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.
Reed, James A.
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.
American women’s growing participation in public and political life during the 1920s was the cause of much national tension and debate. While many Americans felt that a woman’s proper place ought to be confined to the home, increasing numbers of women demanded influence outside that narrow sphere. After gaining the right to vote in 1920, women in Kansas City made their influence felt through their work in women’s clubs like the Athenaeum. This early training in civic reform efforts would ultimately position Kansas City women as one of the more powerful forces for change during the reform elections of 1940.
Portrait of James A. Reed with finger in the air.
Photograph of Mayor Frank Cromwell and former mayors: (left to right) James A. Reed, George M. Shelley, Darius A. Brown, Leander J. Talbot, Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr., Cromwell, George H. Edwards, Jr., and Samuel B. Strother. They acted as honorary pallbearers at the funeral of Webster Davis at the Elks Club.
Photograph of James Alexander Reed (1861-1944), 3/4 length portrait, seated, facing left.
Clipping from the Pendergast-controlled newspaper The Missouri Democrat on June 13, 1930. This excerpt includes photographs of Thomas J. Pendergast, Thomas J. Pendergast, Jr., James M. Pendergast, and James A. Reed.
Three photographs of Senator James A. Reed with amusing captions.
Issue of the anti-corruption, Kansas City-based newspaper, Future: The Newsweekly for Today.
Issue of the anti-corruption, Kansas City-based newspaper, Future: The Newsweekly for Today. The front page includes a photo and article, continued on page 8, about "Dr.
Issue of the anti-corruption, Kansas City-based newspaper, Future: The Newsweekly for Today. The front page includes an article, continued on page 8, about the “lug,” “an involuntary or forced contribution to something a luckless employee isn’t nearly as interested in” as his and his family’s own welfare. Other featured articles include “T. J.
Issue of the anti-corruption, Kansas City-based newspaper, Future: The Newsweekly for Today. The front page includes an article, continued on page 8, about the Bond Advisory Committee of the Ten-Year Plan, made up of prominent Kansas Citians including R. Crosby Kemper and J. E. Woodmansee, and chaired by Conrad H. Mann.