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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Voigt Family Fashion Collection
Clothing and Accessories
Women's Clothing ➔ Bodice

This black bodice is made of silk and has elaborate beading on the front. There is also bead fringe on the front of the bodice as well as around the back of the collar. The sleeves are narrow and have lace trim around the cuffs. The boned bodice has jet buttons down the center front and a beaded standing collar. It was created by Miss F. McClelland Robes of Grand Rapids and worn by Clara Voigt Hake of the Voigt family of Grand Rapids. 
circa 1876 – 1900
Silk, Lace
24" h 20.5" w
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Gift of Kent County Council for Historic Preservation
Voigt House
The Voigt family, whose home is now preserved by the Grand Rapids Public Museum, moved to the city in 1875 and resided at 133 Court Street (now Scribner Street). The Voigt family partnered with the Herpolsheimer family in the dry-good and carpet business and in a few years the partnership expanded to include two flour mills -- the Crescent and Star mills located on the Grand River. In 1902 the partnership came to a mutual end. The Herpolsheimer family retained the dry-good store and the Voigt family kept the two mills. By the turn of the century, Voigt flour under several brand names, and later Voigt Cereal, were known across Michigan and far east as New England. Due to bankruptcy and a strike, the flour milling business came to an abrupt end in 1955. In 1895, Carl G.A. Voigt hired local architect William G. Robinson to design a house on 115 College Avenue Southeast to serve as his retirement home. It was modeled after the chateaux at Chenoceaux, France. The home is a fine example of Victorian architecture and complemented the Victorian family that lived in it.  It was lived in by just the Voigt family which was comprised of Carl Gustav Adolf Voigt, his wife Elizabeth Wurster Voigt and their children. They were the parents of nine children with six surviving until adulthood. The family lived in the home from 1895 to 1971. 

Kent County Council For Historic Preservation
The Kent County Council for Historic Preservation has several responsibilities that support the preservation and protection of our history. These include:
  • Recommending designation of new historic districts 
  • Reviewing applications for proposed alterations within historic districts
  • Enforcing the Historic Preservation Ordinance Chapter and cooperating with the state, federal and local governments in pursuance of its responsibilities
  • Conducting meetings or hearings necessary to carry out these purposes
The Historic Preservation Commission consists of seven members who reside in Grand Rapids. Members are appointed by the City Commission for three-year terms (two consecutive terms are allowed). Members shall have a demonstrated interest in or knowledge of historic preservation. Two members shall be appointed from a list submitted by the Kent County Council for Historic Preservation and one member shall be an architect duly registered in the State of Michigan.

Miss F. McClelland Robes
Francis McClelland, born March 1849, was a dressmaker in Grand Rapids, Michigan who was first listed in the City Directory 1876 and continued in the trade for about 44 years until December 2, 1919, also the year of her death. She is listed as the head of household in the 1900 census and was living with a boarder and two domestics in Grand Rapids. She was renting her home as a single woman in 1900. She arrived as an immigrant from Ireland in 1874 and was living with two other women who also immigrated in the same year. One of these women is listed as a housekeeper and the other is listed as a dressmaker. Her birthplace is England as is her mother’s birthplace; her father came from Ireland. She is listed as a modiste, meaning she was a fashionable dressmaker or milliner. She opened her downtown shop soon after immigrating at age 25. Francis McClelland, listed her business as Miss F. McClelland Robes labeled the garments she created and there are several pieces in the Collections of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.  She is buried in Oakhill Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Clara Voigt Hake
Clara Voigt was born in Michigan City, Indiana in 1868. She was the traveler in the family. On September 12, 1893, she married Dr. William F. Hake, a prominent physician in Grand Rapids. During their marriage the Hakes traveled extensively, enjoying trips in Michigan and around the United States, frequently accompanied by her sister, Emma. One of their most extravagant trips was the trip to Europe in 1900. For seven months they visited the countrysides and cities of western and eastern Europe; one of the stops on their itinerary was Mr. Voigts birthplace in Germany. The Hakes were married for 25 years when Dr. Hake died in 1919.  Clara continued to be the well-traveled family member after his death, visiting places all over the United States. Moreover, she returned to her parent's home and resided there until her death in 1952.
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Grand Rapids
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