Augusta Denton Roddis died aged 94 in 2011 in the family house on 1108 East Fourth Street, Marshfield, Wisconsin.
It was here that Augusta chose to preserve her family history.
The house became a museum filled with letters, photos, documents and trinkets, and in the attic the collection of vintage clothes dating back over 150 years.
This unique archive unlocks complex and compelling stories involving one American family over several generations, revealing through clothes and accessories very personal details about the people and the way in which they lived.Fashion in the Life of an American Family, 1850-1985: The Roddis Collection presents an opportunity to see over 300 costumes and accessories, beautifully preserved and complemented by contemporary objects, letters, and family photographs.
It combines tantalizing personal descriptions of whom the garments belonged to, when they were made or bought, and even where they were worn.
Stunning photography by Doug Mindell reveals the design and craftsmanship of the clothing in glorious detail.
The book opens with two engaging prefaces written by the authors: Jane Bradbury describes the joy of discovering the clothes in the collection for the first time, and Edward Maeder recalls how he was introduced to the Roddis Collection in 1972, and became its curator and historian in 2011.
The book is then structured into a blend of chronological and thematic sections, with individual designers and salons discussed in detail supported by thumbnail images of the entire collection.