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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

Spring 2022: The Little Black Dress


Past Exhibitions

  • Undergarments and Corsets, Winter/Spring 2022
  • 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 1950s, Fall 2019
  • 1930's Evening Gowns, Fall 2019
  • Coats, Spring 2019
  • Roaring Into the New School Year with the 1920s, Fall 2018
  • Crazy for Paisleys!, Spring 2018
  • Career Closet Highlights from The Career Network, 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

RUFFLES!

Talk about a bottom-up design! Much like the ripped jeans of today, ruffles started out as ‘street wear’ made popular by 16th century Spanish soldiers. The nature of bottom-up style is such that the trend in fashion comes from ‘the streets’ and not from high fashion or designers. Ruffles developed for both men and women’s fashions hundreds of years ago. While ruffles do not have much of a utilitarian purpose and are more decorative in nature; they have served to represent the delicate side of clothing for centuries.

Another example that is fairly similar to ruffles are dagged clothing; dagging is created by cutting or slashing the fabric into different shapes, usually the ends/hemlines. Dagging has been traced back to 200 BCE! While still done today, one of the most prominent times that dagging was popular in recent fashion history was in the 1980’s with the heavy use of home scissors making haste of clean t-shirt hemlines and sleeves. The concept of embellishing clothing for the sake of embellishment carries on with ruffles, with a colorful history originating with Spanish soldiers in the 16th century who would wear several layers of clothing but slash their upper layers so the bottom layers would show through. This excess fabric that would wrinkle…or ‘ruffle’… around the main garment worn by an individual caught on quickly with the masses. Historically, as with today, fashion can be heavily influenced by military dress. The excess display of fabric was appropriated by garment makers, who then would sew strings into their clothes that could be pulled tighter to give the ruffled appearance that we know so well today.

In the 18th and early 19th century heavily ruffled neckties worn by men to cover the openings of their dress shirts became known as cravats – these eventually were replaced by the necktie later in the 19th century. In the 20th century ruffles were the highlight of feminine dress, delicately decorating the necklines, hemlines and arms of women’s wear. While ruffles have made periodic appearances in men’s wear ever since the early 20th century, they have largely been considered feminine as well used extensively in children’s clothing. However, they are still an accent worn by wealthy and powerful influencers; the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg chose the ruffled collar she would wear based on her activities in court that day.


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 123
doxsee.collection@ohio.edu