Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Anna Jean Treece

Committee Members

Robbie Blakemore, Nell P. Logan


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between women's dress and the economic, political, and social conditions in Knoxville, Tennessee between the years 1895 to 1910. It was hypothesized that through an investigation of these cultural factors a relationship could be established between dress and social class.

Data were obtained from a variety of sources. Historical background information was drawn primarily from books dealing with state and local history. In securing data relating to women's dress in Knoxville, three types of resources were employed: local newspapers, personal interviews, and costumes from the Ellen M. McClung Green Historic Costume Collection. Supporting information relating to social stratification, dress and social class, and fashion trends of the period under study was also collected.

A relationship between dress and social class was evidenced. Several differences between attitudes and opinions expressed by middle class respondents and those expressed by upper class respondents were apparent. A considerable difference existed in the interest in fashion expressed by the middle and upper class respondents. A notable difference also existed between the attitudes of the middle class and those of the upper class toward clothing as a status symbol. Reports from respondents indicated a marked difference existed in the means.of acquiring clothing between the middle and upper classes. Although specific styles were not investigated, a difference was also revealed in the characteristic dress of the middle and upper class--that is, the degree to which silk was used and corsets were worn.

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