American Style and Spirit
Fashions and Lives of the Roddis Family, 1850–1995
- Publication Date: November 1, 2016
- Imprint: V & A Publishing
- Trim Size: 8 1⁄2 x 11 3⁄4
- ISBN: 978-1-85177-889-8
- Page Count: 304
- Illustrations: 250 color and black-and-white illustrations
- Rights: North America
Brought to life for the first time outside the attic in which they were stored for generations, here are more than 300 garments and accessories, beautifully preserved and complemented by archival objects, family photographs, and letters, as well as evocative descriptions of whom the garments belonged to, when they were made or bought, and even where they were worn—all by members of the Roddis family of Marshfield, Wisconsin. Author Jane Bradbury describes the joy of discovering the clothes when her aunt, Augusta Denton Roddis, showed her the astonishing collection. A remarkable resource, the book presents the garments and their designers in the context of the various eras in which they were created, from the turn of the 20th century through the 1920s and the Depression to the mid-1990s. Beautifully designed, this is a must-have for every fashion enthusiast.
“There is nothing more powerful and potent than clothing and this book celebrates the extraordinary nature of ordinary lives, and the power of clothing to bring history to life.”Hamish Bowles, International Editor-at-Large, Vogue —
“Fascinating insights into the significance of fashion in the lives of ordinary men and women.”Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator, Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York —
“This stunning book perfectly weaves together the fabric of fashion with the social history of America.”Karen Augusta, Fashion Appraiser and Owner, Augusta Auction Company —
"An extraordinary trove of clothing unearthed from the attic of a chic but thrifty lumber scion named Augusta Roddis. . . . Jane Bradbury wrote the substantive and mesmerizing book."The New York Times —
"More than 200 perfectly preserved garments and accessories, along with other materials, from a century and half of collecting. The story of the family that saved them and photographs of the items along with notes on fashion salons and a helpful glossary, make this book something special."St. Louis Post Dispatch —
"Detailed photos of the garments and five years of meticulous research about each piece are woven together to reveal stories about Marshfield and the nation. . . .The book brims with evocative descriptions of the garments and their original owners spanning 150 years of fashion and social history."Marshfield News-Herald —
"This magnificent survey of three generations of Roddis women and their families certainly encapsulates the changing times of American life.""The Culture Trip" blog —
"Don't be concerned that you've never heard of the Roddis family, as that is part of the point. . . .we are given a look at what many 'average' Americans were wearing in the years the book covers. . . .I am enjoying this book so much.""The Vintage Traveler" blog —
“The Roddis collection, now housed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, is a record of three generations’ clothes, accessories and related ephemera, which provide a fascinating insight into upper-middle-class American life from the 1850s to the 1990s. This rich account of personal and peer-groupTimes Literary Supplement —
taste is not just an absorbing micro-history; it is of broader sociological interest, and tells us much about the role played by dress in (auto)biography and memory.”
About the authors
Jane Bradbury studied at Sotheby’s Works of Art Course in London and has an MA from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts.
Edward Maeder has held curatorial positions at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and was founding director of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.