Donnelly Garment Company

Displaying 1 - 12 of 130
Author: 
Rebekah Aycock
University of Kansas

Born Ellen Quinlan in Parsons, Kansas, Nell Donnelly Reed was the founding owner of the Donnelly Garment Company. The women’s clothing line became a national sensation. Reed’s was the first company to mass produce affordable and attractive ready-to-wear clothing for women. She was one of many people to capitalize on the garment industry’s move to Kansas City and other spaces outside of the Northeast. Reed was a talented designer who envisioned the mass production of flattering, beautiful clothing for working class women. After selling a few of her new designs to local stores, Reed decided to open her own shop. This was the start of the Donnelly Garment Company, officially founded in 1916. The innovation and glamour of Reed’s professional and social life in Kansas City, especially after her advantageous marriage to former-Senator James A. Reed, is clouded by accusations of her abusive managerial practices and her clashes with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union.

Author: 
Kelsey Carls
University of Kansas

James Reed was once an outsized figure in Missouri life and politics. An attorney by trade, Reed brought his skills as a shrewd prosecutor to each position he held in state and local government. A loyal ally to those he supported and a bitter enemy to those he disagreed with, Reed was sure to provoke strong responses in all who knew him. And though he was a polarizing figure in his day, often facing severe criticism and opposition, Reed never stopped fighting for what he believed in: a limited federal government, the sovereignty of the states, and individual liberty.

Genre: 
Photographs

Group portrait of uniformed Donnelly Garment Company employees at work in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri. A Santa Claus figure stands on far left.

Genre: 
Photographs

Group portrait of costumed Donnelly Garment Company employees attending a Halloween Party.

Genre: 
Photographs

Photograph with interior view of Donnelly Garment Company Christmas program at the Pla-Mor Ballroom.

Genre: 
Photographs

Group portrait of Donnelly Garment Company employees at company Christmas party.

Genre: 
Photographs

Portrait of men and women in costume at the Donnelly Garment Company Valentine's Day Party, February 8, 1929.

Genre: 
Physical Objects

Late 1930's pastel teal, short-sleeve, shirt-waist dress created by Nelly Don Inc. The garment features rhinestone buttoned top and matching belt worn at the natural waist.

Genre: 
Photographs

Group portrait of Nell Donnelly Reed and employees at the Nelly Don Pioneers group luncheon in Mrs. Reed's office, June 2, 1937.

Genre: 
Physical Objects

Calf-length black dress with floral embroidery detail and fabric waist belt created by Nelly Don Inc. in the 1940's.

Genre: 
Photographs

Group portrait of men and women in wedding attire at a Donnelly Garment Company Valentine's Day Party, February 8, 1929.

Genre: 
Physical Objects

Circa 1935 black, three-piece beach pajama with multicolor floral pattern created by Nelly Don Inc. This outdoor loungewear features yoked, high-waist, wide-legged trousers, sleeveless blouse, and accompanying waisted, bell-sleeved coverup.

Pages

KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.