Interesting Stuff

USMC Uniforms Worn During WWI & WWII

The E&T Division has a large military uniform collection with representation from all military branches, men and women, from the mid-19th century through today. The two uniforms featured below are United States Marine Corps uniforms from the 6th Marine Regiment.

The 5th and 6th Marine Regiments were awarded the French Croix de Guerre for their bravery and sacrifice in France at the Battle of Belleau Wood, fought from June 1-26, 1918 in World War I. To this day, members of the 5th and 6th are allowed to wear a Croix de guerre Fourragère, the red and green cording shown below, over their left shoulder with their service and dress uniforms.

Fourragère worn with WWI USMC service uniform.

The Marine that wore this WWI uniform was a Sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, and has three service stripes on the lower left sleeve, and two wound stripes on the lower right sleeve. The Fourragère shown above would be worn over the left shoulder of this uniform.

WWI USMC, 6th Marine Regiment service uniform.

WWI Arm Patch Insignia for the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines.

WWI USMC campaign hat.

During World War II, the 6th Marines fought in the Pacific Theater. They fought in notable battles such as Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Okinawa.

The Marine that wore the uniform below was a Private First Class, and served in the 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Division during WWII. He was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon, and WWII Victory Ribbon. Above the right breast pocket is an Honorable Discharge badge, allowing military service men and women to wear their uniforms after WWII when they were discharged from military service.

WWII USMC, 6th Marine Regiment service uniform.

This uniform is on display now in Gallery 1 as a part of the collaborative exhibition Celebrating Our Heroes, from now until November at the Museum of TTU. Come and see the exhibits honoring our men and women at home and abroad during WWII.

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Behind the Scenes

Celebrating our Heroes

In collaboration with the History Division at the Museum of Texas Tech University, we in the Costume & Textiles Division have been gathering and researching our collections to create On the Homefront. The exhibit will feature clothing and artifacts that highlight the United States military efforts of World War II, both stateside and overseas.

With the opening of the Celebrating our Heroes exhibition right around the corner, we wanted to give you a sneak peak of what we’ve been up to!

Lauren adjusting the placement of a female officer’s cap. Pins must be unobtrusive to the garments, yet provide stability while on exhibit.

Mei sewing a muslin backing onto a quilt. The muslin provides protection while on display; a common stabilization technique.

We use white paper to create period-appropriate hair styles. Here, Rebecca is pinning curls to form Victory-style bangs.

So much is happening for this gigantic exhibition- so don’t miss out! Be sure to check out the events schedule on the Celebrating our Heroes website. We hope you will join us for one – or all! – of the fun activities. It’s going to be an exciting summer!

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.

Designer Spotlight

LUCIEN LELONG, Grey-Blue Chiffon and Silk Wedding Dress, 1946

Mrs. Kay Boutin wore this long grey-blue chiffon wedding dress with full-gauged skirt, wide scoop neckline and chiffon bow for her wedding to Major Paul Boutin on May 29, 1946 in Paris, France.  Paul Boutin was a Major in the US Army and Mrs. Kay Boutin  was an Army Librarian with the special services. The Bride wore a white orchid in her hair, carried a bouquet of white orchids and wore long white kid gloves. The dress was made by Lucien Lelong, and this particular one was one of his designs post WWII.

This is the original Bill of Sale for the Delong wedding dress purchased on May 27, 1946, days before the wedding.

Lucien Lelong (October 11, 1889 – May 11, 1958) was a French couturier who was prominent from the 1920s to the 1940s.  He is most remembered for his heroic diplomatic efforts to sustain Parisian couture during World War II. He was elected as president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture in 1937, which would prove to be his greatest challenge and contribution to fashion.

As president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, it was his job to negotiate with the occupying German regime. The Nazis wanted to move Paris fashion to Berlin by any means, including violence. On July 20, 1940 five Nazi officers arrived at the headquarters of the Chambre Syndicale on an ‘inspection’; five days later they broke into the building and requisitioned the archive and seize all of the  documents pertaining to the French export trade.

Lucien Lelong

Under the plan of the Nazis, Paris ateliers would be moved to Germany or Austria, where they would train a new generation of German dressmakers. The designers would also be moved. Within a generation, the Nazis expected, couture would be German, not French. Lelong pointed out that the plan was unworkable. The skills, he explained, were unteachable, that you could not transfer them, and it took decades to reach the necessary levels of craftsmanship.

This iconic photo of Lisa in a Lucien Lelong gown swinging precariously off the Eiffel Tower, was taken by Erwin Blumenfeld for Vogue 1939

By 1941 the Germans had issued textile ration cards to every design house. It was obvious that compliance with these regulations would spell the end of Paris couture. Lelong, through difficult negotiations, obtained exemptions for 12 houses. Lelong said, “Unfortunately the Germans noticed at the end of six months that 92 houses were operating, which led to more discussions. Finally we succeeded in keeping 60.” Madame Grés and Balenciaga both exceeded their yardage requirements one season and were ordered to close for two weeks. Banding together in a show of unity and force, the remaining houses finished the two collections so they could be shown on time.

Natalie Paley (Mrs. Lucien Lelong from 1927-1937) wearing a black sequined evening gown by Lelong, photo by Man Ray, 1934

Lelong is credited with saving over 12,000 workers from deportation into German war industries. Over the period of four years, 14 official conferences had been held with the Germans, at four of them the Germans had announced that la couture was to be entirely suppressed, and each time the French avoided catastrophe.

Lucien Lelong evening gown design illustrated by Rene Gruau, 1947

 Lelong employed many talented young designers and gave them the opportunity to grow professionally. Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, Hubert de Givenchy, and Jean Schlumberger were all employed by Lelong at one time or another.

Lelong retired in 1948 and died a decade later near Biarritz. He showed a total of 110 collections during his career, and though closed his couture business, he continued a fragrance business which he had started in the 1924 and is still in existence today.