American Textile History Museum is Much More than Meets the Eye

Judith Durant and Nancy Pitkin sent this story about their recent visit to the American Textile History Museum at 491 Dutton Street in Lowell:

A treasure trove of historic literature is preserved and catalogued in the Osborne Library of the American Textile History Museum. On Tuesday, May 20, we attended a very well prepared presentation by ATHM Librarian Jane Ward called Stories from the Stacks.

We were both impressed with the sheer size of the collection. We saw two of the storage rooms and one of which is featured here. It’s not a small storage room as one might imagine, but a huge room full of ledgers, books, catalogs, business documents, and more.


Many of the manuscripts and prints are the only ones of their kind in existence, and many more are very rare. Textile scholars from around the world have come to Lowell to use the library for research. Here are a couple of things that caught our eye. athm-4 Neither of us can read Italian, but this was a very well preserved booklet relating to wool printed in Italy in September of 1560.

athm-3This advertisement from Sawyer & Graves of Quincy, Illinois not only boasts an amazing variety of textiles, they will beat the prices in St. Louis, presumably the benchmark in thrift in the mid-nineteenth century.

And finally, no collection could be complete without The Dress Shield Book, Everything a Woman Needs to Know about Dress Shields.


The American Textile History Museum is a world-class museum with a world-class library right here in Lowell. Pay them a visit one day.

One Response to American Textile History Museum is Much More than Meets the Eye

  1. Joe says:

    That Italian booklet looks like something you would find in the Vatican archives. To know that there are treasures like this here in Lowell should make us all smile. Thanks for making me interested in a museum that in all honesty I had not given much thought too. The political bombshell blog postings seem to get the most attention but at the end of the day it’s postings like this that bring out the best in in blogging. Thanks for what you do.