Colonial Williamsburg® The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

Page content
Reset text sizeResize text larger

February 28, 2012

Colonial Williamsburg Book on Early American Clothing Now Available in Paperback

Colonial Williamsburg and Yale University Press have released a paperback edition of “What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America.” Originally published in 2002, this stunning book features clothing from Colonial Williamsburg’s collection of 18th- and early 19th-century clothing.

Author Linda Baumgarten, curator of textiles and costumes for Colonial Williamsburg, illuminates the featured period clothing through 355 color photographs and 36 black-and-white illustrations as beautiful art objects, documents of social history, studies in technology and avenues to understand people of the past. Her full examination of period clothing ranges from the utilitarian garments of slaves to the elegant, high-style attire of the gentry, while engagingly discussing the social context of apparel and what people wore during significant life passages.

“Clothing provides a remarkable picture of the daily lives, beliefs, expectations and hopes of those who lived in the past,” explains Baumgarten. “By contrasting the realities and myths about 18th- and early 19th-century clothes, people today may discover something about themselves, their historical roots and their own relationships to wearing apparel.”

“What Clothes Reveal” is available for $45 at WILLIAMSBURG Booksellers in Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center, 101 A Visitor Center Drive, the Museum Gift Shop at 326 W. Francis St. and the Mary Dickinson Shop at 107 W. Duke of Gloucester St. in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at Each purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the foundation’s preservation, research and educational programs.

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280