"American Silk, 1830-1930" Recipient of Costume Society of America Award

Texas Tech University Press book on American silk industry wins an award from the Costume Society of America.

"American Silk, 1830-1930: Entrepreneurs and Artifacts" by Jacqueline Field, Marjorie Senechal and Madelyn Shaw and published by the Texas Tech University Press, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2008 Millia Davenport Publication Award sponsored by the Costume Society of America. The award was announced May 23 at the Annual Symposium of the Costume Society of America in New Orleans.

The Davenport Award committee commended the book as an important work exhibiting good solid scholarship and thorough original research. They also commended the readable text and noted that the book is a great model for researchers and a great contribution to the field of costume.

"American Silk, 1830–1930" traces the evolution of the American silk industry through three different case studies: the Nonotuck Silk Co. of Northampton, Mass.; the Haskell Silk Co. of Westbrook, Maine; and the Mallinson Silk Co. of New York and Pennsylvania. The mills specialized in different products, from sewing-machine twist and embroidery threads to mass-produced plain silks and high-fashion fabrics.

The case studies span the development of the U. S. silk industry from its beginnings in the 1830s to its decline in the 1930s. Starting in the 1920s with the growth of rayon, the first of the synthetic imitators, the market share for silk shrank, and silk gradually returned to being a luxury at the top of the hierarchy of fabrics. But for a time, American technological innovations and entrepreneurs succeeded in bringing the pleasure and aesthetic of silk within the reach of more people than ever before.

The authors brought many years of costume history experience to writing the book. Jacqueline Field is a former costume curator and professor of textiles and design at Westbrook College. A professor of mathematics and history of science and technology at Smith College, Marjorie Senechal is the author of several books, most recently "Silk Unraveled!" Madelyn Shaw curates the costume and textile collection at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum.

For more information or a review copy of the book, contact Barbara Brannon, marketing manager, Texas Tech University Press, (806) 742-2982 or via e-mail at barbara.brannon@ttu.edu. Details about the book are available online at http://www.ttup.ttu.edu/BookPages/0896725898.html.