Mount Mary University Digital Collections

The Mount Mary University Historic Costume Collection

Mount Mary Textiles Classroom circa 1936

The Mount Mary University Historic Costume Collection contains over 10,000 objects dating from 1750 to the present. Objects are accepted from local, national, and international donors. The collection's strength lies in its holdings of 20th century women's couture and ready-to-wear garments.

The Mount Mary University Historic Costume Collection serves as an educational, scholarly, and artistic resource for Mount Mary fashion students and the Milwaukee community. The collection preserves historically significant garments and accessories, as well as fashion art, tools and periodicals. Public exhibitions promote the appreciation of aesthetic, historical and cultural issues expressed by dress.

The collection includes work by designers such as Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein, along with garments worn by movie stars Joan Crawford and Gloria Swanson. In 2004, New York designer Charles Kleibacker donated his historic collection of over 600 garments in honor of Sister Aloyse Hessburg.  The Kleibacker donation significantly increased the depth of the Historic Costume Collection, adding works by Coco Chanel, Charles James, Madame Gres, and Karl Lagerfeld.

The Mount Mary University Historic Costume Collection