Western Costume Company Research Library

I just found out about the Western Costume Company Research Library.  (Now I just have to find a way to visit!)

“When it was established back in 1915, Western Costume Company’s Research Library was the first in the industry, and today remains the largest costume research library of its kind.  The first Director of Western’s Research Library was Ned (“The Man Who Knows Everything”) Lambert.  Ned Lambert dedicated himself to stocking the library with rare books and rare pictures from all over the world.  Throughout the years, Western has continued to acquire historical and contemporary publications.  Of special value to researchers is the exceptional collection of periodicals. One can find issues of “The Illustrated London News” from its first printing in 1843 to the present day. There are bound issues of “Vogue” magazine from before 1919 and over 54 years of “Peterson’s” and “Godey’s” ladies’ books, complete with hand-colored plates. The library subscribes to over 40 apparel focused magazines and newspapers, and has 130 large file drawers of historical apparel clippings.  Today the Research Library at Western Costume consists of over 15,000 volumes, many of which are well over 100 years old and serve as a priceless resource for authenticity and accuracy. Western’s collection is often the first stop for Hollywood’s top Costume Designers and Art Directors, and has even served as inspiration to Fashion Designers.”

Does anyone have any contacts here?  I’m interested in collaborating with them in some way for ARLIS/NA 2012.

Sandra Ley (FTC SIG Moderator)



Author: Sandra Ley

Sandra Ley is the visual arts and fashion design librarian for Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

6 thoughts on “Western Costume Company Research Library”

  1. I am a student in the MLIS program at UCLA and I’ll actually be starting an internship with WCC this summer. Bobi Garland is the director of the research library and archive and I’m sure she’d love to work with ARLIS FTC. Her contact information is on their website (I’m not sure if I can share it on here without her permission) and when I start in June I can pass on the message to her.

    1. Hello Ali – How wonderful! What will you be doing for your internship? And do you hope to work as a FTC SME librarian? Would you like to contact me via e-mail and I’ll send you information and links that you can send to Bobi Garland? By the way – are you already subscribed to the blog? If not, let me know and I’ll send you an invitation. The FTC SIG is only a year old. I founded the group and am working hard to develop it. I would love to have a library school student from UCLA work as an unofficial “ambassador” for the FTC SIG – for a semester or an academic year. If you’re interested, let me know. It would involve you simply being a member, knowing about us and our interests, and sharing our group with other UCLA SILS students who might be interested in joining. We could find a special project for you if you like, but it would require no more of you than you have time and interest to offer. Let me know, and thank you so much for writing! Best, Sandra Ley (FTC SIG Moderator) / sjley@pima.edu

  2. This is fabulous! I live here and have never heard of this! I am the Program Co-Chair for the Pasadena conference and I can tell you that people are very excited about the fashion/custome/textile tour and session possibilities that LA offers. Can’t wait to see what proposals we get from all of you! Let me know if you are thinking about a proposal and need or want to chat about it! cbillings@ci.glendale.ca.us / 818-548-2713

    1. Hi again, Cathy, I’m so glad you appreciate that post – I was so excited when I heard about WCC! And yes, we’ve got lots of great things cooking for ARLIS 2013. At our FTC SIG annual meeting last April, we came up with some amazing tour suggestions, partially organized, and all of which have already been submitted to the official ARLIS Conference Planning Committee’s tour organizers: A fashion district walking tour with Justine Parish (costume designer, illustrator, instructor with ACAD), The Fashion Bookstore, FIDM (library/museum), LACMA Costumes & Textiles dept, the Western Costume Company & Research Library), and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (library). All of these must be approved, though. Next, I’ve been brainstorming with Lindsay King from Yale University (you’ve probably seen her recent article in Art Documentation) who’ll be submitting a proposal for a panel presentation on costume design research for motion pictures & theater… (You won’t believe the caliber of speakers she’s going to contact! Let’s hope they say yes!) Since you’re the program co-chair, feel free to contact her directly. She’ll really appreciate your enthusiasm – as do I! Best, Sandra

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