January 22, 2016

Celebrating the Little Black Dress on Exhibit at the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection, NDSU

The Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection is pleased to present the exhibit Celebrating the Little Black Dress. Designs created by Claire McCardell and Norman Norell and other designers, dating from the 1940s to the 1960s are featured. The exhibition is on display in the Window Gallery outside of FLC 414 and is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., through May 13, 2016.

The little black dress is approaching its 90th birthday. This versatile dress can be dressed up or down with accessories as needed. A little black dress became part of women's wardrobes as private cocktail parties emerged in the social scene during the 1920s. These semi-formal occasions required appropriate dress. For women it included day dress styles made of evening dress fabrics.

Coco Chanel is considered to be the first designer to have promoted a little black dress for women. Her simple calf-length design, decorated with a single strand of pearls, appeared in Vogue magazine on October 1, 1926. It stood in stark contrast to the heavily embellished flapper dresses of the time. Vogue called it "Chanel's Ford", referring to the Model T Ford car, a standard in the industry at the time. They predicted that the dress would be a uniform of sorts for all women of taste.

A goal of the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection is to enhance awareness of fashion history as it relates to society, history, and material culture. It is located on the 4th floor of the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Family Life Center, 1400 Centennial Blvd, NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota.

February 23, 2015

Katherine Burgum: A Champion for NDSU is the Subject of NDSU's Afternoon in the Gallery

As you walk through the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Family Life Center do you ever wonder who she was? Guided by clothing that Burgum wore during her lifetime, a presentation by Dr. Ann Braaten, Assistant Professor of Practice and Curator of the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection, will highlight Katherine Kilbourne Burgum's legacy and her impact on NDSU.

The presentation is on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the NDSU Memorial Union Art Gallery. This presentation is part of NDSU's Women's Week 2015

February 28, 2014

Hina Matsuri: Japanese Girls' Festival Exhibition at the Rourke Art Museum

The hina doll set donated to the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society by the Okayama Japan-America Cultural Exchange Society is on exhibit in the Asian Gallery at the Rourke Art Museum, 521 Main Avenue in Moorhead, MN, from March 1-30, 2014. The Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection is helping to coordinate the exhibition. Miss Konko, from the ERHCC collection is included in the exhibition. This doll is the "little sister" of Miss Okayama, a doll given to North Dakota in 1927 as part of a friendship doll exchange between Japan and the United States. Miss Okayama is on exhibit on the second floor of E. Morrow Lebedeff Hall at NDSU during the month of March.

February 19, 2014

WWII Uniform from Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection on Exhibit

A WAVES military uniform from the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection is currently on loan to the Doing our Part: Clay County in WWII exhibition at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County in Moorhead, Minnesota. The uniform was donated to the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection by Marrion Jahnke Walsh, who served in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during WWII.

Marrion Jahnke (pictured above) entered the WAVES on November 2, 1944 and was assigned to the Naval Training Center in Gulfport, Mississippi as a Seaman First Class. She later transferred to the Headquarters of the Eighth Naval District in New Orleans, Louisiana to work for the V5 program.

Marrion had attended college for two years at Aberdeen, Washington, before she went into the WAVES. After her service, she finished college and earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in History and English. She taught History at Ben Franklin Junior High School in Fargo, ND, where she met her husband Frederick Walsh.

January 22, 2014

Lace Exhibit at Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection

Samples of 20th century lace fashion are on exhibit through Feb. 28 at the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection at North Dakota State University.

A highlight of the exhibit is an early 20th century detachable lace collar gifted to the collection by Charles and Cora Corwin. The collar is a fine example of machine-made "chemical" lace, in which thread was first stitched to a sheer ground fabric before the ground was dissolved to leave behind the lace, according to Ann W. Braaten, assistant professor of practice and curator of the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection.

"The excellent craftsmanship and intricate patterning of this collar show that it was worn by a woman who was fashionable and practical," she said.

Lace is an openwork fabric formed by fine threads in which the spaces are as important as the designed areas. It was called punto in aria, or "stiches in air," and at one time held greater value than gold.

In the 1600s, lace communicated the high status of men and women in society. "It was the ultimate status symbol," Braaten said. "Wearing lace was so important that men sold their farms and mills in order to pay for the lace in one of their outfits."

By the 1800s, the popularity of lace changed as men rejected flamboyant, show-stopping, lace-decorated garments in favor of somber-colored business suits. Lace became tied to femininity. Handmade lace was greatly valued and the rising middle classes created a growing demand for it. Industrialists mechanized lace production and machine-made lace is popular today. The exhibit shows both machine-made and handmade lace.

The Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection is located on the fourth floor of the Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Family Life Center, 1400 Centennial Blvd. It is a repository of material culture focusing on clothing, textiles and related items. The collection, which includes more than 5,000 items, works to reveal how such objects serve as a record of life through collection, preservation and study.

August 27, 2013

NDSU co-sponsors Japanese doll presentation

NDSU's Emily P. Reynolds Historic Costume Collection is a co-sponsor of a significant upcoming international event in Fargo.

On Tuesday, Sept. 10, a nine-member delegation of the Okayama Japan-America Cultural Exchange Society is set to present a prized Hina doll set to the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society. The event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the West Acres Shopping Center Food Court's north entrance. The public is invited to attend.

