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Guide to the Helen Faith Keane fashion merchandising files, 1926-1996

Collection Overview

Kellen Design Archives
Keane, Helen Faith
Helen Faith Keane fashion merchandising files, 1926-1996
0.4 linear ft: 1 box

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Biographical Note

Helen Faith Keane (née Kahn) Reichert (1901-2011) was a professor at the New York University School of Retailing, which later became the Institute of Retail Management, from approximately 1946 until 1977. Keane, who used her maiden name professionally, was an expert on fashion merchandising and a certified psychologist. She hosted a network television program in 1951, The Helen Faith Keane Show...For Your Information. Additionally, she served for over a decade as the director of the Fashion Group's "Career Course."

Keane was a 1925 graduate of Cornell University and a 1931 graduate of Teacher's College, Columbia University. In addition to her career in academia, she worked in the fashion industry as a copywriter.

Helen Faith Keane Reichert died in 2011. She and her centenarian siblings were frequent subjects of medical and psychological research into human longevity.


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Scope and Content of Collection

Collection consists of clippings, course materials for Keane's classes at New York University's Institute of Retail Management, handwritten notes on fashion press, print publications of a vocational nature by other merchandising educators, and programs and invitations for fashion shows. Many of the clippings as well as other printed materials are heavily annotated by Keane, often emphatically and contrarily. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1970s, although the vocational publications were mostly published in the 1950s into the 1960s. The collection does not comprehensively document Keane's career, nor does it document Keane's personal life.

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Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 3 series:

  1. Clippings and ephemera, 1957-1996
  2. Publications, 1926-1969
  3. Research and teaching materials, 1970s-1995

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives November 23, 2011

66 5th Ave./
lobby level/
New York, NY, 10011

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the Kellen Design Archives. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Internal transfer from Adam and Sophie Gimbel Design Library, Parsons The New School for Design, 2008. Prior custodial history is unknown.

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Related Materials

Keane is depicted in a folder of Parsons Alumni Association (PIC.03.002.1, Box 15, Folder 12) photographs documenting a fashion design discussion sponsored by Parsons School of Design in 1951. Keane is identified in a caption as a fashion consultant.

The University of Maryland holds materials from Keane's 1951 television program, http://www.lib.umd.edu/LAB/exhibits/leadingrole/keane-dig.html

Keane's undergraduate student work is held by Cornell University.


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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

  • New York University. Institute of Retail Management.


  • Clippings files.
  • Course materials
  • Invitations.
  • Publications.


  • Advertising -- Fashion.
  • Clothing and dress -- United States -- 20th century.
  • Costume -- History -- Pictorial works.
  • Fashion merchandising.
  • Fashion shows.
  • Fashion -- Forecasting.
  • Fashion -- History -- 20th century.
  • Fashion -- Vocational guidance.

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Clippings and ephemera 1957-1996 
Title Box Folder
General, 1957-1981  1 1
Fashion show invitations and programs, 1959-1971  1 2
"Wrong forecasts 1900s," 1958-1968, 1986, 1996  1 3

Inscribed on original folder: "Designers' predictions not accepted by the public again and again."

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Series II. Publications 1926-1969 

Arranged chronologically by date of publication. Predominantly consists of textbooks and instructional manuals.

Title Box Folder
Artistry in Dress by Annette J. Warner, 1926  1 4
A Work Manual for the Study of Nontextile Apparel Accessories by Karen R. Gillespie, 1946  1 5
Fifty Years of Fashion: Documented Sketches and Text from the Costume Library of Women's Wear Daily, 1950  1 6
Basic Fashion Training by University of Texas, Austin, 1952  1 6
The Making ...and Makers...of Fashion Career Course by the Fashion Group, 1959  1 7

Pages 42-43 feature an article by Keane on fashion merchandising.

Fashion Is Their Business: Readings from the Fashion Business by Jeannette A. Jarnow, 1961  1 8
Fashion Merchandising : A Suggested Adult Distributive Education Course Outline by University of the State of New York, 1969  1 9

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Series III. Research and teaching materials circa 1970s-1995 
Title Box Folder
Handwritten notes, circa 1970s-1995  1 10
Influence of historical costume, circa 1977  1 11

Contemporary fashion advertising clippings with transparent overlays depicting drawings of historical costume and notes. The overlays appear to have once been glued directly onto the clippings, but the adhesive has distintegrated. Consequently, some overlays have become separated from the clippings.

Typed course materials, probably 1970s  1 12

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Collection guide Last Updated: 08/30/2012

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