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Men's fashion illustration plates


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, trade journals such as the

Sartorial Art Journal (Jno. J. Mitchell Co. of New York) and the Tailors' Review (Butterick Publishing Company of New York) were popular among merchant tailors. These publications included special interest articles as well as advertisements and announcements for tailors' supplies, measuring devices, and patterns. Many of these journals also included supplemental fashion illustration plates.

Fashion illustration plates were large-format, detailed illustrations used by tailors in consultation with clients regarding the fine details of made-to-order clothing. The plates depicted men and women dressed in the most current fashions featured in poses and against backdrops most appropriate to those fashions. The pages of the journals themselves included small reproductions of the large plates along with information about garments' patterns, appropriate occasions to wear various attire, and the types of fabrics shown.

Jean L. Druesedow, ed. Men's Fashion Illustrations from the Turn of the Century. New York: Dover, 1990.

This collection of men's fashion illustration plates contains 122 lithograph and chromolithograph plates issued in New York by Jno. J. Mitchell Co., Tailors' Fashion Publishing Co., The New York Herald of Fashion Co., Butterick Publishing Co., and West Publishing Co., between 1887 and 1931. Tailors used fashion illustration plates to assist clients with decisions regarding the finest details of their garments. Many of the plates also prescribe appropriate social settings for the attire, as well as supply suggestions for accessories.

The plates are arranged into five series representing the publishers of the plates: Series I. Jno. J. Mitchell Co./Mitchell Co. (92 plates); Series II. Tailors' Fashion Publishing Co. (14 plates); Series III. The New York Herald of Fashion Co. (10 plates); Series IV. Butterick Publishing Co./The Tailors' Review Co. (5 plates); and Series V. West Publishing Co. (1 plate). The plates within each series are arranged chronologically with undated plates at the end. The plates in each series do not include complete runs per season for every year present.

Because the plates were used by tailors to assist clients with decisions regarding made-to-order clothing, the garments depicted bear intricate detail. Buttons, hem lengths, stitching, cloth texture, and even fine creases in the way the garment would fall are all very clearly discernable in the images. The plates also attend to the appropriate manner of wearing the garments, offering suggestions for accessories such as hats, canes, gloves, neckties, bow ties, and shoes, as well as the appropriate social occasions for which to wear them.

Most of the occasions depicted appear to be middle and upperclass recreational or leisure activities, such as golfing, attending horse races, sight-seeing in the countryside, and attending dinner parties. Plates designed to depict business suits tended to have backgrounds that were neutral or contained city buildings. The plates provide a study of the trends in men's fashions as well as seasonal social activities for the upper classes during late Victorian through the Edwardian periods in New York.

Plates 1-122: Shelved in SPEC MSS mapcases

Gift of Clarence Wolf, December 2012.

Processed and encoded by Elyse Brown, January 2013.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2013 January 15
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Series I.. Jno. J. Mitchell Co./Mitchell Co., 1887 August-1931 Spring/Summer.
Scope and Contents

Plates 1-92.

Physical Description

92 plates

Series II.. Tailors' Fashion Publishing Co., 1920-1927.
Scope and Contents

Plates 93-106.

Physical Description

14 plates

Series III.. The New York Herald of Fashion Co., 1894 October-1897 February.
Scope and Contents

Plates 107-116.

Physical Description

10 plates

Series IV.. Butterick Publishing Co./The Tailors' Review Co., 1897 August-1902 September.
Scope and Contents

Plates 117-121.

Physical Description

5 plates

Series V.. West Publishing Co., 1894 March.
Scope and Contents

Plate 122.

Physical Description

1 plate

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