Professor Irma G. Bowen began collecting items in 1920 as a hands-on teaching tool for students in the Home Economics department at the University of New Hampshire. The collection was named in Bowen’s honor after her death in 1947, and by the time it transitioned to the University Museum in 1969, the Bowen Collection had gained new significance. With most of the objects donated by local colleagues and families, the preserved items were recognized as an unexpected archive of New Hampshire heritage on a personal scale, a glimpse of lives otherwise invisible to the historical record.

This digital catalog continues the Bowen Collection's mission to teach while expanding its reach by making it more widely accessible to those interested in the design, technique, artistry, and historical relevance of clothing.

Dress, blue velvet and blue voided velvet on a red ground, c. 1892, front view
Garments
Bonnet, black silk, possibly for mourning, c. 1860s, front view
Bonnets and Hats