Primary Sources Resource List

This list is certainly not complete—that’s impossible!—but it should provide you with starting points and ideas to launch your research.

In-person sources

Books, magazines, fashion plates, extant examples

To view:

Major museums (see on-line sources for suggestions)
Local museum exhibits
Local museum collections (contact and request to view)
Historical societies (ditto)
University libraries
Local libraries using inter-library loan (ask your librarian!)

To purchase:

Facebook groups (see on-line sources for suggestions)
Private dealers
Major auction houses (see on-line sources for suggestions)
Local auction houses
Antique stores, antique malls
Used bookstores
Estate sales, flea markets (you never know what you’ll find!)

On-line sources

Period books and magazines


Google Books
Hathi Trust
University of Düsseldorf


Accessible Archives

Compilations of links to period books and magazines

Jessamyn’s Civil War-era fashion publication link list
Beth Chamberlain’s mid-century fashion publication Zotero database
Beth Chamberlain’s Mostly Pointless Drivel blog historical knitting publication link list

Fashion plates, drawings, paintings, and photographs

Los Angeles Public Library Casey Fashion Plates Collection
Library of Congress
Bartos Collection

Extant examples

Augusta Auctions
Charles A. Whitaker Auction Co.
Kerry Taylor Auctions

Museums with significant costume collections:

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum
Kent State University
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Met Museum
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Britain’s National Trust
Victoria & Albert Museum
…and too many more to count!

Facebook groups that share/sell unique extants and images:

Civilian Civil War Closet
Portraying Men of the mid-19th century
Victorian-70s Antique & Vintage Clothing Dating Help

Compiled links to extant examples

All the Pretty Dresses blog of images and info on extant clothing in private collections
Démodé’s link list of museums with digital collections of extant clothing
Anna Worden Bauersmith’s Pinterest pages, primarily focused on mid-century millinery
Jessamyn’s Pinterest pages, primarily focused on Civil War-era clothing and accessories