Campus: CSU Fresno -- April 29, 2005
Madden Library Launches Digital Initiative to Provide Online
The Little Bower Fashion Plate Collection, donated by Cynthia Bower Smith of
Fresno, is highlighted in a new online exhibit of the Henry Madden Library at
California State University, Fresno. The exhibit entitled "In Style: Fashion
Plates from 1790 to World War I" is available at
The exhibit marks the beginning of a new digital initiative in the Special
Collections Library as online access to specialized materials, especially for
photographs and other illustrative items, becomes increasingly important, said
Tammy Lau, head of Special Collections.
"Digitization will increase the visibility and accessibility of our photographs
and other collections exponentially, on a global scale," said Lau.
The original fashion plates, hand-colored engravings of popular fashions over
the decades as shown in ladies' magazines such as Journal des Modes and Gazette
of Fashion, were collected by Cynthia Smith's grandmother, Charlotte Northrup
Little, a seamstress who made collecting these fashion plates a lifetime hobby.
Her daughter, Charlotte Little Bower, protected her mother's collection and kept
it intact for future generations.
In 2003, Charlotte Little's granddaughter, Cynthia Smith, decided to donate a
portion of this treasured collection lovingly cared for by her family to the
Special Collections Library.
In fall 2004, Monica Fusich, a reference librarian at the Madden Library who has
a background in art history and has taught Humanities 11, a course focused on the
history of fashion, took on the challenge of organizing and describing each
fashion plate in the Little Bower Collection as the first step in making them
available to the public on the Web.
During her sabbatical, Fusich painstakingly created a detailed description of
each plate in the library's fledgling digital database (still in progress) and
designed an online exhibit showcasing the highlights of the collection. Her exhibit
is linked on the Special Collections Library's exhibits Web page at
Contact: Shirley Melikian Armbruster, (559) 278-5292 or (559) 593-1815