Fact & Fantasy

Selected Costume History Books, 1804-1936
June 20, 2016 to July 11, 2017

The books represented in this exhibit were intended to give mostly French and English audiences a view—through the lens of costume—into the lives of peoples and places near and far, from the recent and distant past. Grounded in historical and ethnographic research but rendered with an artistic eye, these books filled with colorful plates fed several overlapping nineteenth-century fascinations, including antiquarianism, romanticism, ethnography and travel literature, nationalism, and nostalgia. Costume history books offer a window into the historiography of the amateur study of culture. The authors of these works were as interested in disseminating fantasy as in collecting and curating fact.


View an online version of the exhibit on Swem Library Digital Projects. Images of the physical exhibit installation are available from Swem Library on Flickr.

Curator: Sarah Glosson, Research & Instruction Associate. Exhibit Design and Installation: Jessica Molz, SCRC Graphics Student Assistant; Jennie Davy, Burger Archives Specialist; and Sarah Glosson.