Stella Blum

Student Research Grant

The Stella Blum Student Research Grant is intended to assist the research of a current undergraduate or graduate student who is a member of the Costume Society of America and conducting original research in the field of North American costume. This $3,000 grant, funded by the CSA Endowment, is awarded annually to provide a student with financial assistance with research (see below for details of allowable and non-allowable expenses). An additional stipend of up to $600 and a day-of-presentation registration fee, also funded by the CSA Endowment, is awarded to allow the recipient to present the completed research at a CSA National Symposium.

The grant, first awarded in 1987, is named in honor of Stella Blum (1916-1985), a costume curator, educator, writer, scholar, and founding member and Fellow of the Costume Society of America. Affiliated with the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1940, she became its first curator in 1970, and helped to develop costume as an area of serious study.

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • be a student matriculating, at the time of the funded research, in a degree program at an accredited institution
  • propose a research project in the field of North American costume
  • be a member of the Costume Society of America


Allowable expenses include the following:

  • transportation to and from a research site (away from home or school)
  • living expenses at research site (away from home or school)
  • supplies and services such as image reproduction/rights, books, and postage


Non-allowable expenses include the following:

  • living expenses while at home or school
  • tuition and materials for course work
  • overhead or indirect costs to any institution
  • salary
  • equipment such as cameras and tape recorders
  • transportation to regional or national meetings of CSA
  • expenses incurred prior to the date of the written notification of the award, including costs of preparing the application

Send six (6) copies of the following:

  • application form (click here to download)
  • budget form (click here to download)
  • project proposal (double spaced and no more than 1,000 words), including:
  • introduction to research project, its background and significance
  • purposes and goals of the research, specific objectives of work to be accomplished, and what questions will be answered
  • qualifications of researcher, familiarity with subject, course work completed and related courses to be taken during the project, previous research experience, and how the project will benefit the student at this point in his/her academic career and in the long run
  • methodology, structure of research design, name of research supervisor, and project schedule
  • application/scholarly presentation of results, and the value of this information to the field of costume research
  • select bibliography and related resources (not included in word limit)


Send one (1) copy of the following:

  • proof of current student enrollment
  • official transcripts from all relevant academic work
  • letters of permission from any research site, museum, or library that the applicant intends to visit for research


To be sent separately:

  • two (2) recommendations (on form that can be downloaded here), one from the research project supervisor and another from someone familiar with the applicant’s academic record, preferably a faculty member


Applications will be evaluated on:

  • significance, creativity, and innovation of the proposed research topic
  • impact of the research on the broad field of costume (beyond simply increasing the student’s own knowledge and experience) and applicant’s awareness of the interdisciplinary nature of the field of costume
  • feasibility of time frame, work plan, and budget of the proposed project
  • time frame/work plan/time table
  • methodology of the research plan and appropriateness of research sources and bibliography
  • applicant’s qualifications, including familiarity with the subject and previous experience
  • recommendation letters
Applicants will be notified of results by August 15. Both the grant recipient and project advisor must sign the Grant Letter of Agreement; when this is received, a check for half the funds will be sent. The recipient will begin the research by September 15 and complete the project within one year. Upon completion of the project and after receipt of a summary of the research and an expense report, the remainder of the funds will be paid. The recipient will present research results at CSA’s National Symposium and submit a short report or a more comprehensive article for publication in Dress by September 15 following the presentation at the National Symposium; reimbursement of up to $600 of expenses to present at the symposium will be paid upon completion of travel and submission of an expense report.

Application Procedure

  • Send the required documents to the Committee Chair.
  • Ann Wass

    5903 60th Avenue
    Riverdale, MD 20737

Apply Now!

Completed applications must be emailed or postmarked by May 1, 2018.

Past Recipients

Gwendolyn Michel, Iowa State University
The Dress and the Diary of Anaïs Nin: 1920-1939

Jennifer Farley Gordon, Iowa State University
Helen Lee and Joseph Love, Inc.: Case Studies on the Mid-Twentieth Century Children’s Fashion Industry

Matthew Lee Hale, Indiana University
Cosplay: Creating the Body Fantastic

Matthew Keagle, Bard Graduate Center
Dressing the Diaspora Militant: Loyalist Uniforms and Loyalist Identity in the Revolutionary Atlantic

Chloe Northrop, University of North Texas
Fashioning Creole Women: Caribbean Atlantic Exchanges

No grant awarded

Denise Nicole Green
Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations’ Ceremonial Regalia: Historical and Contemporary Practices

Laura Bellew Hannon
Limiting the Glamour of the Glamour Girls: The War Production Board and Film Costume Restrictions

Katie Knowles
Fashioning Slavery: Slaves and Clothing in the United States South, 1830-1865

Margarete Ordon
Making Sense of Dress Exhibits

Elizabeth Davis
“All of Them Ladies of Taste and Refinement”: How Lace Democratized Fashion in Late Victorian Women’s Dress: 1870-1890

Hannah Carlson
Idle Hands and Empty Pockets: Postures of Leisure

Melyssa Wrisley
Theory and Practice in American Dress Reform: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1880-1930

Michael J. Murphy
White-Collared: Fashioning Masculinity in American Visual Culture

Anne Bissonnette
Locks & Frocks: Fashion at the time of the Ohio and Erie Canals

Tiffany Webber-Hanchett
Dorothy Shaver: Promoter of “The American Look”

Peter La Chapelle
All That Glitters: Country Music, Taste and the Politics of the Rhinestone ‘Nudie’ Suit

Deborah Saville
Freud, Flappers, and Bohemians: The Influence of Modern Psychological Thought on Dress

Dominique Cocuzza
Dress of Quadroon Women in New Orleans, 1770-1840

No grant awarded

Colleen R. Gau
Determination of Pulmonary Function and Physiologic Pressures Related to Tight-Lacing of Females and Evaluation of These Effects on Soft Tissues

Robert Schorman
Ready or Not: The Meaning of Clothes in Late 19th-Century America

Sophie K. White
Aspects of Dress in 18th-Century Louisiana

Jill S. Fields
The Production of Glamour: A Social History of Intimate Apparel 1909-1959

Susan Shifrin
Fitting In: The Constraints of Clothing in the Medical Profession 1850-1910

Camilla Townsend
Bartering Shawls for their Livelihood: The Women’s Clothing Industry in Pre-Industrial Baltimore

Alexandra Palmer
1950s Paris Couture Research

Maureen Trudell Schwarz
In the Image of Changing Women: The Role of Traditional Navajo Costume in the Contemporary Ceremonial Context

Jeffrey Butterworth
American Women’s Shoes 1750-1950

Diane Hamblin
Development of Early Modern Dance Costume

Merrill Horswill
Save the Silks! Protection for Weighted Silk Costumes