Since 2007, Karin J. Bohleke has served as the director of the Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University and also teaches in the Applied History Master’s Degree program. She holds a Ph.D. in French language and literature from Yale University, and serves as an assistant adjunct professor of French at Shippensburg.
An avid seamstress, embroiderer, and lace-maker since childhood, she augmented her studies of vintage clothing styles by creating highly accurate reproduction clothing when introduced to vintage social dancing by her future husband. They also teach Civil War and historic social dancing, proctor balls, and lecture and perform. Together they collect vintage clothing, fashion magazines in French and English, cased images, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, and dance-related paper ephemera and use their resources to teach others about American material culture.
Karin resides near Gettysburg, PA, and continues to pursue her interests in historic fashions, needle arts, languages, social dance, and nineteenth-century women’s travel accounts. She is also a member of the Costume Society of America. Karin has been a volunteer at the Adams County Historical Society and the Gettysburg National Military Park Archives and Museum, where she assisted in the identification and dating of nineteenth-century photographs of women and evaluated and dated the costume collections. Her publication of a rare Civil War patriotic apron resulted in an exhibit and now on permanent display at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. She has presented her continuing research at annual symposia of the Costume Society of America as well as published for Dress, Costume, The Daguerreian Annual, American Periodicals, Civil War Historian and The Citizens’ Companion.
Her research interests focus on the nineteenth century and include fashion, early photography, pre-Tutankhamun Egyptomania fashions for women, the dissemination of French fashions in the United States, and women’s travel accounts of journeys to Egypt. Her current research project involves the study of clothing in nineteenth-century photos of African Americans, both enslaved and free.
Dr. Bohleke is an engaging and popular speaker and lectures on a wide variety of topics. She welcomes future speaking opportunities.
“The Sterb-Spiegel: A Fashionable Eighteenth-Century Dance of Death.” Costume 52:2 (September 2018): 188-216.
“Identifying Stages of Grief in Nineteenth-Century Images.” The Daguerreian Annual (2015): 166-191. Available at Academia.edu.
“It Was Not Supposed To Turn Out This Way: Sewing and Fitting Errors as Indicators of Social Class.” The Daguerreian Annual (2015): 92-109. Available at Academia.edu.
“The Mourning After: Grieving in Style in the Nineteenth Century.” MdHS News (Summer 2015): 6-9.
“Put on your Polka; It’s Cold Outside.” Daguerreian Annual (2014): 238-251. Available at Academia.edu.
“Assimilation, Amalgamation and Defiance: The `Admirable Figure of the Negro’ and African American Dress in Daguerreotypes and Early Photographs.” Daguerreian Annual (2014): 10-33. Available at Academia.edu.
“Mummies are Called Upon to Contribute to Fashion: Pre-Tutankhamun Egyptian Revivalism in Dress.”
Dress vol. 40, no. 2 (2014): 95-115.
“My Grandmother’s Brooch.” The Daguerreian Annual (2013): 92-97. Available at Academia.edu.
“`Une dame européenne qui voyage en homme:” Ida Saint-Elme and Dress Across Borders,
Cultures and Religion.” Shippensburg Journal of Modern Languages. Issue 2 (Fall 2011): 7-14.
“Nile Style: Nineteenth-Century Women Travelers in Egypt and the Dilemma of Dress, 1815-1875.”
Dress 36 (2010): 63-86.
“Americanizing French Fashion Plates: Godey’s and Peterson’s Cultural and Socio-Economic
Translation of Les Modes Parisiennes.” American Periodicals 20:2 (2010): 120-155.
“Mary Ellen’s Apron; or, Patriotism to the Fore,” Civil War Historian 1:3 (May/June 2005): 52-62. Available at Academia.edu.
“Fashioning the Reformation: Dress, Modernity, and the Pamphlet Wars, 1520-1540” to be presented with Annika Dowd at the Sixteenth-Century Studies conference in Albuquerque, NM, November 1-4, 2018.
“Dress, Modernity, and the Printing Press: Interpreting Fashion in Early Sixteenth-Century Reformation Pamphlets” presented with Annika Dowd at Costume Across the Curriculum and into the Community joint regional symposium sponsored by Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the Costume Society of America, Shippensburg, PA, October 11-13, 2018.
