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Object Record

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Object Name Dress, Wedding
Catalog Number 2011.003.01
Description Wedding dress, believed to be silk, cream colored. Ankle length. Skirt has two tiers of eyelet lace, bodice is lace with v-neck. At the waist there is a wide silk satin belt and bow with long sash.
Collection LCHS Clothing Collection
Provenance Augusta Beutler was a dressmaker in La Crosse who opened a workshop in her home in 1909. She employed several women there, and made dresses for well-to-do women in La Crosse, including Frank Hixon's daughters.
Used By Augusta Beutler
Made By Augusta Beutler
Date 1914
People Beutler, Augusta
Search Terms Clothing
Wedding Dress
Dressmaker
Made in La Crosse
Featured in Things that Matter
Notes Augusta Henrietta Dobe Beutler was born on April 7, 1886 in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of George Dobe and Luise Krause Dobe. As a child she lived at 1221 South 4th Street. She attended the public school and completed grades 1 through 8. After finishing 8th grade she trained at Snow's College to become a seamstress, and was taught by Mrs. Tillman. (Snow's College was located upstairs at 4th and Jay Streets.)

In 1909 Augusta opened her own dressmaking shop which she operated until she married. The shop was on 4th Street between Ferry and Division. Six to eight women were employed here by Augusta. Her sister Minnie was one of them.

The dressmaking shop was prosperous. Augusta had the ability to prepare a pattern with only a rough sketch or a brief description from a customer. Most of her business came from the wealthy ladies of the city. In addition to making their regular clothing, Augusta designed and made most of the elaborate downs worn to the annual Charity Ball held at Germania Hall (at 5th and Market Streets.) On the evening of a Ball Augusta and her seamstresses would often sit on a fire escape and watch the arrival of the ladies wearing the beautiful gowns made in the shop. Augusta also designed and sewed the wardrobes for young women going off to college. She would sometimes live in their homes for a couple of weeks while making these garments.
Augusta had a great interest in music, and after she was self-supporting she bought a piano and began taking lessons. She continued these lessons until her marriage. After her marriage there was no time for music or a dress shop. Her life became one of child care, cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing.

Augusta married Arthur J. Beutler on June 10, 1914, and moved to 929 King Street. Four children were born while the family lived at this address. In August 1929 the family moved to 1414 Madison Street. Arthur owned and operated several grocery stores.

Augusta's one fun activity after marriage was a sewing club. The club was made up of twelve women form the First Lutheran Church. The group met once a month and the women became very close friends over the years. The ladies worked on their own sewing projects and also made items for the church bazaar. In the spring a picnic was held with all the club members' families attending. The sewing club was a great pleasure in Augusta's life for many years.
Augusta Dobe Beutler died on June 21, 1942 at age 56 after being ill for one year.

Biography of Augusta written by her son, Arthur.

Veil and headdress, along with her bouquet were recreated from the wedding photo, in 2016 for the exhibition [art]ifact: Where History Meets Art. Made by Deb Olson from modern materials, including silk netting and artificial flowers.

Images of Augusta Beutler in her wedding dress are attached to the record.

This 1914, ankle-length, two tiered, cotton and silk wedding dress was designed, made, and worn by Augusta Henrietta Dobe Beutler. Augusta Dobe was born in La Crosse in 1886, and after finishing the 8th grade she trained at Snow's College, located upstairs at 4th and Jay Streets, to become a seamstress. In 1909 Augusta opened her own dressmaking shop which she operated until she married. The shop was on 4th Street between Ferry and Division. Six to eight women were employed here by Augusta, her sister Minnie was one of them. The dressmaking shop was prosperous and most of her business came from the wealthy ladies of the city. In addition to making their regular clothing, Augusta designed and made most of the elaborate downs worn to the annual Charity Ball held at Germania Hall, at 5th and Market Street. Augusta married Arthur J. Beutler on June 10, 1914 and closed her business to be a wife and mother.

Featured in Things that Matter

"What better way to welcome winter than a gorgeous, white wedding dress?

During wedding preparations, so much time and energy go into dress shopping (as it should) to pick out the perfect dress. That is exactly what Augusta Dobe did … well, kind of.

Dobe was a dressmaker and seamstress who opened her own shop in 1909 at Fourth and Division streets after finishing her education at Snow’s College in downtown La Crosse. She employed six to eight women to help her, which included her sister, Minnie.

The shop was successful due to the patronage of wealthier women who had Augusta and her staff design and make regular clothing along with fanciful gowns worn to social events in La Crosse. Augusta also would design and sew wardrobes for college-bound women and would sometimes stay at their homes while finishing the garments.

With her expertise in dressmaking, Augusta made her own wedding dress in preparation for her marriage to Arthur Beutler, a local grocer, in 1914. The dress is a combination of machine work as well as hand sewing, with a satin sash situated at the waist of the dress. The wedding gown is considered to be fashionable for the era because of its lace motifs and evening wear influences."

This article was originally published in the La Crosse Tribune.
Title: 1914 Wedding Dress
Author: Katrina Bjornstad
Publish Date: December 5, 2015