Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection

Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection The Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection (ERHCC) is a repository of material culture focusing on clothing, textiles & related items. The collection serves as a record of life through collection, preservation, and study.

Susan Curtis, Collection Manager FLC 407 P: 701-231-7362 E: [email protected]

Gladys Olson Preuss (1895-1983) grew up on a farm in Rich Valley, North Dakota. After graduating from Valley City Colleg...
07/16/2019

Gladys Olson Preuss (1895-1983) grew up on a farm in Rich Valley, North Dakota. After graduating from Valley City College, she taught at a rural school near Devil’s Lake. In 1929, Gladys married Herman Preuss. They farmed and raised their four children on land that Herman had homesteaded near Esmond.

Gladys was a typical North Dakota farm wife: she raised chickens and tended the vegetable garden, cooked for the threshing crews, served as a 4-H leader, and was a member of the extension service’s Rich Valley Homemakers Club for 43 years. Gladys wore this dress when she went into town to run errands, attend club meetings, or drive the pickup to deliver grain to the elevator. Like many middle-aged women during the 1940s, Gladys only wore slacks while she gardened. The dress originally had blue glass buttons recycled from Glady’s wedding dress, but she later removed them to use on another dress.

You can see this dress on exhibit now in the NDSU Library's exhibit highlighting women in agriculture.

June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment granting women the vote passed the US Congress. White pant suits that our women elected...
06/05/2019

June 4, 1919, the 19th Amendment granting women the vote passed the US Congress. White pant suits that our women elected officials wear derive from the white lingerie dresses that suffragists wore during the fight for suffrage. North Dakota Suffragist Kate Selby Wilder wore this dress during the campaign. #[email protected]

Happy Star Wars Day!Princess Leia first appeared in the 1977 movie Star Wars dressed in a costume very similar to our 19...
05/04/2019

Happy Star Wars Day!

Princess Leia first appeared in the 1977 movie Star Wars dressed in a costume very similar to our 1974 House of Bianchi wedding dress. Like Leia’s robe, this simply-cut wedding dress in white jersey has a high collar, belt, and hood. Designer Phyllis Bianchi noted that the 1970s saw the rise of less formal wedding gowns to accommodate the growing number of non-traditional weddings.

Phyllis Bianchi graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1953 and opened a wholesale bridal specialty company with her mother, Colomba Bianchi, a custom dressmaker in Boston. Phyllis served as head designer until her retirement in 1992. The House of Bianchi continued as a leader in bridal fashion until the business closed in 2001. Our wedding dress was worn by Sally Meidinger, of Fargo, North Dakota, for her 1974 wedding.

Since the Walt Disney Company purchased the rights to the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars Day has become an official holiday at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. On this day, you may see a lot of Princess Leia robes reminiscent of our House of Bianchi wedding dress. May the Fourth be with you!

It’s time to get out your Easter bonnet!  This is the time of year that women traditionally purchased a new hat for sp...
04/18/2019

It’s time to get out your Easter bonnet! This is the time of year that women traditionally purchased a new hat for spring. In Fargo from the 1940s to the 1970s, you might have purchased your hat from Margaret Steiner.

Margarethe (Margaret) Steiner was born in 1906 in Vienna, Austria. She graduated from a women’s business college there and opened a millinery studio. In 1940, she and her husband, Felix, immigrated to Fargo, North Dakota. Margaret continued to run her millinery business out of her home until she retired in the 1970s.

These are some of the hats Margaret created in the 1950s. The hat steamer and hat stretcher are from her millinery studio.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are excited to share the story of one of our coverlets. It took four women ...
03/08/2019

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are excited to share the story of one of our coverlets. It took four women and over 70 years to complete the queen-size coverlet and add it to the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection.

The coverlet is constructed from 3,755 hand-sewn, gathered fabric circles called yo-yos. It was started in the 1940s by Evelyn Vogel who completed 97 squares of 25 yo-yos each before she died. The squares next went to Mavis Askland in Fargo who sewed over one thousand cream-colored yo-yos and used them to connect the blocks. After running out of fabric, Mavis set the coverlet aside until she gave it to her friend JoAnne Gauper, who completed the coverlet in 2014 with an additional 320 yo-yos.

Following in a long tradition of women using quilts and coverlets in fundraising, JoAnne donated the completed coverlet to Olivet Lutheran Church’s 2014 silent auction to support the YWCA Women’s Shelter and to purchase supplies for the church’s quilting groups. The auction winner, Sharon Larson, recognized the need to preserve the coverlet and its history and in 2015 donated it to the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection.

