Category Archives: Cambridge Fashion

Fashion in the Rare Book Stacks!

The Wall Street Journal just did a great, short piece on the fashion the New York Public Library’s staff.  We love the photos that prominently feature fashionable librarians in the stacks – especially the rare books stacks.  Even though Cambridge doesn’t have the fashion credibility that NYC does, we did debut the Puritan look for the fall/winter season of 1640 and our very own librarian Almira Haywood (1838-1894) did high Victorian style exceptionally well.   We think the WSJ should definitely feature the CPL staff in their next fashion round-up.

**Thanks to CPL reference librarian Liz S. for the link!**


Fashion on the Titanic

Gloves from the Titanic, salvaged and restored.

One hundred years ago, the United States and Europe was still reeling from the sinking of the Titanic.  Over the past month, there has been a flurry of interest in the unsinkable ship’s sinking. Here are a few highlights for those interested in more:

1.  The April 12, 2012 New York Times did a nice photo piece on the fashion of the Titanic.
2.  The April 12, 2012 Cambridge Chronicle did a piece on rare book collector Harry Elkins Widener – of Widener Library fame – who died on the Titanic.
3. has compiled a free, new database exclusively around the Titanic.
4.  Daniel Mendelsohn’s Unsinkable in the April 16, 2012 New Yorker is about why 100 years later, we’re still obsessed with the Titanic’s sinking.

Get ready for a Civil War Era Fashion Show

Image courtesy of the Kent State University Museum.

One of the most highly anticipated events for Saturday’s Living History of the Civil War event at the CPL will be the Civil War era fashion show.  It starts promptly at noon at the center stage on the library’s lawn.

To get you started, the Kent State University Museum has a great exhibit right now on the fashion of the Civil War.

Listen to Curator Sara Hume talk about fashion during the 1860s.

See you at the catwalk!

Cambridge Fashion: The Puritan Woman in Winter

The Winter Clothing of Puritan Women, circa 1643

It’s getting chilly in Cambridge.  Autumn is here and the long winter is almost upon us.  As is often the case when the weather turns cold, I wonder how the first Cambridge citizens braved the freezing temperatures and gusts of wind with their limited comforts and resources.  I came across a wonderful book, written by Elizabeth McClellan in 1904, titled Historic Dress in America, 1607 – 1800, with an entire chapter on fashion in Puritan Massachusetts.

Can you picture the streets of Cambridge filled with women covering their faces for protection against the cold?  Perhaps men also wore a face covering, although McClellan doesn’t mention it in her book.  This image of the Puritan woman in winter dress certainly challenged my imagination when it comes to early street scenes of Cambridge’s first inhabitants.

McClellan’s book is available for research in the Cambridge Room.