Saving America's Treasures

The Commercial Pattern Archive database, CoPA, provides a unique tool for researchers and designers to recreate or date clothing from 1847 to present. Collections from the US, Canada and the UK are represented in the database which functions like a Union Catalog of pattern collections. The Pattern Archive is a project of the US Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Costume Commission. The cornerstone of CoPA is the Betty Williams Collection.

Betty Williams, a theatrical costumer in New York City, pioneered research on commercial patterns in the early 1980s. She became a leader in the field, establishing a major personal pattern collection and encouraging others to actively participate in the collection and storage of patterns. Betty passed away in 1997 leaving a wealthy legacy of research, and an extensive pattern collection now housed at the University of Rhode Island.

The Betty Williams Collection is now combined with the Fashion Institute of Technology NYC, Joy Spanabel Emery and URI Distinctive Collections in the Commercial Pattern Archive in URI Library Special Collections.


The project is supported in part by:

Contributions from individual pattern enthusiasts.

Joy Spanabel Emery Endowment Fund, Rhode Island Foundation

Betty Williams Pattern Fund

United States Institute for Theatre Technology Edward F. Kook Endowment Fund,

United States Institute for Theatre Technology Commissioners Fund

University of Rhode Island Foundation Faculty Assistance Fund,

University of Rhode Island Council for Research,

The Rhode Island Foundation ADDD Fund,

The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

National Endowment for the Humanities