February is National Embroidery Month. To celebrate, we are sharing four raised embroidery, or stumpwork, pictures that ...
02/04/2019

February is National Embroidery Month. To celebrate, we are sharing four raised embroidery, or stumpwork, pictures that reflect North Dakota. These embroideries were designed by Cheryl Hall of the Needlepoint Studio in downtown Fargo in 1979 and stitched by Ruth Gulbrandson. Ruth was a clothing and design specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service. She used these designs in a 1979 North Dakota Extension Homemakers Project.

The meadowlark is North Dakota’s state bird; the prairie rose is the state flower; the sunflower is one of the state’s major crops; and the basket is filled with North Dakota wildflowers—daisies and black-eyed Susans.

Walking enthusiast, Rosemarie Myrdal, purchased this Lillunn wool coat in 1995 to wear during her daily walk from her ap...
01/18/2019

Walking enthusiast, Rosemarie Myrdal, purchased this Lillunn wool coat in 1995 to wear during her daily walk from her apartment in Bismarck to the North Dakota State Capitol, where she served as Lieutenant Governor. Even when the wind chill was below zero, Rosemarie made the 6-block walk four times each day. Rosemarie served as Lieutenant Governor from 1993 to 2001 under Governor Ed Schafer and served in the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1985-1992.

Rosemarie purchased the coat in a shop in the Minneapolis airport on her way home from a conference. She never shops impulsively, but the coat spoke to her Nordic and northeastern North Dakota heritage. The Lillunn company was founded in Norway in 1953 by Unn Søiland Dale. Dale was inspired by the deck blankets on cruise ships and began designing coats made from Norwegian wool blankets. In the 1970s, she made the polar bear pattern—used by the cruise ships in the 1920s—one of her signature coats.

With her polar bear coat, Rosemarie wore hand-knit wool mittens and socks made by her husband John’s grandparents, Sigridur and Jon Myrdal, from wool that was sheared from sheep raised on the family farm. Rosemarie modeled her winter ensemble one last time before donating it to the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection last fall.

Newlywed Beatrice Burns Zimmerman wore this dress to parties in Casselton, North Dakota, during the winter of 1924-1925....
01/03/2019

Newlywed Beatrice Burns Zimmerman wore this dress to parties in Casselton, North Dakota, during the winter of 1924-1925. The floral fabric has shots of gold metallic thread and the attached capelet and pleated hem are black velvet.

Beatrice graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1922 with a major in Home Economics and minors in Chemistry and Physical Education. She taught for two years before her marriage to Edwin C. Zimmerman in August 1924. Edwin was a pharmacist and owned a drug store in Casselton, North Dakota.

In 1948, after their three children were grown, Beatrice and Edwin moved to Fargo, where Beatrice taught Red Cross Home Nursing at NDAC (now North Dakota State University). In 1956, at the age of 58, Beatrice became the first person to earn a masters degree in Home Economics at NDAC.

In 1968, after serving 12 years as the head of the Home Economics department at Minot State University, Beatrice retired and she and Edwin moved to Boulder, Colorado. Beatrice passed away in December 1997 at age 99.

We had a great turnout for the opening reception of the "Suitably Attired" exhibit on Tuesday, thank you to all who join...
12/06/2018

We had a great turnout for the opening reception of the "Suitably Attired" exhibit on Tuesday, thank you to all who joined us. Guest curator, Kim Baird, gave a lively gallery talk and generated a lot of discussion.

If you couldn't be at the opening reception, you still have time to visit the exhibit. It will be on view at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County in Moorhead until February 24th.

Mark your calendars for the "Suitably Attired" exhibit scheduled to begin Dec. 4 at the Hjemkomst Center, 202 First Ave....
11/08/2018

Mark your calendars for the "Suitably Attired" exhibit scheduled to begin Dec. 4 at the Hjemkomst Center, 202 First Ave. N., Moorhead MN. There will be a reception that day from 3 to 7 p.m. with a gallery presentation at 3:30 and again at 6:00 p.m. The exhibition runs through Feb. 24, 2019.

It’s October and fall is in the air. It’s time to pull out the Pendelton wools.  This skirt suit was made by an unkn...
10/01/2018

It’s October and fall is in the air. It’s time to pull out the Pendelton wools. This skirt suit was made by an unknown NDSU student in a sewing class in the late 1960s. It has wonderful details including bound buttonholes, large patch pockets, and an encased tie belt. If you recognize this suit, please contact us, we would love to give credit to the maker.

