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Emma D. Schall student workbooks for geometric and apparel pattern designs at the Frauenarbeitschule Reutlingen


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

Emma D. Schall was a student at Frauenarbeitschule Reutlingen (“Women’s Work School” of Reutlingen) in the late-nineteenth or early-twentieth century. The school was located in Reutlingen, in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, and began operating in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Reutlingen was a hub of the textile industry in the nineteenth century, opening the College of Weaving and Textiles in 1855. The American Commissioner of Labor observed the popularity of textiles from Reutlingen, noting that “the products are everywhere known and valued under the name of ‘Reutlingen goods’ and are given the preference by a large number of business houses.” The Frauenarbeitschule (elsewhere spelled “Frauenarbeitsschule”) was operating at least as early as the 1880s. In 1889, the school had between 150 and 185 female students learning hand and machine sewing, dressmaking, and other skills related to textile production. The school published a book on stitching in 1920, suggesting that it operated into the 20th century. Depictions of floor-length skirts in this workbook indicate that Schall created these volumes circa 1890-1910.

The Eighth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor. 1892. Industrial Education. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893.Die Frauenarbeitsschule in Reutlingen, deren Geschichte, Programm und Lehrpläne ... dargestellt ...: Mit Ansicht und Grundrissen der Anstalt, 1881.Frauenarbeitsschule Reutlingen. Weissnähen. Reutlingen: Druck von G. Bosinger, 1920. (accessed September 15, 2016)Information derived from the collection.

These two manuscript notebooks are workbooks of geometric drawings and apparel pattern designs created by Emma D. Schall while she was a student at the Frauenarbeitschule Reutlingen in Reutlingen, Germany, in the late-nineteenth or early-twentieth century. To successfully draw or transfer dress patterns, Schall had to learn the rudiments of precise geometrical drawing.

Volume 1 is entitled

Frauenarbietschule Reutlingen. Weiss u. Kleidernähen Schnittzeichnen [“Women’s Work School of Reutlingen. White & Apparel Sewing Section Drawing”]. The manuscript begins with an introduction describing how industrialization had raised expectations of garment quality, especially in regard to cut and execution. In the first part of the volume, Schall provided general information about the construction of women’s shirts, dresses, jackets, aprons, skirts, and petticoats, followed by more detailed instructions and diagrams. In the diagrams illustrating proper cutting techniques, Schall outlined the original, rectangular pieces of fabric in red and the resulting cut-out shapes of fabric in black. She furnished information on the proper construction of collars, gussets, and seams on various articles of clothing. In the next section of the book, she provided information on the construction of bed linens, pillows, and table cloths. No diagrams accompanied these descriptions. Finally, she discussed the construction of women and children’s clothing, focusing in particular on dress bodices.

Volume 2 is entitled

Frauenarbeitschule Reutlingen. Geometrisches Zeichnen [“Women’s Work School of Reutlingen. Geometrical Drawing”]. In this volume, Schall focused on drawing regular and irregular geometrical shapes. Following a brief introduction to concepts like points, lines, surfaces, and figures, Schall progressed to various lessons on plane geometry. She completed exercises on straight lines, curved lines, circles, ovals, triangles, regular and irregular polygons, bisecting lines, and midpoints. At the end of the book, she learned how to accurately subdivide polygons into equal increments and inscribe various geometric shapes into circles.

Volume 1 has a black cloth cover and reads “Frauenarbietschule Reutlingen. Weiss u. Kleidernähen Schnittzeichnen” in gilt-stamped lettering on the front. “Emma D. Schall” is written in gilt-stamped lettering at the bottom of the front cover. There is one printed and one pencil manuscript paper ruler laid in this volume after the front flyleaf. The volume’s unlined pages are framed by a rectangular border with stylized flowers at the corners. The volume book consists of 91 pages of writing and drawing in red and black ink and 37 blank pages.

Volume 2 has a black cover with a rectangular label with beveled corners on the front. Printed on the label are the words “Frauenarbeitschule Reutlingen. Geometrisches Zeichnen.” Below this, “Emma D. Schall” is written in black ink. The volume contains 51 pages of writing and illustrations in red and black ink on unlined paper as well as 29 blank pages.

Item 0173: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Purchase, 2014

Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, November 2016.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2016 November 10
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, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Emma D. Schall student workbooks for geometric and apparel pattern designs at the Fraunarbeitschule Reutlingen, Vol. 1, Frauenarbietschule Reutlingen. Weiss u. Kleidernähen Schnittzeichnen, approximately 1890-1910.
Item 0173
Physical Description

1 volume

Emma D. Schall student workbooks for geometric and apparel pattern designs at the Fraunarbeitschule Reutlingen, Vol. 2, Frauenarbeitschule Reutlingen. Geometrisches Zeichen, approximately 1890-1910.
Item 0173
Physical Description

1 volume

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