Welcome!

Welcome to the Western Costume Research Library and Archive online!

Western Costume undoubtedly started collecting the books that would become the research library in 1912 when the company was founded. However, the earliest reference I’ve come across to an actual research department is on a 1923 letter addressed to “Mr. E. P. Lambert, Research Department” from the Hudson River Day Line.

Rifling through the filing cabinets in the library searching for letters of this type, I was able to compile at least a list of Research Directors who have overseen the library in the past century. I am incredibly grateful for the information-gathering that they did, as it makes my job much easier. Because of them, the library houses dozens of filing cabinets filled with newspaper clippings, photographs, swatches, uniform questionnaires, regulations, and other invaluable, irreplaceable resources.

Edward P. Lambert

Edward P. Lambert

1923 – 1928
David S. Preston

David S. Preston

1933 – 1934
C. F. Cook

C. F. Cook

1934 – 1936
Gaston Du Val

Gaston Du Val

1936 – 1965
James A. Cullen

James A. Cullen

1965 – 1972
Elmer Ellsworth

Elmer Ellsworth

1968 – 1969
Joseph Amos

Joseph Amos

1975
Ronald Rynhart

Ronald Rynhart

1977 – 1978
Nancy Kinney

Nancy Kinney

1980 – 1986
Sally Nelson-Harb

Sally Nelson-Harb

1985 – 2001
Bobi Garland

Bobi Garland

1999 – 2014
Leighton Bowers

Leighton Bowers

2014 – present

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    Kat Bakonyi

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    This is amazing, Leighton! I’m also a UCLA grad, and I actually did a year and a half in the costume design program, right before Deborah started. I got cold feet and switched over to the film school and got my MFA in Animation instead, but I’ve never lost my love of costume design.

    One of my favorite parts about living in LA, and one of the things I miss the most now that I’ve left, is the fact that I could (in theory anyway) go over to Western Costume any time I wanted and look at the wonders hidden within! Having a digital version of the research library is brilliant and long overdue. I hope that this picks up a lot of steam and that you’re getting tons of support to enhance this project, so it can be all that it has the potential to be in the digital age.

    I only wish I was still in LA now because then I could march on over there to shake your hand–or see if there was something you needed filed! Keep up the good work, and I have to dig through grandma’s old things from Hungary to see if there’s anything you might want pictures of.

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