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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.

Petition for injunction in Equity Case No. 2924: Donnelly Garment Company and Donnelly Garment Sales Company, Plaintiffs, vs. International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and all members of said union as defendants in this class action. In this petition, the plaintiff asserts the ILGWU has been conspiring to force employees of the Donnelly Garment Company to join the defendant union. This includes employees already part of the Donnelly Garment Workers Union.

Date: 
July 5th 1937

Amended bill in equity in Equity Case No. 2924: Donnelly Garment Company and Donnelly Garment Sales Company, Plaintiffs, vs. International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and all members of said union as defendants in this class action. In this petition, the plaintiff asserts the ILGWU has been conspiring to force employees of the Donnelly Garment Company to join the defendant union. This bill in equity lists 39 statements from the plaintiff that outlines their case against the ILGWU and its members. The document then lists the requested injunctions.

Date: 
September 4th 1937

Statement from Circuit Judge Van Valkenburgh in Equity Case No. 2924: Donnelly Garment Company and Donnelly Garment Sales Company, Plaintiffs, vs. International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and all members of said union as defendants in this class action. In this document, Circuit Judge Van Valkenburgh presents a summary of the case and his interpretation of the same. He then outlines the legality of requesting injunctions or for their dismissal. Van Valkenburgh also includes excerpts of testimony from Wave Tobin, manager of the Kansas City Joint Board of ILGWU.

Date: 
December 31st 1937

Findings of fact and conclusion of law in Equity Case No. 2924: Donnelly Garment Company and Donnelly Garment Sales Company, Plaintiffs, vs. International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and all members of said union as defendants in this class action. This document, created by Circuit Judge Arba S. Van Valkenburgh and District Judges Albert F. Reeves and Merrill E. Otis, lists 20 facts found during the case and 29 conclusions of law.

Date: 
December 31st 1937

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.

An excerpt of the examination of George Cauthen by plaintiff attorney Mr. Depping. Cauthen, a former newspaper photographer for the Kansas City Journal-Post, is shown a series of 18 photographs by Depping and is asked to describe details about the pictures. These included photographs document a demonstration on March 17, 1937 by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. These images were captured outside of the Gordon Brothers Garment Company, Gernes Garment Company, and Missouri Garment Company building at 2617 Grand Avenue (now Grand Boulevard), Kansas City, Missouri.

Photograph of the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri, occupied at the time by The Donnelly Garment Company beginning in 1928. This vantage point faces northeast on 19th Street from just east of Main Street.

Date: 
1937

Photograph of the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri, occupied at the time by The Donnelly Garment Company beginning in 1928. This vantage point faces northwest towards the front of the building from 19th Street between Walnut Street and Grand Avenue (now Grand Boulevard).

Date: 
1937

Photograph of the cutting room at The Donnelly Garment Company in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

Photograph of the cutting room at The Donnelly Garment Company in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri. In this photograph, the employees are working entirely by daylight.

Date: 
1937

Photograph of the bundling department at The Donnelly Garment Company in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

Photograph of the sewing department at The Donnelly Garment Company in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

Photograph of the sewing department at The Donnelly Garment Company in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

Photograph of the sewing department at The Donnelly Garment Company in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

Employees of The Donnelly Garment Company inspecting newly created clothing in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

An employee of The Donnelly Garment Company creating embroidery on a Singer embroidery machine in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

An employee of The Donnelly Garment Company using a shirring machine in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

An employee of The Donnelly Garment Company using a double stitching machine in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

An employee of The Donnelly Garment Company using a double stitcher seam binding machine in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri.

Date: 
1937

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.