Frick, Carole Collier

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Frick, Carole Collier


Education: San Diego State University, M.A., 1987; University of California, Los Angeles, Ph.D., 1995.


Office—Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, College of Arts and Sciences, Campus Box 1608, Edwardsville, IL 62026. E-mail—[email protected]


Academic and historian. Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, associate professor and graduate advisor, then professor and graduate director.


Dressing Renaissance Florence: Families, Fortunes, & Fine Clothing, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2002.

Contributor to various academic books. Contributor to periodicals and academic journals, including Carte Italiane, Left History, H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, Renaissance Quarterly, and UCLA Historical Journal.


Carole Collier Frick is an academic and historian. She earned a master of arts degree in 1987 from San Diego State University, writing her thesis on the topic of fifteenth-century upper-class women in Florence, Italy and their roles in society. In 1995 she completed a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her doctoral dissertation focused on early modern European history, particularly on clothing and gender roles in fifteenth-century Florence. Frick went on to work in academia at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. She served as an associate professor of history and as a graduate advisor before being promoted to full professor of history and graduate director. Her research interests include material culture in early modern Europe, Renaissance era clothing and fashions, gender studies, kinship and family studies, and art from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. She has taught courses on similar subjects, including the history of Renaissance-era Italy, Europe during the Reformation period, medieval and Renaissance-era economics in Europe, gender studies in early modern Europe, and Renaissance historiography. Frick is a contributor of articles and book reviews to a number of periodicals and academic journals, including Carte Italiane, Left History, H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, Renaissance Quarterly, and the UCLA Historical Journal. She also contributes widely to academic books and anthologies.

Frick published her first book, Dressing Renaissance Florence: Families, Fortunes, & Fine Clothing, in 2002. The book serves as one of the first full studies on the fashion industry in Europe during the Renaissance. Frick provides her views on the political and social significance of fashion and clothing in Florentine society. She includes a number of black-and-white photos interspersed throughout the text to show the innovations and evolving styles of fashion throughout the Renaissance. Frick discusses the significance of clothing types and fashions in the context of class levels in Florence and the importance it had upon one's standing in society.

Diane C. Donovan, writing in the Midwest Book Review, "recommended" the book, calling it "a fascinating college-level study." Jane Bridgeman, writing in the English Historical Review, commented that Frick "is to be commended for her achievement in extracting a considerable amount of information from primary and secondary sources." Bridgeman concluded that "this is a useful study, which one hopes will inspire future publications. Examination of the role and significance of dress in pre-industrial societies is still in its infancy, but it is arguably at its most fascinating in the city-states and duchies of Renaissance Italy, owing to the survival of both visual and written records." John T. Paoletti, reviewing the book in the Journal of Social History, found that "Frick's book is an important addition not just to the history of clothing, but to our understanding of social positioning within the visual field of Florentine culture. Clothing was a critical part of social rituals played out on the streets of the city, and as such deserves our attention…. [Frick] has gone a long way to integrating this visual culture into a mainstream history of the period; that is a noteworthy achievement."

Diane Owen Hughes, reviewing the account in the Renaissance Quarterly, mentioned that the author's "conclusions about the upward spiral of fashion in Renaissance Florence largely concur with those of earlier" experts in the field. Despite lacking originality, however, Hughes noted that "these conclusions are nevertheless supported with a wealth of well-deployed evidence gleaned from account books, inventories, letters, and literature. No one who reads her book will forget its stunning contrast between the trousseaux of the publicly displayed brides and claustrated nuns of the Minerbetti family." Hughes concluded that "this lively book should convince any skeptic that fashion was a serious Renaissance business, one that deserves more intense historical inquiry."



American Historical Review, April 1, 2004, Elizabeth S. Cohen, review of Dressing Renaissance Florence: Families, Fortunes, & Fine Clothing, p. 638.

English Historical Review, June 1, 2004, Jane Bridgeman, review of Dressing Renaissance Florence, p. 779.

Journal of Modern History, June 1, 2005, Sandra L. Rosenbaum, review of Dressing Renaissance Florence, p. 448.

Journal of Social History, summer, 2006, John T. Paoletti, review of Dressing Renaissance Florence, p. 1229.

Midwest Book Review, January 1, 2006, Diane C. Donovan, review of Dressing Renaissance Florence.

Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2003, review of Dressing Renaissance Florence, p. 247.

Renaissance Quarterly, summer, 2004, Diane Owen Hughes, review of Dressing Renaissance Florence, p. 574.

Sixteenth Century Journal, spring, 2005, David Jacoby, review of Dressing Renaissance Florence, p. 242.


H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, (August 1, 2004), Sandra Sider, review of Dressing Renaissance Florence.

Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville Web site, (June 10, 2008), author profile.

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