According to Ann Braaten, assistant professor and curator of the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection, the presentation traces its history back to "Miss Okayama," a 1927 Friendship Doll that has been housed in the collection since 1973.

The purpose of the delegation's visit is to further friendship between the Japanese people and the United States that started in 1927 with the Friendship Doll exchange. The doll exchange was an effort to smooth mounting political tensions between the two countries. Children in the United States collected and sent more than 12,000 dolls to Japan. In return, a doll was presented to each state and several major cities. The Miss Okayama doll was presented as a gift from the children of Okayama Prefecture to the children of North Dakota.

"Miss Okayama provides a continuing bond of friendship between Japan and North Dakota," Braaten said, noting the doll will be on display during the Hina doll presentation. "The Japan-America Cultural Exchange Society sponsored the restoration of the 1927 Friendship Doll in 2001. We are honored that organization has reached out again to further ties between Okayama, Japan, and Fargo."

The Japanese delegation, led by Chikao Kawabata, executive general director of the exchange society, plans to present a 15-doll Hina doll set that will have a permanent home with the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society. The Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society, Fargo, is developing a botanic garden for the region. Included in the plan is the Garden of Mind and Soul, designed in a Japanese garden style.

Hina dolls are displayed during a Japanese holiday called Hinamatsuri, also called Dolls' Day or Girls' Day. Its historical roots go back to the Heian period, which ended more than 800 years ago. The holiday is based in the former belief that dolls possessed the power to contain bad spirits. The early dolls were placed in a boat and sent down a river to the sea, supposedly taking troubles with them.

NDSU is partnering with the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society, West Acres Shopping Center, Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau and North Dakota Tourism to host the event.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

March 2, 2012

"A Woman of Considerable Influence - Dressing the Part: Kate Selby Wilder, A North Dakota Suffragist and Political Activist"

Curator Ann Braaten and Collection Manager Jacqueline WayneGuite will speak about suffragist Kate Selby Wilder on Friday, March 2 from 12-1 p.m. in the Hidatsa room of the NDSU Memorial Union.

They will explore the dress used by Wilder in her role as an activist for women's suffrage in the 1910s and later as a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in the 1920s. Wilder was the first woman elected as a city official in North Dakota.

This event is in conjunction with NDSU's Women's Week 2012.

February 28, 2012

Memorial Union Gallery to host exhibit for Women's Week Celebrations:

"Women of Considerable Influence"

The Memorial Union Art Gallery will host a unique exhibition that is a collaboration of art and history from Tuesday, February 28 to Saturday, March 10, 2012. The Emily Reynolds Historical Costume Collection has dresses on display that were worn by prominent Fargo women, Kate Selby Wilder and Ruth Roberts Haggart. The dresses have unique and detailed ornamentation as well as textures. Both dresses create a picture of the feminine side of the Fargo elite.

The dresses are accompanied by artwork by well known regional artist, Natasha Neihart. Neihart combined her "love of anatomical form with the study of texture" in her work for this exhibit. She created a sepia, charcoal, and pastel drawing of Ruth Roberts Haggart as well as an oil portrait of Kate Selby Wilder. Both pieces bring the women's personas to life as well as showcase the light, texture, weaves, and details. The pieces also stand as a strong example of using art as a method to tell the story of the era.

Both of the women featured in the exhibition are excellent examples of influential women of Fargo in the 1910s. Kate Selby Wilder was a prominent member of the Votes for Women League and the Women's Christian Temperance Union. She also was elected to the Fargo City Commission in 1919. Ruth Roberts Haggart, was also amongst the accomplished women in the early Women's Movement in Fargo. In fact, her family was in the forefront of development in our region.

The exhibit as a whole gives a glimpse of the era of "Women of Influence." From the clothing, artifacts, and adornments, to the artwork, texture, and representation of the women, this is an exhibit that everyone must see.

Neihart will discuss her creative process for an artist's talk on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 5pm at the Memorial Union Art Gallery and Ann Braaten, Curator of the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection will provide background on the Fargo women who served as Neihart's subjects. Please join us for refreshments!

October 19, 2011

On Friday, October 14, our curator Ann Braaten and collection manager Jacqueline WayneGuite presented at the Costume Society of America Midwest Symposium in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The presentation, titled "A Woman of Considerable Influence - Kate Selby Wilder - A North Dakota Suffragist," contextualized garments worn by a local suffragist that were donated to the ERHCC.

In the 1910s and 1920s, Wilder campaigned for women's right to vote and for the Women's Christian Temperance Union. She was the first woman elected to a city office in North Dakota.

To learn more about Wilder and the garments she owned and wore, please contact us for an appointment.

December 3, 2010

The Emily Reynolds Collection has a Facebook page. Like us!

August 30, 2010

ERHCC welcomes Jacqueline WayneGuite as the new Collections Manager.

April 15, 2010

Welcome to the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection website. It is still under construction. Please do come back soon as new content is being added frequently.


Department of Apparel, Design, and Hospitality Management

College of Human Development and Education

Department of Apparel, Design and Hospitality Management
Site Manager: Susan Curtis
Last Updated:
Published by North Dakota State University
Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection
NDSU, Family Life Center, Room 414
NDSU Dept. 2610
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Phone: (701) 231-8604 Fax: (701) 231-5273