Rose Mindlin Jacobson

Rose Mindlin's handmade hats were so admired that other women begged her to make theirs. When she could no longer keep up with requests, she hired help and opened a shop near 12th and Troost. That was a risky venture in 1904, but Rose was a risk-taker. Besides, she could work and keep an eye on her three boys, since the family lived at the back of the store.

Russian-born Rose Shklar came to the U. S. when she was 11 years old. Her family settled in Kansas. She married Barnett Mindlin in 1896, and in 1902 the couple moved to Kansas City, where he operated a jewelry store downtown.

Businessmen predicted a quick end to her store, which they said was too far from downtown. But the store was close to homes of many of her wealthy patrons. In an era when imaginative, custom-made hats were a major part of stylish women's wardrobes, her creations sold for high dollars. Her venture was extremely successful.

By 1918 she had opened a new store at 3221 Troost. In 1922 her son, Harold, became her partner. By the time her husband died in 1923, her business was established enough that it provided job security for her three sons. The store expanded its line to include clothing, and reportedly became the first store outside downtown to offer stylish ready-to-wear women's apparel.

Finally Mindlin's became part of downtown with a store at 1109 Walnut in 1929, followed by a much larger store in 1940 at 1014 Walnut. In 1932, Rose and family opened one of the first specialty stores on the exclusive Country Club Plaza. Mindlin stores were very popular, noted for fashionable clothing.

Rose married Abe Jacobson, a Topeka real estate investor, in 1936 and slowly yielded Mindlin's management to her sons. Eventually the third generation of her family operated the store she had begun as a young working mother. Rose Jacobson died in 1951 at age 74 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.

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A previous version of this article appears at: http://www.kchistory.org/content/biography-rose-mindlin-jacobson-1877-1951-retail-entrepreneur
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