At the heart of the collections is the library itself with approximately 40,000 volumes, of which some 16,000 are magazine issues published since the 18th century. Over 500 different periodicals are represented, and the collection is continuously growing thanks to current subscriptions to 40 international magazines. The library is also unusual in that it consists almost exclusively of illustrated works. Numerous of the 5,000 specimens from the 16th to 19th centuries are hand-colored, with some completely painted by hand.
With some 40,000 items, the Graphics collection perfectly augments the library's books and magazine stocks.
Over 600,000 documentary sources render the Von Parish Costume Library unique the world over. The major collection of picture cuttings, catalogs and ephemera from the past 150 years is extremely important for students of everyday fashions. Over 10,000 items are added annually to this growing archive, keeping it apace with the similarly unique thesaurus. Its broad spectrum of detailed documentation has made the Costume Library a popular and indispensable resource.
Main Focuses of the von Parish Costume Library:
The history of costume, haute couture, fashion designers, fashion schools and institutions, ready-to-wear clothing, the textile industry, accessories, physical culture, beauty and aesthetics, occupational apparel, sportswear, uniforms, state costumes, streetwear, youth culture and fashion, the music scene, fashion and art, history of fashion illustration, history of fashion magazines, fashion caricatures, fashion photography, traditional costumes (national and international), cuts, home tailoring, textile science, handcrafting techniques, customs, and etiquette.