Jo Beverley here. For a slight twist on the regular What We're Reading blog, this month we're highlighting some of our favorite research books. Some of the ones we use a lot are a bit dry or obscure, so we've each picked one or two that we think some Wenchly readers might enjoy, including some available on line.
May I take a moment to weep silently over this question? After wearing out my local library with interlibrary loans, I spent decades collecting an enormous reference library, grabbing wonderful volumes anywhere I traveled. If I was in a gift shop, I headed straight for the “local books” section. I went home from conferences with entire suitcases of reference finds.
And then I moved from a house with wall-to-wall shelves in every room to a cottage with almost no walls at all. Needless to say, I had to choose the books I valued most. This is an impossible job. I’m down to one bookcase of reference material in my office. I had to keep my fashion books because on-line resources simply aren’t as comprehensive. Nancy Bradfield’s COSTUME IN DETAIL shows me how gowns were constructed. I’ve had to tape together R. Turner Wilcox’s THE MODE IN COSTUME because I’ve worn it out. It not only gives me a wide variety of illustrations, but a detailed list of fabrics, accessories, and hair styles—all on a single page or two. I’ve yet to find an internet resource as easy to use.
(Jo: you can look at some sample pages of Wilcox here.