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Linderman Library Exhibit: Dressing for Success Across Time and Function

Jun 28, 2014
All Day Event

On-Campus - Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18015

Lois F. Black

LTS Special Collections is pleased to announce its spring exhibit, "Dressing for Success across Time and Function." Opening January 16, 2014, the exhibit will be on display in the Linderman Library main reading room, the Cafe Gallery, and the Bayer Galleria through June.

Costumes have been part of the fabric of humankind for centuries, and have long aided in our understanding of cultures and customs. While commonly worn for warmth or protection, they can also demonstrate status or rank. The design, material, and overall quality of garments provide insight into the manner in which the wearer lived, his or her socioeconomic position, or interests.

In addition to their study of surviving examples of clothing and accessories, costume historians also utilize a number of other sources of information about designs, fabric, and function. These sources include paintings, sketches, and printed works. Beyond those images intended specifically to feature fashion or cultural identity, stand figures serving as witnesses to history who may also aid in the study of fashion. Illustrations depicting laborers, academics, scientists, and a myriad of other professions, provide insight into dress spanning several centuries.

On display in Linderman are atlases, travel guides, literary and scientific works, and technical manuals that feature workers, scientists, and others engaged in the functions of daily life. Atlases such as Ortelius's Theatrum orbis terrarum provide a glimpse into fashions of the period, as illustrations of well-dressed explorers appear in doublets and hose. Laborers in diverse fields, ranging from mining to medicine, recognized the need for specialized clothing, as seen in Agricola's De Re Metallica. Often protective in nature, clothing has been fabricated from animal hides, metal, and even ceramic.

This selection of books drawn from Lehigh's collections was assembled to encourage visitors to look closely at images to see what they might tell us about styles, materials, and function of garments. Printed works on virtually any subject, be it science, engineering, or literature, may serve as a primary source for research into costume history.

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