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THE COLLECTION

Established by Carolyn Wingo in 1967 to support the teaching mission of the Department of Textile and Apparel Management, the MHCTC has grown to include over 6,000 items of apparel, accessories and household textiles ranging from 16th century textile fragments to 21st century apparel and accessories. Housed in the climate-controlled Josephine Margaret Holik Conservatory in Gwynn Hall, the Collection includes apparel and accessories for men, women and children, as well as military apparel, world dress and household textiles. MHCTC actively collects artifacts with Missouri-related provenance as well as those by prominent designers, manufacturers and retailers of the past and present. Due to preservation needs, access to the Conservatory is by appointment only and not all items are available for class or research appointments. Please contact Collection Manager Nicole Johnston at johnstonnr@missouri.edu to arrange your visit. Explore highlights from our Collection below.


INTERDISCIPLINARY TEACHING AND RESEARCH

MHCTC encourages textile appreciation and scholarship through preservation, exhibition, research and educational programming. Collection resources are used in numerous TAM classes, as well as theses, dissertations, juried articles, exhibitions and publications within multiple disciplines. Click below to discover how collection artifacts can be used for teaching and research in a wide variety of disciplines beyond Textile and Apparel Management, such as Art History, Anthropology, Agriculture, Economics, English, Fine Arts, History, International Studies, Journalism, Women and Gender Studies, and more!

Bathing suit from 1920

cotten denim blue jeans from 1970

Bathing suit from 1920

  • WOMEN AND GENDER STUDIES: An Australian swimmer, diver and performer, Annette Kellerman was one of the world’s first professional female athletes. Kellerman often wore a snug, full-body swimsuit that covered the body from torso to feet. Despite its modest coverage, the wool suit tended to cling revealingly to the body when wet. Kellerman was arrested in 1907 for indecent exposure.
  • TRADEMARK LAW: Kellerman also popularized a line of two-in-one swimwear with the label “Modern Kellerman Bathing Suit for Women” which became commercially available by the mid-1920s. The suit combined the male one-piece tank suit with an attached skirt. The label on the Collection’s Two-in-One Kellerman suit features a U.S. Patent Office registration by Asbury Mills of New York, as well as a retail label of Best & Company, New York. Despite existing trademark law, Kellerman’s name was often copied and added by other manufacturers in direct violation of Asbury Mills’ patent registration.
  • ART HISTORY AND VISUAL DESIGN: The Collection’s brown wool Kellerman bathing suit features a bright orange, geometric detail along the skirt’s hem, reflecting the period’s popular Art Deco styling.
  • HISTORY AND ECONOMICS: The term denim has possible origins in the French term de Nimes, or "of Nimes." This term refers to the blue and white twill material produced in Nimes that was used for general work clothes. The French term for Genoa is "Genes."
  • CHEMISTRY: Until the late 19th century nearly all blue indigo dye came from indigo bush plants in India. The majority of today’s denim manufacturing uses synthetic dyes.
  • PATENT LAW, ENGINEERING AND FASHION DESIGN: Blue jean overalls were patented in 1873 by Jacob Davis and American dry goods wholesaler Levi Strauss & Co. Originally designed as a work garment, denim overalls and jeans featured reinforced seams and copper rivet details, characteristic features that still remain on most contemporary denim apparel.
  • POPULAR CULTURE: American actor James Dean helped popularize blue jeans as a symbol of youth rebellion in the 1950s movie Rebel Without a Cause. Jeans were further popularized by rock and roll bands in the 1960s and became a representative element of dress for 1970s baby boomers.
  • MARKETING AND MEDIA: The "Stifle yourself, Alice!" patch was a quote often used by All in the Family television sitcom character Archie Bunker.

cotten denim blue jeans from 1970


ARTIFACT HIGHLIGHTS

Click images below to learn more. Historical and donor information will appear.

Silk Gown
Silk Second Day Dress
Polyester Dress
Wool and Polyester Suit by Issey Miyake
Silk Japanese Hhoari