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Nell Donnelly Reed
Author: 
Jason Roe

Nell Donnelly and her chauffeur, George Blair, were kidnapped on December 16, 1931. Donnelly had become famous after her 1916 founding of the Donnelly Garment Company, which sold stylish but affordable dresses for daily wear by ordinary women. Backed by the sales of “Nelly Don’s,” as the dresses became known, the company grew into a multi-million dollar business with over 1,000 employees in the 1920s.

An autochrome photograph of James A. Reed's residence, taken from the southeast. Reed was a lawyer, county prosecutor, and mayor of Kansas City.

Date: 
September 22nd 1932

An excerpt of the examination of Elizabeth Gates Reeves by Senator James A. Reed. Reeves, an employee of the Donnelly Garment Company, is shown a series of 27 photographs by Reed and is asked to describe details about the pictures. These included photographs include exterior and interior shots of the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri, occupied at the time by The Donnelly Garment Company beginning in 1928. Pictured are company parties, employees, and equipment.

Photograph of James A. Reed and Nell Donnelly Reed's breakfast room in their home at 5236 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The caption reads, "#6 General view of breakfast room showing samll table and chair in south east corner near window. Opening into sunroom. Camera pointing south east. By Rich S. Welch, Operator."

Photograph of James A. Reed and Nell Donnelly Reed's breakfast room in their home at 5236 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The caption reads, "#7 Breakfast room. Close-up of small table and chair in south east corner and window opening into sunroom. Camera pointing south. By Rich S. Welch, Operator."

Photograph of James A. Reed and Nell Donnelly Reed's sunroom in their home at 5236 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The caption reads, "#8 Sunroom. Camera lens at eyes level equal to that of man sitting in chair nearest camera showing view into breakfast room thru window. Camera pointing north. By Rich S. Welch, Operator."

Photograph of James A. Reed and Nell Donnelly Reed's sunroom in their home at 5236 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The caption reads, "#4 Sunroom. Photograph made thru east window from outside. Camera pointing west. By Rich S. Welch, Operator."

Photograph of James A. Reed and Nell Donnelly Reed's sunroom in their home at 5236 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The caption reads, "#3 Sunroom from doorway to living room. Camera pointing south and west. By Rich S. Welch, Operator."

Photograph of James A. Reed and Nell Donnelly Reed's living room in their home at 5236 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The caption reads, "#2 Living room showing entrance to sunroom left and breakfast room right. By Rich S. Welch, Operator."

Photograph of James A. Reed and Nell Donnelly Reed's home at 5236 Cherry Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The caption reads, "#1 Southside of Senator Reed's home. Camera pointing north. By Rich S. Welch, Operator."

Letter from A. B. Seymour to Governor Lloyd C. Stark providing background and opinions on potential police board appointee Ralph E. Murray, describing Murray as "strongly anti-Roosevelt and anti-labor" and "very average as a practicing lawyer," and discussing Murray's coworkers and other connections.

Date: 
July 19th 1939

Letter from Haywood Scott to Governor Lloyd C. Stark discussing the relevance of the 1920s history of Democrats and Republicans crossing party lines in Missouri electoral politics, and in particular the 1922 primary election.

Date: 
August 12th 1938

Letter from Mrs. Louis M. Wilson to Governor Lloyd C. Stark prior to his election as Missouri governor, providing advice about his 1936 campaign. Regarding the Pendergast machine, she advises "you have to have them to win."

Date: 
May 14th 1935

Letter from Omar Robinson to candidate for Missouri governor, Lloyd Stark, advising him to speak out publicly against R. Emmet O'Malley, the Commissioner of Insurance.

Date: 
August 5th 1936

Letter from Democratic candidate for Missouri governor Francis Wilson in which he discusses the health of former senator James A. Reed, his own health struggles, his campaign headquarters in Platte City and his opponent in the primary, Russel Dearmont.

Date: 
February 1932

Letter from Kansas City Court of Appeals judge, Ewing C. Bland, to his uncle, Ewing Young Mitchell, Jr. on December 11, 1920. Bland inquires if Sanford Madden should continue his campaign for marshal since he does not have the support of all Kansas City political factions.

Date: 
December 11th 1920

Letter from Ewing Young Mitchell, Jr. to his nephew, Kansas City Court of Appeals Judge Ewing C. Bland, on December 31, 1920. Mitchell comments that Sanford Madden should not the support of all Kansas City political factions in order to be a strong candidate for marshal. Mitchell contends that Thomas J. Pendergast's endorsement is not needed if Madden has the support of James A. Reed and Judge Miles Bulger.

Date: 
December 31st 1920

Letter from Richard Perry Spencer to Ewing Young Mitchell, Jr. on February 1, 1932. Spencer believes that every Pendergast-endorsed candidate should be defeated in the upcoming primary. Otherwise, a precedent might form where candidates spend more time vying for the support of Pendergast than the support of the people.

Date: 
February 1st 1932

Letter from Frank P. Walsh, attorney and counselor at law, to Ewing Young Mitchell, Jr. on February 20, 1932. Walsh discusses Pendergast's patronage concerning Mitchell's and Franklin D. Roosevelt's individual campaigns.

Date: 
February 20th 1932

Letter from H. B. Blair to Ewing Young Mitchell, Jr. in early 1932. Blair admits that he will support Charles Hay and Dearmont if they start an anti-Pendergast movement, saying that as a Democrat he would rather have a Republican Missouri than one controlled by boss rule.

Date: 
1932

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.