Theatre: 19th century

A Research Guide for Theatre from West Chester University Libraries


The following databases may be helpful in finding costume ideas for this period.

Vogue Archive is available from 1892 to the present.

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection. Try the following general search by copying the terms below into the first search box. Or search for specific types of clothing (e.g., hat*). Click on Illustrations under "Limit to:" on the left of the screen.

dress or fashion or attire or clothing or costume

Godey's Lady Book. Try entering color & fashion in the search box. Click on the bolded titles in the hit list, then on the images displayed.

From off campus, select West Chester from the Institution drop-down menu and log in with your campus username and password.


Magazines heavy on images are good sources of costuming or set design ideas for the periods they cover. Although many magazine articles are available through our databases, images are not always included, especially for the images in advertisements (the Vogue Archive is an exception). Try the print and/or microform collection on the 1st floor to find images.

Some newspapers online or in microform contain images. Check the Newspapers section of the Databases list for possibilities. Most newspapers once owned in print are on microfilm.

Below are some examples of magazines with lots of images that cover more than 50 years of American life.


West Chester University   ---    WCU Libraries  25 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383  610-430-4400