This is a fabulous addition to the library and to the community. Whether your interest is professional, personal, or academic there is something in the archive for you. So, where do you find it? What exactly IS it? How do you use it? Let me lay it out for you.
Where do you find the Library and the Vogue Archive?
The Lemon Art Research Library is located in the Administration Building on the Museum Campus. Any staff member would be able to point you in the right direction, so don't be afraid to ask. They're all really friendly. (But to give you an idea, the Admin building is located across the garden courtyard from Phoenix Theatre.) When you go through the front doors, you'll see a reception desk and if you look to the left you'll see a large set of double doors with a sign above, that's it. I told you I'd lay it out for you. But if you still get a little turned around, just ask the person sitting at the reception desk, they'll show you, and they're also really friendly.
Once in the library, you'll sign in, and make sure you indicate that you're there for the Vogue Archive, the more people that use it the more likely the subscription will be renewed. You know what they say, use it or lose it. From the front desk if you walk straight back you'll see a table with some computers. You'll probably see signs like this one:
Again, if you have any trouble, just ask the kind people at the front desk. They're really friendly too...are you noticing a trend in how friendly and helpful everyone is?
Best part? It's free and open to the public!
For more information on the Library, including hours see here.
What exactly IS the Vogue Archive?
I'm glad you asked. The Vogue Archive is an incredible digital project that digitized and organized every issue of Vogue Magazine from it's first issue in 1892 to the current month's issue. And that's not an exaggeration, it really is EVERY single issue. Every page, every issue, every picture, article and advertisement, from 1892 to right now. This is an incredible resource for designers, students, historians, and every lover of fashion.
For a small taste check out this video:
To learn more about the Vogue Archive, click here.
How to you use it?
A very important question indeed. Once you get to the library, and are in front of the computer, what do you do? Trust me, if you aren't going in with something specific you're looking up it can be very overwhelming. I mean, more than 100 years of Vogue to browse through? That's intense. When I was playing around with it I definitely got intimidated until I thought to start looking up items that might help my thesis project that I'll be starting this semester.
First things first, when you sit down, go to the desk top screen, if it's not there already. There will be an icon somewhere on the desktop labeled "Vogue archive". Once you click that it will launch the archive.
So here's a couple ways you can search/use the archive.
1) Browse an individual issue. You can look up any of the issues and then browse each page. This is fun if you just want to see what Vogue was like in the past. It's also fun to look up particular years and months and see how Vogue was reflecting events and societal issues. This is also good if you're doing fashion research and simply want to see what the styles and trends were for a particular month or year. I'll definitely be using it for costume research for the plays I design this season.
2) Search for a specific person or item. You can search terms or people and the archive will pull up any instance in the archive where that term or person is mentioned. You can do an advanced search to filter and refine your search further. If you just want to look up every time your favorite designer or actor was featured, a general search is fine, but if you're doing more detailed research the advanced search is great. Within the advanced search you can specify a date range, limit the search to advertisements, photo shoots, articles, etc, and search multiple terms/people to help find exactly what you want. It's definitely worth it to play around with the search feature.
I had fun searching for articles related to James Bond and Bond Girls for my thesis that I'll be starting this semester.
The most important thing is to have fun with it, it can get a bit addictive with so much material to look through and you'll probably find yourself wanting to come back again. I certainly did.
Once you've overloaded your brain and can't stare at the screen any longer, step away from the computer and step into the Fashion Design Library. It will be to the left hand side as you're facing back to the front doors of the main library.
Inside this room is every fashion design and history book you could ever want. There are also some vintage Vogue magazines. So if looking at the digitized scans made you want to hold the real thing, here's your chance!
Also housed in the library are a second collection of fashion design and history books as part of the main collection. There are also complete collections of Vogue and Harpers Bazaar magazines as hard copies in both the Fashion Special Collection and the library's Special Collection. And by complete collection I mean all the way back to 1892 for Vogue and the 1860s for Harpers! They also have a selection of GQ, Godey's Ladies Book, and more. The collections are available for viewings for research purposes by appointment with the librarian. She's also super nice.
Between the Vogue Archive and the Fashion Design Library, the Lemon Art Research Library has a multitude of research resources for every design student and professional. And again, it's completely free and open to the public! You can't beat that. Please stop by for a visit and let them know what you think. While I'm kicking myself for not knowing about this sooner, I'm looking forward to using it this year on my various research projects.
A version of this blog appeared in a post I wrote for the ACI Nouveau blog here.