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Dr. Leslie Geddes' Scottish Kilt: A Piece of History

Geddes' kilt
Dr. Geddes at an early goat roast in his full kilt regalia.
Dr. Leslie Geddes' Scottish kilt is set to be archived in the Department of Theatre's Special Collection of Historic Dress. The collection features historic clothing, shoes, and accessories dating back to the 1850s.

Since 1997, the Department of Theatre's Special Collection of Historic Dress has been collecting historic clothes, shoes, and accessories dating from the 1850s until current times. Clothing belonging to the late Dr. Leslie Geddes, former Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University and winner of the 2006 National Medal of Technology, has found a place in this historic collection.

Joel Ebarb, Associate Professor of Theatre and Costume Design at Purdue, is the curator of the collection. Over the past fourteen years, Ebarb has been able to collect over 1,120 items through donations from members of the Purdue campus and community, thrift store purchases, and Ebay transactions. Historic items range from a 1900s Edwardian child's dress with 17 types of lace to 1960s caftans. All items in the collection are stored in Pao Hall's costume shop, and are available for teaching aids. Visitors are welcome to explore hands-on some of the collected items.

The collection has one famous Purdue connection. This connection comes from the closet of Dr. Geddes. His family donated his Scottish kilt to join other historic pieces. The kilt will remain in the possession of the Department of Theatre Special Collection of Historic Dress, and it will be used as a teaching aid and a tourist attraction. Ebarb says, "You can only get so much from a photo. The collection tells the story of Lafayette." He encourages everyone to go to Pao Hall and visit the collection. 

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