Object of the Day

Texas Technological College Arena Ritas Uniform, 1929

This two-piece uniform belonged to a member of the  Arena Ritas, the first pep squad at Texas Tech.  The uniform consists of a bolero jacket and skirt made of black corduroy.  The bolero-like jacket is open down the front, and is worn with a shirt underneath.  The sleeves have red, cotton satin appliques on the shoulders and cuffs.  The flared, knee-length skirt has five inverted pleats of bright red, cotton satin.

Courtesy of The University Archives at Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

The Arena Ritas perform at half-time at a Texas Technological College football game.  To see this and other original photographs of TTU history, please visit The University Archives at Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library campus location in Lubbock, Texas.

Interesting Stuff

Image courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

In honor of Black History Month and the upcoming World War II exhibit at the Museum of Texas Tech University, we have chosen to highlight the life achievements of Dr. Charles Drew, a leading innovator of the 20th century in blood plasma processing and storage.

Born on June 3rd 1904 in Washington D.C., Drew stood out as a talented athlete. He graduated as a four-year letterman from Dunbar High School showing potential for a career in sports coaching and administration. He attended Amherst University both running track and playing football.

Image Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

 While a professor of chemistry and biology at Morgan State College, Drew decided to pursue a life-long dream of attending medical school. He enrolled in the Medical School of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, graduating in 1933 second in his class with both his doctorate of medicine and masters in surgery. Drew then pursued multiple internships at hospitals in Montreal, Howard University and Columbia University, where he earned a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1938. This opportunity allowed him the resources to pursue his research of blood composition and storage. With World War II burgeoning in Europe, Drew developed a process in which plasma could be dried and preserved in mass quantities, making it easily accessible on the battlefield. Drew was chosen as the medical supervisor for the plasma collection effort for the American Red Cross in both Great Britain and the United States. In 1942, a controversial ruling regarding the segregation of blood by ethnicity caused Drew to resign from his position. He then accepted simultaneous offers for a position as a surgeon at Freedmen’s Hospital and a professor of medicine at Howard University.

Image Courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Dr. Charles Drew died in a car accident on April 1st 1950 at the age of 45. He will always be remembered for his significant contributions to the wartime effort, as well as racial equality in the medical field.

Object of the Day

Two-Piece Navy, Wool Riding Habit, 1870s

Most women who chose to ride in the 19th Century were of more than moderate means.  A lady would be required to be fitted for a riding habit of the latest style trends, and to have a horse specifically trained to carry a woman sidesaddle.  The tightly fitted, plain bodice and less full skirt of this riding habit is indicative of the changing style of the women’s riding habit to suit the Victorian era fashions of the 1870’s.  Before, riding habits were of varying colors, more voluminous in material, and more feminine lines.  Often times, though, the long and picturesque skirts would prove dangerous to both the riders and the horses.  By the mid-1870’s, the bodice styles of riding habits became more severe and masculine, and shoulder seams at their natural point rather than dropped.  The skirts, too, became less full, and riders would wear chamois or soft leather breeches under her skirts to have a more secure seating.

Early 1870's stereoveiw of French ladies wearing riding habits while mounted. From the collection of Leila Hidic.

This riding habit within the collections of the Museum of Texas Tech University has a fitted bodice, pointed in the center front and has a bodice opening which fastens with brown leather, buckled straps in the front.  The high-standing collar, sleeve cuffs and squared tails in the back are also trimmed and fastened with the buckled leather straps.  The long-trained skirt has two gores; an unusual cut with an inset that cups to allow space for fitting over the horn of the sidesaddle.

Exhibit News

Today is the first Friday of the month and that means it’s time for the First Friday Art Trail. Today we will be replacing the center dress with this 1938 wedding gown.

This ivory marquisette and lace wedding gown, slip and veil was worn by Jane Richards for her marriage to Alton Wade on August 20, 1938, at St. James Episcopal Church in Lakewood, Ohio.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite wedding dress here or at the museum for the dress that will be featured in the center May 2012.

Object of the Day

Three Ballerina Boudoir Dolls, 1920s

The notoriously dubbed “roaring 20s” marked a vibrant shift in fashion trends and, thus symbiotically, the social scenes of both Europe and the United States. Suppressed alcohol regulations encouraged an underworld of rebellion and exploration. Shoes gained inches to highlight dresses cropped short of the ankle. Sleeveless dresses with plunging necklines accentuated the daring “bob” hairstyle. Bee-stung lips in deep hues of reds and purples accompanied elaborated costume jewelry. Silent films and photographic tabloids were revolutionary in informing the mass public of the latest crazes and took much credit for the changing times. They illuminated the faces of the new generation and worked to inspire the newfound freedom.

Courtesy of Getty Images

The boudoir doll grew in popularity around 1920. Owned by young women between late teenage years and early 30s, these dolls were not made for play. Instead, they sat on the bed or lounge couch of the young lady. Boudoir dolls were typically larger than others, ranging from twenty to thirty inches from toe to head. They were dressed in sumptuous attire that reflected the swankiest styles of the elite. Women tended to their dolls as cherished children, combing their hair and redressing them as fashions changed. Boudoir dolls served to symbolize the new modes of dress while simultaneously marking the glamorous personal style of their owners.

Alexandria Danilova with her boudoir doll. Courtesy of Getty Images.

The three ballerina boudoir dolls in the Museum of Texas Tech collection were made in France in the 1920s. They have entirely cloth bodies, silk-woven hair strands and minutely hand-painted faces. Their dresses form tulip shapes of faded pink and yellow linen. These dolls mark the popularity of the ballet in the early 20th century as a “see and be seen” social function. Moreover, they accentuate their owner’s informed and stylish taste.