IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County




Connrardy School of Dressmaking 1907
Click on photo to enlarge

Above, back row: Bertha Baker, Carrie Boehme, Julia Jensen, Anna VandeBrake.
Center row: Ella Brady, Alice Connrardy, Viola Christensen, Hannah Lane.
Front row: Matilda Steffensen, Dora Johnson. Class of 1907.


Almost every home has a recollection of a specialized school in Exira. The fact that it has not been in existence since 1925 makes it nonetheless important.

Mrs. Alice Connrardy, a resourceful individual, aware of the needs of the community in the line of home sewing, equipped herself by enrolling in the Baughman school of dressmaking in Chicago, about 1896. Prior to the turn of the century, she had taken into her home a few girls to train in the Baughman system.

In the years that followed, it is incredible the number of young women who learned the art of sewing. Her classes would number as high as 30 or 40. She held continuous classes, each course requiring six weeks. Her students came from many parts of the country, and after completing the initial course, would often return for advanced work.

The students were first taught to draft patterns, after which they learned the rudiments of sewing. In their refresher courses they would often sew on garments for other people who were hiring the sewing done. Mrs. Connrardy would return at intervals to Chicago to take refresher courses herself.

Fashion notes: Women in 1910 dressed in vogue had trims of Rattail, Coronation, Soutache braid and fancy cord trims. They wore beautiful hat pins. Dresses were shorter in 1922, with capes and fringe decorations. They were much shorter in 1929.

Transcribed from 100 Years in Exira, 1857-1957, History and Program, Centennial Celebration, Tues., Wed., Thurs.-July 2,3,4, Centennial History Committee, Exira, Iowa, 1957, pg. 75, by Cheryl Siebrass, January, 2015.

Blue Divider Bar

Connrardy School of Dressmaking - Undated

Undated - Click on photo to enlarge

Connrardy School of Dressmaking - Sept. 1913 Class

Sept. 1913 Class - Click on photo to enlarge

Connrardy School of Dressmaking - June 1914 Class

June 1914 Class - Click on photo to enlarge

Contributed by Ken Akers, January, 2015. Ken photographed the 1913 and 1914 class photos during a visit to the Audubon County Historical Museum. Please note that the surname is spelled Conrardy in one photo, and Marie Madsen is identified in the middle right of the bottom (1914) class photo.

If you can help identify individuals shown above, please contact the Audubon County Coordinator.