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The Collection

The Fashion Archives' 15,000-item collection, comprised mostly of donations, consists of clothing and accessories worn by men, women and children, dating from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Primarily focused on middle- and working-class Americans, clothing from all walks of life is represented in the collection. Visitors to the Fashion Archives can see beaded Charleston dresses from the 1920s, Victorian corsets and Chinese binding shoes. The Fashion Archives takes pride in its pieces from designers such as Chanel, Scaasi, Cashin and Trigere.

Special collections are housed within the Fashion Archives:

  1. The Pennsylvania Collection: This collection contains examples of clothing manufactured in Pennsylvania and related to the history of its garment industry.
  2. The Shippensburg University Collection: Featured in this collection are pieces related to the people and history of the university, including alumni and faculty.
  3. The Reference Collection: The Fashion Archives houses an extensive reference library of fashion-related publications containing hundreds of volumes. The holdings are accessible via the Ezra Lehman Memorial Library online catalog database (items will be listed in the search results as Library Location: Fashion Archives -- Harley Hall Basement.) Researchers may consult the texts during regular operating hours. As it is a special collection, the materials are non-circulating.
  4. The Ephemera Collection: The Fashion Archives has large holdings of original catalogs, fashion magazines, fashion plates and related ephemera dating back to the 1840s for those wishing to research costume-related topics in original source material.

Collecting Policy

Space limitations have compelled the Fashion Archives to freeze large-scale acquisitions on a temporary basis. However, particularly select items can still be housed. Potential donors should contact the Fashion Archives for more information:

Email: fasharch@ship.edu
Phone: (717) 477-1239

Please note that due to conservation and storage issues, the Fashion Archives cannot accept any natural furs.

Woman's trousered habit of dark charcoal gray wool woven with a white warp, ca. 1909-1910. Wide flared skirts are backed with rubberized cotton. (S2010-17-036 Fox)