination, and animation of Cornell’s Fashion + Textile Collection, formally known as the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, from 1936 to 1958.
LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogoho:no (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogoho:no are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York State, and the United States of America.
The Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection and the curators of this exhibition acknowledge the painful history of Gayogoho:no dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogoho:no people, past and present, to these lands and waters. Furthermore, we acknowledge that Cornell University obtained 977,909 acres of expropriated Indigenous land through the Morrill Act of 1862. Please refer to the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program's Indigenous Dispossession Project Blog to learn more.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thank you to Dr. Denise Green, Helen McIallen, Catherine Kueffer Blumenkamp, Eisha Neely, Eileen Keating, Caitlin Holton, Charles V. Beach Jr., Christianne White, Ally Park, Caitlyn Park, Cardinal Robinson, Meghna Shroff, and Apurva Pandey for their insight, support, and assistance throughout the curation of this exhibition.
CONTRIBUTING INSTITUTIONS: Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection, Cornell Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections
*In an effort to honor and acknowledge Indigenous sovereignty, our use of the term "international students" includes Native American and Native Hawaiian students as well.