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Oris Glisson Costume and Textiles Collection

    Closeup of a dress from the Oris Glisson collection
The Glisson Collection contains more than 5000 items donated by students, alumni, faculty members, and their family and friends, as well as other interested persons and institutions throughout Virginia and the East Coast. Holdings date from the 19th century and include day wear, evening wear, undergarments and lingerie, and hats and other accessories. 
    A vintage dress on a dress form from the Oris Glisson Costume and Textile Collection

Examples from each decade help document the typical looks from historic fashion eras. The clothing items primarily represent women’s apparel since 1900 and include wedding gowns, designer garments, and other fashionable attire worn in southwestern Virginia. A small reference library of historic costumes books provides further understanding of the technical, aesthetic, and social aspects of popular dress.

Dr. Oris Glisson, for whom this collection is named, joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1948 and was Head of the Department of Clothing, Textiles, and Related Arts from 1960 until her retirement in 1978. She remains the largest single donor to the collection and her contributions serve as a legacy to her sense of style and design.


Collection Use

    Student gets experience with vintage clothing working in the Oris Glisson Costume and Textile Collection.
Students become familiar with the collection through their course work in apparel design, costume history, and merchandising. Using items from the collection enriches students' understanding of historic and contemporary fashion through a focus on innovations in apparel design, assembly, and manufacture as well as the significance of dress in various social contexts. Items are used for both classroom instruction and independent study.

About the Collection

Oris Glisson donated and helped document close to 600 items of fashionable dress dating from the 1950s through the 1970s. These garments were obtained during her travels, purchased from Roanoke, Virginia dress shops, and developed as original designs. Many ensembles include coordinated hats, handbags, and shoes. These items serve as a legacy to her sense of style and design.


For further information, contact

Janet Wimmer

Lab Specialist Senior

(540) 231-6781


Dr. LuAnn Gaskill

Collections Manager

(540) 231-8520