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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1126

Fashion collection of Dorothy Roebuck, 1957-1961


Photographs and programs of fashion shows featuring the designs of African American designer Dorothy Roebuck.


  • 1957-1961

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Dorothy Roebuck as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.21 linear feet (1/2 file box)

Collection includes photographs of models at fashion shows in New Jersey and Ohio featuring Dorothy Roebuck's designs. Many photographs are stapled to construction paper mounts and in several cases the models' faces are obscured by gold stars. Programs for the fashion shows are also included and contain biographical information for the designers. Fashions include casual and play clothes; suits and afternoon attire; and cocktail and evening dresses.


Dorothy Roebuck, an African American fashion designer, was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1923, the daughter of Malry and Elizabeth Roebuck. She had four siblings, Sandy, Joseph, Sarah, and William. She graduated from Dunbar High School and worked as a civilian typist at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base during World War II. She studied fashion at the Dorothy Edwards School of Design and Dressmaking in Newark, New Jersey, and the Traphagen School of Fashion in New York City, and was the junior partner in the Dorothy Edwards Originals shop in Rahway, New Jersey, which specialized in custom-made clothes. In the mid 1950s, Roebuck began exhibiting her designs at fashion shows held at the Dayton Strivers Club, a social club for African Americans in Dayton, Ohio. Some of these shows also featured the work of Dorothy Edwards. Roebuck also displayed her work in shows in New Jersey and New York. Her designs were well received at these shows, but she was not able to support herself by her design work. She worked for the New Jersey Housing Authority for eighteen years before retiring. Roebuck died in 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2021-M45

The fashion collection of Dorothy Roebuck was acquired by the Schlesinger Library from Between the Covers in 2021.

Processing Information

Processed: May 2021

By: Susan Earle

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by Carl & Lily Pforzheimer Fund, Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, and Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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