The Sewer’s Art: Quality, Fashion, and Economy
February 26 – June 27, 2009
One of very few women to pursue the study of biology in the 1920s, Ruth Moore graduated from The Ohio State University in 1925, and received her Master of Science Degree in 1927. After three years teaching at Tennessee State College, she returned to OSU and received her Ph.D. in Bacteriology in 1933 — the first African American woman to do so. She had an illustrious career in higher education, teaching and serving as Chair of the Department of Bacteriology at Howard University from 1948-58. Ruth’s mother, an accomplished artist who trained at Columbus College of Art & Design, encouraged her daughter to pursue higher education. Further, she instilled in Ruth an appreciation for elegant clothing, classic style, and fine design.
Although she had no formal education in clothing design and construction, Ruth Moore knew how to sew (as did most young women of her era) and had an appreciation for fashion and a love for well-designed clothing. Known for her stylish appearance, as well as her academic achievements, Dr. Ruth Moore — scholar and scientist — constructed most of her personal wardrobe. She carefully selected fabric, patterns, and accessories that reflected the most fashionable garments of the period. Ruth so enjoyed and valued her wardrobe that she carefully kept and preserved her patterns, garments, and accessories, relinquishing them only when, in her 90s, she moved to a retirement center. Ruth Moore passed away in 1994. She was indeed a “renaissance” woman – a scholar, scientist, educator, and seamstress.