R.L. Shep - Books on authentic costume, fashion and uniforms for the American Civil War, Victorian, Edwardian and Great War eras. Authentic historic patterns and tailoring systems. Books on etiquette, customs, hats, sewing and needlework. 

R.L. Shep has sold books in the fields of costume, textiles and needle-arts for over 30 years and has been a member of the Costume Society of America, The Costume Society (UK), the Costume Society of Ontario, the Textile Society of America, the United States Institute of Theatre Technology, Seattle Textile and Rug Society. R.L. Shep was educated at University of California at Berkeley, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and the American Institute of Foreign Trade. He is a world traveller and has an extensive collection of foreign costumes and textiles. His first book in 1980 was "Cleaning & Repairing Books", a landmark in the industry which is still in print, in a revised edition.

Having sold foreign and out of print books on costumes and textiles since 1962, in the mid 1980s Mr. Shep's decided that too many important books in this field were disappearing from circulation and he began to republish, in order to preserve the knowledge and make important works more widely available. Mr. Shep's books are often augmented with contemporary illustrations, glossaries of terms, and articles about the period. The primary source material, however, is never altered and is faithfully reproduced.

Currently, R.L.Shep resides in San Francisco.  

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R.L. Shep and The LA County Museum of Art Book Award and the Textile Society

R.L. Shep Triennial Symposia of Textiles and Dress
at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Fifth Triennial R. L. Shep Symposium, Fashioning a Collection: Vision and Viewpoints, was held on 15 January 2011 concurrently with the exhibit Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 to 1915. Noted speakers included Akiko Fukai , Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Nicole LaBouff, Clarissa Esguerra, and Pamela Golbin.

The first Symposium, "Clothing as Transformation" was enthusiastically acclaimed by a large audience in the Bing Auditorium of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in April of 1999.

The second Symposium took place in December of 2002 and centered around a large exhibit of Noh Costumes which were at the L.A. County Museum at that time.

The third Symposium was held on Saturday April 9, 2005. The topic was "17th Century Textiles & Dress". Speakers included: Aileen Ribiero (Courtauld in London), Kimberly Chrisman (Huntington Library & Museum), Charissa Bremer-David (Getty Museum) and others.

The fourth Symposium was held on Saturday October 18th, 2008. The topic was "Talking Cloth --New Studies on Indonesian Textiles". The daylong symposium featured prominent scholars from around the world and a special dance performance by the Gamelan Burat Wamgi from the California Institute of the Arts.

Information on future symposia may be obtained by emailing Shep Symposium. Or send your address & telephone number to:

  • Department of Costumes and Textiles
  • L.A.C.M.A., 5905 Wilshire Blvd
  • Los Angeles, CA 90036

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

HOME Book List How to Order More on RL Shep
Contact Fred Struthers, distributor Costume
R.L. Shep and The LA County Museum of Art Book Award and the Textile Society

R.L. Shep Book Award

The Textile Society of America announces the R.L. Shep Book Award
to be given annually for the best book of the year in Ethnic Textile studies. 
The award consists of a $750 prize.

For books published in the year 2010 the award has been presented to:

"Five Centuries of Indonesian Textiles"

by Ruth Barnes and Mary Kahlenberg

Published by Prestel USA

Past winners of the award are:

2000 "Otag-I Hamayun: The Ottoman Tent Complex" by Nurhan Atasoy.

2001 Katherine Larson's "Woven Coverlets of Norway" 

2002 "Living Fabric: Weaving Among the Nomads of Ladakh Himalaya" by Monisha Ahmed. 

2003 (two titles sharing the award): Gillian Green's "Traditional Textiles of Cambodia - Cultural Threads and Material Heritage"
"Wild By Design: Two Hundred Years of Innovation and Artistry in American Quilts" co-authored by Janet Catherine Berlo and Patricia Cox Crews. 

2004 "Weaving Generations Together: Evolving Creativity in the Maya of Chiapas" by Patricia Marks Greenfield. 

2005 (two titles sharing the award): "Mantles of Merit: Chin Textiles from Myanmar, India and Bangladesh" by David W. and Barbara G. Fraser
"Arctic Clothing of North America - Alaska, Canada, Greenland" edited by J.C.H. King, Birgit Pauksztat, and Robert Storrie.  

2006 "The Kashmiri Shawl: From Jamavar to Paisley"
by Sherry Rehman and Naheed Jafri  

2007 "Material Choices: Refashioning Bast and Leaf Fibers in Asia and the Pacific"
by Roy Hamilton  

2008 "English Embroideries: Twixt Art and Nature 1500-1700"
by Andrew Morrall and Melinda Watt  

2009 "Uncommon Threads: Wabanaki Textiles, Clothing, and Costumes"
by Bruce J. Bourque and Laureen A. LaBar  

The purpose of the award, administered by Textile Society of America, is to encourage the study and understanding of ethnic textile traditions by recognizing and rewarding exceptional scholarship in the field. You may contact the Society to nominate a colleague. The competition is open to all: books must be in the English language, or substantially so.

Nominations for 2010 must be submitted by March 1, 2011. 

Further information contact: 

  • Textile Society of America
  • P.O.Box 70
  • Earleville, MD 21919-0070. 

General information on the Textile Society can be found online at http://textilesociety.org  

HOME Book List How to Order More on RL Shep
Contact Fred Struthers, distributor Costume
R.L. Shep and The LA County Museum of Art Book Award and the Textile Society

Your source for books on authentic costume, fashions and uniforms from the Civil War, Edwardian, Regency, Victorian and other eras featuring historic patterns and tailoring systems.  Books on etiquette, customs, hats, sewing and needlework.