Sally Helvenston Gray

Associate Professor
Apparel & Textile Design

P 517-355-7716

214 UPLA, East Lansing, MI 48824



Sally Helvenston Gray has served as an associate professor in the Dept of Art & Art History since 2007, previously serving in the Dept of Human Environment and Design since 1985. Before coming to MSU she was on the faculty at Kansas State University. Dr. Helvenston Gray received her Bachelor of Music Education and her M.S. in Clothing and Textiles from Florida State University, and her Ph.D. in Home Economics from Kansas State University. She has been a member of Costume Society of America since 1975, has served the society in leadership positions at both the regional and national level and is currently Editor in Chief of Dress, the scholarly journal of the Society. In May 2010 she assumed the presidency of CSA. Other professional organizations which she serves include the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA), Textile Society of America, and the American Studies Association.


Dr. Helvenston Gray’s teaching includes courses in apparel design, history of dress and textiles, and material culture studies.  Her personal program of scholarship has focused on expanding our knowledge of everyday dress in the nineteenth century and interpreting nineteenth century women’s dress as social history.  This has led her to investigate a variety of topics, including frontier dress, nineteenth century apparel patents, plain sewing samplers, women’s cycling attire, work apparel, and functionality in nineteenth century women’s dress. Her contributions have appeared in numerous published papers, paper presentations, a book chapter, and several museum exhibitions.