Special Collections and College Archives in the Gladys Marcus Library acquires, preserves and provides access to a wide range of primary source research materials in their original formats, including archives, scrapbooks, oral histories, fashion sketches, photographs, illustrations, books, and serials. Subjects include the apparel industry, fashion and regional costume, textile design and the textile industry, the FIT archives, and to a lesser extent, art, architecture and interior design. We are committed to supporting research by FIT students and faculty, as well as designers and researchers from the apparel and textile field, other industry professionals and scholars.
Over 500,000 works on paper represent the work of primarily American designers from the late nineteenth century through the 1990s. The work of the garment industry of New York's Seventh Avenue is heavily represented along with small samples of sketches executed for Broadway and Hollywood productions. Taken cumulatively, Special Collections' primary source research materials reveal developments which characterize the school of American fashion design in the first half of the 20th century.
Special Collections primarily holds and is best suited to acquire paper-based materials. These materials will have a higher collecting priority, though exceptions will be made for materials such as film, textiles, and others when the subject matter is important to the focus of the collection. Establishing an infrastructure for the preservation of digital assets is a growing priority for both born digital materials and digital reproductions produced in-house.