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Kent State University Libraries received a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project to digitize sketchbooks and pressbooks from award-winning fashion designer Pauline Trigère. The project, Pauline Trigère: Fifty Years of American Fashion Entrepreneurship and Design, is led by Digital Projects Librarian Virginia Dressler, with support from Edith Serkownek, head of Kent State’s Fashion Library, which serves the students and faculty in KSU’s acclaimed Fashion School.
The grant, totaling $165,947, funded the purchase a high-resolution scanner and three Kent State student positions, filled by Jo Wilson, Paige Gaskins and Dorcus Johnson, to assist with the digitization tasks of the fashion icon’s work. Installed in University Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Center in October 2023, the Zeutschel OS Q1 boasts numerous innovative features, including self-opening glass panes, sliding self-balancing book supporting plates and a scanning automatic system to ensure the highest image quality, process efficiency and productivity. The high-dynamic camera is capable of reproducing the finest gradations, resulting in sharp, low-noise, high-contrast images.
In 1942, Trigère, a French emigre, started her own label in the United States and quickly found success, establishing herself as one of the country’s leading designers of women’s high-end, ready-to-wear fashion. For the next 50 years, her work would be sold in department stores and boutiques across the country and worn by many of America’s most prestigious women.
The digitization of Trigère’s 106 sketchbooks housed at Kent State will provide researchers of material culture and consumer studies, as well as historians of dress, design and business, with online access to the life’s work of this important 20th century designer. Virtual patrons will soon be able to study her 226 pressbooks to reveal how her work was covered, promoted and perceived. The content of the Trigère collection is both deep and rich in terms of its time span and its ability to illuminate the work of an important individual designer working in the American fashion industry during a period of intense change and cultural and economic ascendency.
Over the next year, materials will be uploaded into the Pauline Trigère Fashion Design Collection, on the Open Access Kent State (OAKS) platform, as well as included in the Digital Public Library of America.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES:
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs, as well as a complete list of recent humanities grant recipients, is available at www.neh.gov.