Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: Marybelle S. Bigelow Collection
Bigelow, Marybelle S., 1923-2003
Physical Description: 24.20 linear ft
Language of Materials:
Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Marybelle Schmidt Bigelow, born in La Mesa, California on July 18, 1923 was a distinguished professor of fashion and costume
history, an accomplished artist and a prolific writer and creator. Bigelow received both her BA and MFA at the University
of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and went on to teach there for more than six years. She was awarded the esteemed Prix
de Paris for fashion design and illustration, and worked briefly for Vogue Magazine in New York as a staff designer. In 1956,
Bigelow was invited to join the staff of San Diego State University (SDSU), where she taught fashion illustration, costume
history, and graphic communication courses in the art department for more than twenty years. During her tenure at SDSU, Bigelow
was active on a variety of committees and was recognized as an Outstanding Educator in 1970, 1971 and 1972.
In 1967, Bigelow completed
Alphabets and Design, which was later adopted as a text for graphics and communications classes by the University of Minnesota. She then went
on to write and illustrate her seminal text on the history of fashion and costume,
Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World. The second edition was completed and published in 1979 and is still in publication. Although she retired in 1980, Bigelow
continued to remain very active in academic life at SDSU, and was editor of the retirement newsletter for more than 12 years.
In addition to her career as an art professor, Bigelow was an active artist and creator, exhibiting in numerous galleries
and museums, including the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art and the San Diego Fine Arts Gallery. She wrote numerous versions
of her autobiography,
Vichyssoise and 33 Commencements, authored her own personal newsletter and wrote and illustrated a number of short stories and children's books. She died
in 2003 at the age of 79.
This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Genre/Form of Material:
Bigelow, Marybelle S. -- Archives
Fashion and art
Clothing and dress -- History
Costume -- History
Fashion -- History
Fashion designers -- United States -- Biography -- Sources
Conditions Governing Use:
The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with
the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections
is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Requests for permission to publish must be
submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission
is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission
of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available
for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including
but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
Conditions Governing Access:
This collection is open for research.
Identification of item, folder title, box number, Marybelle Bigelow Collection, Special Collections and University Archives,
Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.
Scope and Contents
Marybelle S. Bigelow Collection dates from 1953 to 2001. The collection is arranged in two series, personal and professional. In addition, there is an oversized
section, which contains materials from both series. The collection includes correspondence, drafts and manuscripts, photographs,
diaries, slides and other papers related to Bigelow's personal life and career as an art professor.
Personal series (1953-2001) includes biographical material, genealogy and family histories, notebooks, travel journals and personal
correspondence. A large portion of the correspondence illustrates Bigelow's long friendship and devotion to Mary Campbell,
whom she met at Vogue Magazine after winning the Prix de Paris competition. Bigelow went on to act as advertising and design
consultant for Mary Campbell's store, the Kent Shop, creating hundreds of print ads, logos and patterns which are also organized
within this series. Bigelow also chronicled her friendship with Mary in a set of illustrated volumes, entitled
MB Saga. The series also contains Bigelow's diaries, which exemplify her wit, creativity and struggle as an art professor for more
than thirty years. Bigelow's political and social commentary is presented in Contemporary Comments and The Pessimistic Philosopher,
a series of illustrated volumes that Bigelow created in response to the daily print and television headlines. This series
also includes drafts and manuscripts of Bigelow's personal writings, including her autobiography, personal photographs, artwork,
financial and legal papers, scrapbooks and artifacts.
Professional series (1953-2001) includes professional correspondence, teaching materials, committee documents, exhibition announcements
and awards. A significant portion of this series is dedicated to the various drafts of Bigelow's published titles, including
Alphabets and Design and
Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World. Original illustrations and artwork created by Bigelow for
Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World are contained in this series, as well as drawings Bigelow created as teaching materials for her various fashion and costume
history classes. Also included in this series are slides used during class lectures, class notes, syllabi and some original
work created by students in Bigelow's classes.