I have received support from so many people and institutions that it is a daunting task to thank everyone. I will begin with the Rutgers University History Department, which provided financial resources and was a welcoming community of professors and graduate students. Nancy Hewitt’s gracious support as my dissertation advisor made the process a pleasure, and my committee members Alice Kessler-Harris, Jennifer Jones, and Jim Livingston provided encouragement and an indispensable range of ideas. Norma Basch, Paul Clemens, Dee Garrison, Charles McGovern, Nicole Pellegrin, Dawn Ruskai and Virginia Yans helped me as well. I especially appreciate the friendship and insight of my graduate school colleagues Sara Dubow, Justin Hart, Dan Katz, Lia Paradis, Jennifer Petit, Jennifer Tammi, and Charles Upchurch.
I am also very grateful to the Winterthur Research Fellowship program, the Hagley Library’s "Beauty and Business" conference and "Consumption as Social Process" workshop, Carole Turbin’s fashion history workshop, the Rutgers Works in Progress seminar, and the Columbia University Oral History Summer Institute. Phyllis Magidson at the Museum of the City of New York shared her love of the social history of clothing and taught me how to read and handle garments. Joy Emery of the Commercial Pattern Archive at the University of Rhode Island helped me understand patterns, and Barbara Burman encouraged me to pursue oral history interviews. I appreciate the editorial help of Philip Scranton and Stephanie Gilmore with two of my articles. Wendy Kozol and Carol Lasser continued to be interested in my work long after I graduated from Oberlin. I also appreciate the companionship and perspective provided by my non-graduate-school friends.
It has been a pleasure and an honor to be part of Gutenberg-e project. I would like to thank the American Historical Association, EPIC (Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia) and Columbia University Press for their generous funding and good-humored patience. I could not have wished for a more sympathetic and constructive editor than Kate Wittenberg. I have truly enjoyed working with Sharene Azimi, Robert Darnton, Elizabeth Fairhead, Nathaniel Herz and Robert Townsend. And I am grateful to the Gutenberg-e authors for their welcoming collegiality and scholarly imagination.
One exciting element of the Gutenberg-e project has been the opportunity to include far more images than a traditional book would allow as well as audio excerpts and a photographic essay. Obtaining those photographs, and permission to use them, was a significant amount of work, and I had assistance from a great number of people, many of whom went out of their way to help or shared their own personal photographs. I’d especially like to thank Jacalyn Blume of the Schlesinger Library; Delight Dodyk; Sherry Onna Handlin of the Butterick, McCall’s, Vogue Pattern Archive; Ellen and Julie Land-Weber; Kelly McCartney of the Hermitage; Margaret Ordoñez and Susan Jerome of the University of Rhode Island; Jeanne Solensky and Emily Guthrie of the Winterthur Library; and Kathy Woodrell of the Library of Congress. Thanks to Susan Shaw for her help as the good-humored and knowledgeable star of my sewing photo essay. I also wish to extend my appreciation to the friends and colleagues who connected me to the women who generously shared their memories with me. Those women are Winifred Byrd, Jane Dunn, Margorie Durand, Florence Epstein, Patricia Gordon, Marian Goodman, Jean Gulrich, Edith Kurtz, Elizabeth Nagle, Dorothy Orr, Helen Schwimmer, and Roberta Thourot.
Most of all I’d like to thank my family. My in-laws Peter and Karen Flint have been supportive and introduced me to Winterthur and Hagley. My parents Ben and Suzanne Gordon have encouraged me in innumerable ways, most of all teaching me to pursue my interests and not my "shoulds." My brother and Man of Honor Josh, who began and graduated from law school while this book was being written, calls me from sunny California. My husband Peter listens to me, serves as in-house technical advisor, takes me on adventures and makes me laugh. And last but hardly least, our daughter Ruthanna has given me blissful perspective.