“The Past as it Seamed”: Three Centuries of Women in the Fashion Business—Dorothy Speckhardt, Rose Bertin, and Salome Myers Stewart” presented with Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Jane Malcolm-Davies, Christina Westenberger, and Janea Whitacre at Making Connections: Manufacturing Knowledge through Dress Studies symposium sponsored by the Costume Society of America, Colonial Williamsburg, VA, March 12-17, 2018.
“Conserving and Recreating the Costumes of Jeannie Gourlay: The Milkmaid in Our American Cousin, Ford’s Theatre, April 14, 1865.” Presented with Colleen Callahan at For the Love of Costume annual symposium of the Southeastern Region of the Costume Society of America, Winchester, VA, September 18-October 31, 2017.
“Caring for your Family Heirloom Textiles” Renfrew Museum, Waynesboro, PA, May 23, 2017.
“The Sterb-Spiegel: A Fashionable Eighteenth-Century Dance of Death” Presented at The Full Cleveland: Dress as Communication, Self-Expression and Identity symposium sponsored by the Costume Society of America, Cleveland, OH, May 24-29, 2016.
“Clothed and in Their Own Form: African American Women and Fashionable Dress in Early Photographs” Presented at Transnational Perspectives on Immigration/Emigration in Literature, Linguistics, Culture, Education and Sciences: Sixth Biennial Modern Languages Conference at Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA, April 30-May 1, 2016.
“Foreign Origins: African-American Women and Contemporary Fashions in Early Photographs” Presented at “Fabricating Truths: African-American Women and Clothing in the Nineteenth Century” panel at Unsettling conference sponsored by C19: The Society for Nineteenth-Century Americanists, State College, PA, March 17-20, 2016.
“The Mourning After: Grieving in Style in the Victorian Era,” Francis Scott Key Lecture Series at the Maryland Historical Society on Thursday, November 5, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. Address: 201 W. Monument St., Baltimore, MD 21201-4674. For information call (410) 685-3750.
“An 1820s Farmer’s Coat: A Conservation Challenge and a Tool for Interpretation.” Presentation at Doing & Telling: A Living History Toolbox conference sponsored by ALHFAM (The Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums), Colonial Williamsburg, VA, June 19-24, 2015.
“The Crowning Touch: The Interplay of Hair Styles and Head Fashions in the Nineteenth Century.”
Lecture at A Head for Fashion: Hair, Wigs, and Cosmetics, 1600-1900 conference sponsored by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Colonial Williamsburg, VA, November 13-15, 2014.
“The Crowning Touch: Fashioning Hair from Wool Roving.” Care of Collections Workshop at
Reflecting Forward: Forty Years of CSA Costume Society of America National Symposium, Baltimore, MA, May 28, 2014.
“Coat Tales: Nineteenth-Century Menswear Conservation Project.” Co-presenters A. Newbold
Richardson and Colleen Callahan. Juried research exhibit at Reflecting Forward: Forty Years of CSA Costume Society of America National Symposium, Baltimore, MA, May 28-31, 2014.
“The Quintessential Flapper from Head to Toe,” Featured lecturer at the Dauphin County
Historical Society (Harrisburg, PA), March 10, 2013.
“Displaying our Past.” Co-taught all-day workshop costume and textile display on a budget and
how to integrate them into exhibit plans in museums and historical societies of all sizes. Professional pre-conference workshop of the Costume Society of America National Symposium, Atlanta, GA, May 30, 2012.
“A Matter of Extreme Awkwardness and Perplexity:” The Mutual Interplay of Dance Fashions and Fashionable Dances in the Nineteenth Century. Juried oral paper at Boston Uncommon: Revolution and Evolution in Dress Costume Society of America National Symposium, Boston, MA, June 9-12, 2011.
“`When I was as a Man:’ Ida Saint-Elme’s Egyptian Journey (1829-1830) and the Politics
of Dress.” Juried oral paper at Connecting Threads of History, Cultures and Creativity Costume Society of America Southeastern Region Symposium, Asheville, North Carolina, September 9-12, 2011.
“Mummies are Now Called Upon to Contribute to Fashion: or; Hints Respecting Dress from the
Ancient Egyptians in the Nineteenth Century,” Juried oral paper at Crossing Boundaries, Costume Society of America Annual Symposium, Phoenix, Arizona, May 27-30, 2009.
Chair, Small College and University Care Grant, Costume Society of America, 2011-2018.
Peer Reviewer, Dress: The Journal of the Costume Society of America, 2012.
Peer Reviewer, Nineteenth-Century Contexts (University of Notre Dame), 2013.