Thursday, November 8, 2012

Restoring the Costumes of Gone with the Wind

The amazing people at the Harry Ransom Center of UT Austin are the world's art heroes. They keep, protect and preserve our artistic legacy in the form of archives and restoration projects. I think the place is made of saints and I dream of going there to bask in its wonder. 

Not only do they have the David Foster Wallace archives, but also Lucia Joyce's original manuscripts. Just to name a few. To say I have research to do there is an understatement. 

They also are the keepers and protectors of some of the most precious Hollywood history there is: the costumes from Gone with the Wind. It took them two years to restore and preserve some of Scarlett O'Hara's most iconic ensembles-- the Academy Award winning original work by Walter Plunkett.  Brits, you can see the work they've done on these at the Victoria & Albert Museum until January.

I've always been a zealous girl. I've been zealous about a great many things in my life so far, but my first love, the flame that burned the brightest was Gone with the Wind. Going through all my things at my dad's house this past week, I was reminded of how strong that love is. I have so. much. stuff. One of the last things my grandfather did before he died (though he never told me, because he wasn't the kind of guy who need to get credit for his good deeds) was buy me the entire 24 plate collector series from the film. I have no idea what I'll do with those (or the many other items of priceless memorabilia I have) but perhaps one day I'll open up my own center like the Harry Ransom Center. I think I'd feel pretty good about that. 


  1. Being a seamstress myself, I would love to be able to work on those pieces! When I was in college, I worked in the costume department for work study and I LOVED it. I learned so much. Love to hand sew, so I would enjoy this job :)

  2. I donated to them a couple years ago--still have my thank-you postcard featuring Scarlett's curtain dress!

    This is also one of *my* first big loves, thanks in large part to my mom. I have fond memories of watching it (sooo many times through the years), with my dad, in his great Air Force officer PR-honed voice, reading the narration.

    It's hard to watch it without that, to be honest.

  3. Word up, ladies! Yeah, I have about zero sewing skills myself, but I'm glad someone out there is taking care of that stuff! And glad you're contributing with $$, Christa! If I'd found this sooner, I'd probably have done the same. Also, what a sweet movie watching memory with your dad! xoxox


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