Stella Blum was affiliated for many years with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute and became its curator in 1975. She graduated from Syracuse University and in 1940 joined the Museum of Costume Art in New York, three years after it was established by Irene Lewisohn and Aline Bernstein as the first museum devoted exclusively to costume. (Until then, museums collected costumes mainly for the sake of their fabrics.) Stella Blum was an educator, writer, scholar, international lecturer, and founding member and Fellow of the Costume Society of America (CSA). The Stella Blum Grant was established by the CSA after her death in 1985 and was first awarded in 1987.