The history of the feminine costume of the world, from the year 5318 B.C. to our century

Collection History

The tradition of collecting contemporary practical works relating to the business and industry of a particular field, as well as to its design and aesthetics, began with the Astor Library, one of NYPL's founding institutions. The works grouped in this presentation were routine contemporary acquisitions of their day, welcomed into the collections not only in anticipation of their immediate utility, but also in expectation of their future historical role as source documents for future historians and designers. Among the special items featured here are manufacturers' catalogs containing real fabric swatches along with sketches showing how the new prints and weaves could be fashioned into seasonably stylish garments.


The history of apparel manufacturing parallels the invention of factory sewing machines and the rise of a middle class to appreciate and acquire multiple articles of ever updated clothing. Coming from two complementary library divisions, the catalogs and histories in this digital presentation, which will grow over time, provide a window into the daily practices and design resources of one of the few manufacturing industries that still thrive in New York City. Recognizing the significance of the 9,000 volumes in SIBL's textile industries collection, the National Endowment for the Humanities recently funded a two-year project to film the entire, predominantly black-and-white, holding .

Collection Data

Twenty parts in 2 portfolios, each part containing 8 pages of text and 10 plates and laid-in cover having illustrated title page. I. China, Japan, Egypt, Assyria, Persia, India, Greece, Rome, Orient.--II. Rome, Gaul, Europe, France, Northern countries, Great Britain, Latin countries, Central Europe, The three Americas, The primitive races. Translation of: L'histoire du costume feminin mondial de l'an 5318 avant J.C. a nos jours.
Giafferri, Paul Louis de, b. 1886 (Author)
Dates / Origin
Date Issued: 1926 - 1927 (Inferred)
Place: New York
Publisher: Foreign Publications, Inc.
Library locations
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection
Shelf locator: MMC+ (Giafferri, P. L. V. de. History of the feminine costume)
Clothing & dress
Costume -- History
Acquisition: John Shaw Billings Memorial Collection
Physical Description
Extent: 2 v. 200 col. pl. 38 cm.
Type of Resource
Still image
RLIN/OCLC: 17860883
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b13969677
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 66ebbe10-c617-012f-4a17-58d385a7bc34
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