Gift of Irma Rhodenbaugh (1990.4.5)

Our summer intern, Ben Haney, finished his first project—inventorying, cataloging, and photographing our collection of...
07/18/2018

Our summer intern, Ben Haney, finished his first project—inventorying, cataloging, and photographing our collection of irons. Professor Mildred Hawkins started building the collection in 1958 and by her retirement in 1965 had amassed a wide variety of examples. She built the collection through many sources, including antique shop purchases, local donors, and working out an agreement with Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts to purchase a duplicate goffering iron from their collection.

These are a few of the irons Professor Hawkins collected.

Lillian Flikka was an accomplished seamstress. This dress that she made and wore in the 1930s in a printed chiffon has a...
06/12/2018

Lillian Flikka was an accomplished seamstress. This dress that she made and wore in the 1930s in a printed chiffon has a 2-tiered bertha collar and a bias-cut diamond-shaped bodice attached to a flared skirt. Lillian wore the dress with a belt at her waist.

Lillian graduated from Moorhead State Teachers College (now Minnesota State University Moorhead) in the mid-1930s with a major in art and taught at schools in Staples and Little Falls, Minnesota, before her marriage to Lee Hines in 1943. Lillian’s family donated several of the dresses she sewed, documenting not only the fashions of the 1930s, but her sewing skills as well.

Waiting for spring to arrive? This circa 1970 Lilli Ann coat in polyester doubleknit was made to help transition from wi...
04/13/2018

Waiting for spring to arrive? This circa 1970 Lilli Ann coat in polyester doubleknit was made to help transition from winter weather to spring. Brightly-colored embroidered flowers are appliqued onto the shawl collar and cuffs. Princess-seaming shapes the coat and decorative pocket flaps complete the look. The coat was worn by the donor, Colette Martinson.

The Lilli Ann company was founded in 1933 in San Francisco by Adolph Schuman, who named the company in honor of his wife, Lillian. The company was known for their beautiful, elaborately designed coats. Lilli Ann was sold in the 1990s and closed shortly thereafter.

We are pleased to again be collaborating with the NDSU Libraries on a new exhibit in the Main Library, “Appetite for E...
03/21/2018

We are pleased to again be collaborating with the NDSU Libraries on a new exhibit in the Main Library, “Appetite for Education: The Alba Bales House.” This exhibit explores the university’s Home Economics practice house, renamed the Alba Bales House in 1954 in honor of Dean Bales who spearheaded its development.

This wool flannel suit from the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection is part of the exhibit. It was made by NDSU alumna Jane (Preuss) Nissen during her senior year in 1954, in a tailoring class taught by Emily Reynolds. In addition to taking their regular classes, seniors in Home Economics were required to live in the Alba Bales House for a number of weeks. The students were assigned weekly duties including cooking, buying groceries, and cleaning and were graded on their ability to manage a household.

The public is invited to the opening reception on Thursday, April 12 at noon, to view the exhibit and hear more stories about life in the Alba Bales House.

Second year NDSU Interior Design students studied mid-20th century objects from the Collection for inspiration for their...
02/21/2018

Second year NDSU Interior Design students studied mid-20th century objects from the Collection for inspiration for their custom light fixtures. Thanks to Senior Lecturer Ann Ragan for sharing some of their amazing designs along with the pieces that inspired them!

We have a new doll exhibit in the 2nd floor display case in EML Hall. Highlighted is this family grouping titled “Trav...
12/27/2017

We have a new doll exhibit in the 2nd floor display case in EML Hall. Highlighted is this family grouping titled “Travelers in the Levant.” Each tiny figure is dressed in hand crocheted clothing. The father driving the oxen stands a mere 2 inches tall. The animals are constructed of wool yarn wrapped around wire armatures.

This set is from the Don and Mildred May Parsons Larew Doll Collection.

The “North Dakotan” storm coat was designed in the 1960s by Herman Stern of Straus Clothing.  There was a lot of com...
12/06/2017

The “North Dakotan” storm coat was designed in the 1960s by Herman Stern of Straus Clothing. There was a lot of competition for men’s clothing at that time and Straus Clothing wanted to create a fine quality coat for men living on the Northern Plains. The clothing manufacturing company Cohen-Feldman of St. Paul, Minnesota, manufactured the coats exclusively for Straus. The wool-mohair blend fabric was extra heavy 24-ounce fabric. Straus had the coat manufactured for 10 years.

