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Immerse yourself in 1831 fashion with Auckland Libraries' Heritage Collection

Published: 18 October 2019

In the spirit of celebrating our heritage, Auckland Libraries invites you to visit Kura Heritage Collections Online.

You can visit Kura anywhere you have an internet connection. From your device, you'll have access to rare books, manuscripts and photographs.

One recent highlight is a compendium of fashion plates from 1831 issues of a women's periodical, The Ladies Museum - the only known copy in New Zealand.

The magazine itself would have contained reviews of recent books, music, theatre, royal news, poems and serialised stories.

Also contained within its pages was the latest fashion news illustrated with hand-coloured plates.

"The fashion plates in this issue are looking to Parisian fashion, which is interesting when you realise that the French had gone through a revolution the previous year and were in a state of social upheaval," says Auckland Libraries heritage library assistant Harriet Rogers.

The plates show off a range of outfits, each was designed for a different purpose, from carriage dresses for travelling to formal dresses for dinners and parties.

"This magazine was for the upper-class women of the time," explains Harriet. "In this period, they had a dress for nearly every occasion, including a simple walk in the park."

"A lot of effort went into owning and then wearing one of these dresses. You couldn't buy the dresses in a shop, you had to go to a seamstress and get her to make the dress for you. That's why there are really detailed descriptions of things like fabrics, embroidery, lace and other trimmings."

You can find The Ladies Museum plates and other rare and historical items online at

If you'd like more information about these amazing fashion plates, have a listen to The Ladies Museum. . . a fashion monthly!

Read more: Libraries Heritage


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