"Buyers within the store would be responsible for choosing the things they wanted featured in the ad," Rodkin says. "They would bring [the clothes] up to my office, and I would first sketch them on hangers, and then I would put them on figures." The figures were copied from tearsheets from other newspapers collected by the layout department and chosen to best highlight the clothes. "I liked high fashion the best," Rodkin says. "A large volume of ads were sale ads, where they'd feature a really good sale price, and the illustrations would be of dresses or house garments or lingerie. They would be kind of generic. But once in a while, I would get really nice fashion ads."
The illustrations featured in the exhibit are originals given to Rodkin over the years by the production department. "The production person would return some of the originals to me because they would store them, and they wouldn't always have room," she says. "Some things they thought were too nice to pitch."
"When Ads Were Art" at the Memphis Botanic Garden from January 5th-31st. The opening reception is Sunday, January 6th, from 2 to 4 p.m.