Originally, the “North Dakotan” was lined with mouton and had an otter fur collar. Rick Stern, Herman’s grandson, said that the natural furs were replaced by the finest Orlon® acrylic fur in the 1970s, as it was lighter weight and resisted moisture better. This coat was purchased at the Straus store in Valley City, North Dakota, by Ken Welken in the 1970s and he wore it for many years.

A new exhibit highlighting five jackets circa 1880s-1980s is now on view in the 4th floor display case in the Family Lif...
10/16/2017

A new exhibit highlighting five jackets circa 1880s-1980s is now on view in the 4th floor display case in the Family Life Center building.

Included is this 1930s lounging pajama in burgundy silk. The lantern sleeve is pleated into the upper arm and the jacket is held closed with the quilted self-fabric belt. The wide-legged pants are pleated and close at the left side with snaps.

Fargo resident Margaret Powers purchased this outfit at Tamara Linoff’s prominent Maison Arcus couture house in Shanghai, China.

1977 fall fashion. This bulky knit coat over a wool skirt, velvet vest and bowtie is from the French fashion house, J. T...
10/04/2017

1977 fall fashion. This bulky knit coat over a wool skirt, velvet vest and bowtie is from the French fashion house, J. Tiktiner. NDSU alumna Anne Stegner purchased this ensemble in 1977 at the iconic Bullock’s Wilshire in Los Angeles.

The Tiktiner company was founded in Nice, France, in 1949 by Henri and Dina Viterbo and grew to include their daughters, Miquette and Vivian. The company was known for its casual, yet classically-styled, resort wear and fall separates in muted earth-tones, making it easy for women to combine their pieces. In the 1970s, the company made fashion news by introducing their oversized knit coat designed to replace traditional cloth coats.

Woman’s Dress, circa 1940sProduction of military goods during World War II consumed the vast majority of available nat...
09/21/2017

Woman’s Dress, circa 1940s

Production of military goods during World War II consumed the vast majority of available natural fibers, along with the leather and rubber previously used in civilian clothing and shoes. Regulation L-85, issued in 1942 by the government’s War Production Board, proposed to reduce the amount of fabric and trims used by women’s clothing manufacturers by 15 percent. L-85 controlled clothing production in many ways: it rationed natural fibers and dictated that only one and three-quarters yards of fabric could be used in a woman’s dress; it prohibited the use of ruffles, patch pockets, and attached hoods; it dictated the length and width of skirts; and it required belts to be less than two inches wide.

Home sewing was not affected by these restrictions. But most women—out of patriotism and due to the difficulty in obtaining materials—followed these same guidelines. This dress, with matching underdress and belt, is made of rayon chiffon. It was sewn by Helga Olson of McGregor, North Dakota. To reduce the amount of fabric needed, this pattern has pleats only on the front of the skirt, has a small collar, short sleeves, and uses narrow tucks on the bodice. Because of the difficulty in finding metal zippers, Helga used three snaps to close the left side of the underdress. Helga’s daughter, Gladys Stenberg, wore this dress during the war years.

You can see this dress as part of the WWII exhibit at the NDSU Library. It will be on view until January 2018.

Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection
09/06/2017

Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection

In 1893, the Agricultural College Board determined that in accordance with the Land-Grant Act, military instruction at N...
09/06/2017

In 1893, the Agricultural College Board determined that in accordance with the Land-Grant Act, military instruction at North Dakota Agricultural College (later NDSU) would be required for all male students. The instruction consisted of 2 hours of drill per week and all cadets were required to attend in uniform. Compulsory military courses lasted until the start of WWII.

This cadet jacket and cap were worn by Ben Myhre when he was a student at NDAC from 1914-1916. This link to the NDSU University Archives has a photograph of cadet officers circa 1914. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ndsu-university-archives/5934496590/in/album-72157627062587357/

Cadets formed the first band at NDAC, which through its consistently high inspection ratings was eventually re-named the Gold Star Marching Band.

Address

North Dakota State University, 1400 Centennial Boulevard, Family Life Center 407
Fargo, ND
58102

General information

The ERHCC is a special collection at North Dakota State University. Garments in the ERHCC range in date from the 17th century to the 1980s. The core of the collection comes from the 20th century. We also house hats, accessories, shawls, household textiles, uniforms, international and ethnic attire, and garments and textiles from the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00

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