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The Mary C Doxsee Historic Clothing and Textile Collection

Various clothing items from collection

The Mary C. Doxsee Historic Clothing and Textiles Collection holds over 2,500 historical costume pieces that range from an 1820's day dress to 1920's scarab beetle hairpins to 1980's color block tops and everything in-between. The Doxsee Collection prides itself on being a teaching tool for individual student use, classroom presentations, community outreach and other roles it is used in for academic and community purposes.


Current Exhibitions

Fall/Winter 2021: Undergarments of the Gilded Age


Past Exhibitions

  • Latin American Textiles, Spring/Summer 2021
  • 1970's Bright and Bold Skirt Prints, Spring 2021
  • Sunny Disposition, Fall 2020
  • American Suffragists, Spring 2020
  • Fun with Children in the 1950's, Fall 2019
  • 1930's Evening Gowns, Fall 2019
  • Coats, Spring 2019
  • Roaring Into the New School Year with the 1920's, Fall 2018
  • Crazy for Paisleys!, Spring 2018
  • Career Closet Highlights from The Career and Leadership Development Center, Spring 2018
  • Helen Mansfield Robinson Jobe: Dick and Jane series children's author, Fall 2017
  • For a complete list of past exhibits please contact us!

Clothing Curiosities & Fun Facts

THE COLOR RED

Red means power. Red means love. Red means aggression. Red means vitality and health. Whatever the meaning, it has always been dramatic. Red has been historically significant to many different cultures. Red ochre, derived from rocks and soil, had been used in cave paintings as far back as the Stone Ages. However, red ochre has more of a rust/red color than the bright red. Being that the color red is not as common to obtain in nature as other colors, it is hardly ever an accident when it comes to clothing and fashion.

Historically, red became a commodity, people used it for cosmetics, home décor (wall murals and tapestries), and art. In both Eastern and Western societies, wearing red was quickly reserved exclusively for the upper class. For example, sumptuary acts were passed in Europe in the Late Medieval Era that tried to limit certain colors to upper class or royalty; included in this were shades of red, such as crimson, and purples. Globally, these types of laws were generally ignored and many commoners wore red undergarments or paid a small fee/fine to wear red.

The rich red that became notable from the 1500’s up to today had originally been derived from two different types of insects on different sides of the world. Both the Kermes (a scale insect that lives on the sap of oak trees in the Mediterranean) and the Cochineal (a scale insect that lives on cacti in the Americas) produce vibrant reds that were highly prized. When the Spaniards started exporting cochineal from the Americas in the 1500’s, they monopolized much of the market up until the 1800s when synthetic dyes became more advanced. Since then, red became more commonly accessed, yet still sought after, since more people could afford to look dramatic.


Resources

  • We are currently working to modernize the collection for use by Ohio University students, faculty as well as the global online community - check back soon for links and updates!

What We Do

The Mary C. Doxsee Historic Clothing and Textile Collection is a proud addition to the Retail and Fashion Merchandising program here at the Patton College of Education. We strive to be a learning tool for students, faculty as well as the general public. Since the Doxsee Collection is a museum collection we also seek to preserve history/culture through clothing and dress items. There are over 2,500 items in the collection that range from an 1820's day dress to 1920's scarab beetle hair pins to 1980's color block tops and everything in-between. The Doxsee Collection prides itself on being a teaching tool for individual student use, classroom presentations, community outreach and other roles it is used in for academic and community purposes. 


History

Mary C. Doxsee Historic Clothing and Textile Collection began as a passion for Ms. Doxsee, who was a professor in the Home Economics department here at Ohio University. Her interest in clothing and textiles was well-known and faculty, students and community members from around the area would offer her items to use as teaching tools in her class or just to keep to show students. Her husband, Gifford Doxsee, was a professor of Middle Eastern/North African studies and when he traveled to that area of the world he also brought back textiles and clothing for her to add to the growing collection. Eventually, when Mary retired in the early 1980s the collection was named in her honor and is still used as a teaching tool at Ohio University for present and future generations of students.


Mission Statement

The mission of the Mary C. Doxsee Collection is to educate students and interested public about dress and textiles of historical significance. The Doxsee Collection is a repository for examples of historical dress and textiles. The mission includes a focus on the education and conservation, preservation and restoration of dress and textiles through consultation and direct


Contact

Trina Gannon Blair
Assistant Professor of Instruction
Retail and Fashion Merchandising
Patton Hall 121A
740.593.4422
gannont@ohio.edu