Skip to Main Content

Apparel Design


Notable Fashion Collections in Libraries & Archives

Below you'll find a handful of archives and research libraries with substantial documentation on the fashion and costume industry.

Chicago History Museum Research Center: Notable collections include photograph collections of photographers George Coster and Stephen Deutch and Chicago milliner Benjamin B. Green-Field as well as the records of his business, Bes-Ben, Inc., and the records of the Fashion Group of Chicago.

Duke University Libraries: Notable collections include the records of the J. Walter Thompsen advertising agency and the papers of writer Barbara Lee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. Two of Duke University’s collection strengths, advertising history and women’s history, make this a valuable resource for fashion researchers.

Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Library: The FIDM Library provides a variety of resources and services focused on meeting the unique information and research needs of the FIDM community.

Fashion Institute of Technology Special Collections and Archives: The FIT Archives is comprised of over 300 fashion-related collections.

Kellen Design Archives, New School Archives and Special Collections: Includes the records of Parsons The New School for Design.

Kenan Research Center: Preserving primary source holdings for the study of Atlanta and the surrounding region.

Library of Congress: Fashion Industry, A Resource Guide: The Library of Congress' Fashion Industry resource guide offers research tips, as well as links to associations, industry groups, and more.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Thomas J. Watson Library Digital Collections: This collection contains ephemeral and archival collections from the Institute and its Irene Lewisohn Costume Institute Library, with subsets highlighting fashion plates, sketches, and exhibition binders.

Minnesota Historical Society: Notable collections include the records of menswear designer and manufacturer Munsingwear, the Charles Chamblis photograph collection documenting the Twin Cities African American community, and numerous personal and family papers providing insight into costume and dress in Minnesota.

New York Public Library Archives and Manuscripts Division: The Archives division holds the records of the Fashion Group International, designer Patrick Kelly, and fashion editor Diana Vreeland, as well as less well-known fashion designers, such as Harlem-based Cleo Sims.

New York Public Library: Costume & Fashion History: A Guide to Resources: This website from the NYPL offers tips on using the library's catalog, an extensive list of reference tools, and links to visual resources.