1914 Wedding Dress

Katrina Bjornstad

Catalog Number: 2011.003.01

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

During wedding preparations, so much time and energy goes into dress shopping (as it should be) to pick out the perfect dress to say ‘I do’ in. This is exactly what Augusta Dobe did…well, kind of.

Augusta was a dressmaker and seamstress who opened her own shop in 1909 on the corner of 4th and Division 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 ladies who had Augusta and her staff design and make regular clothing along with fanciful gowns worn to social events in La Crosse. Augusta would also 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.

Augusta’s wedding dress is one of the objects that will be featured in the exhibition “[art]ifact , Where History Meets Art,” on display from February 26 through April 16, 2016, at the Pump House Regional Art Center. It will be displayed alongside a new piece of artwork created by artist Marcia Thompson, as a response to the history of the Beutler wedding dress. “[art]ifact” is a collaboration of the Pump House, the UW-L Public History Program and the La Crosse County Historical Society.

This article was originally published in the La Crosse Tribune on December 5, 2015.

This object can be viewed in our online collections database by clicking here.