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Take a Look at the Fashions of the First Ladies with Government Documents

With the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibition coming up next week (accompanied, of course, by the opening celebration Gala on Monday), May means fashion. To add to this month’s conversation on fashion and its place in society, we are excited to showcase the delightful government publication The Dresses of the First Ladies of the White House by Margaret Brown Klapthor.

Published in 1952 by the Smithsonian Institution, this book contains images of dresses worn by First Ladies, from Martha Dandridge Curtis Washington to Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, lovingly displayed on a plaster figure with the appropriate accessories, coiffure and posture of the woman who wore them.

Detailed descriptions of each dress, as well as a portrait and brief biographical sketch of each woman, are also included. The gowns, which belong to a collection of the United States National Museum, “represent the changes in fashions in this country from the administration of President George Washington through the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt” as Klapthor says in her introduction.

Klapthor authored two supplements to this title, The Gown of Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1958) and The Gown of Mrs. John F. Kennedy (1963), to extend her survey of fashion through the Kennedy administration.

To view the gown of your favorite First Lady, visit the Government Information department at Ellis Library.

 

All images from Dresses of the First Ladies of the White House, by Margaret B. Klapthor, 1952.

Welcome to Mizzou, Chancellor Loftin!

We're excted to welcome our new Chancellor, R. Bowen Loftin, to Columbia.  He's well-known his fashionable bow ties, so in his honor, we're presenting a gallery of neckerchiefs, cravats, ties, and of course, bow ties, in historical illustrations from our collections.  More information about each illustration is below.

Dapper gentlemen from Allgemeine Modenzeitung, 1823Dapper bowtie-wearing gentlemen from Allgemeine Modenzeitung (1823, above; 1839, below)

Dapper gentlemen from Allgemeines Modenzeitung, 1839

Neckwear of the Bourbon Restoration, from Histoire du costume masculin francais (Paris, 1927).

Ties and cravats from the Bourbon Restoration (above) and the Second Empire (below) from Histoire du costume masculin français

Neckwear of the Second Empire, from Histoire du costume masculin francais (Paris, 1927).

Traditional dress of Lozere, from French Costumes by Lepaige-Medvey (London, 1939)

Traditional dress of Lozére (above) and Alsace (below) from French Costumes by Lepaige-Medvey (London, 1939)

Traditional dress of Alsace, from French Costumes by Lepaige-Medvey (London, 1939)

The great Gatsby himself (Limited Editions Club, 1980)

The frontispiece of an edition of The Great Gatsby featuring Gatsby himself. 

From the pages of Red Ryder Comics

Red Ryder Comics

…and Dick Tracy!

Dick Tracy

And finally, the very first cover of Showme, MU's long-running student humor and literary magazine.

The very fist issue of Showme Magazine, fall 1920

 

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli