International Ladies Garment Workers Union

Displaying 1 - 12 of 109
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.

Genre: 
Physical Objects

Banner for the Coat and Suit Workers Local 270 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, as seen on display at the entrance to the Kansas City Garment District Museum.

Genre: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Death certificate for Lottie Conroy issued by the Missouri State Board of Health. She died on March 24, 1934, and her cause of death is listed as second and third degree burns resulting from her clothing catching fire.

Genre: 
Photographs
Clippings

Photograph of a woman with torn clothing, "caught in the middle of a fight between women garment workers and strike pickets," outside of a dress factory in Memphis, Tennessee.

Genre: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Wave Tobin's affidavit 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 affidavit, Tobin discusses the consolidation of multiple ILGWU locals, wage improvements in much of the industry, and his role with the local organizations.

Genre: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Sylvia Hull's affidavit 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 affidavit, Hull describes harrassment from supervisors and coworkers and being laid off from the Donnelly Garment Company after she joined a union.

Genre: 
Photographs

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

Genre: 
Photographs

Photograph of The Donnelly Garment Company 1936 Christmas Party, hosted by Nell Donnelly Reed at the Pla-Mor Ballroom.

Genre: 
Photographs

Photograph of policemen arresting protestors at a demonstration on March 17, 1937 by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. This image was captured outside of the Grand Avenue Building, location of the Gordon Brothers Garment Company, Gernes Garment Company, and Missouri Garment Company building at 2617 Grand Avenue (now Grand Boulevard), Kansas City, Missouri. The sit-in turned into a riot as violence began between garment company workers, union protesters, and police.

Genre: 
Ephemera

Application for membership to the Local No. 124 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, filled out by Katie L. McKinsey, age 26. At the time of application on January 18, 1934, McKinsey was employed at Donnelly Garment Company and had been a sewing machine operator for 6 years.

Genre: 
Photographs

Photograph of a Donnelly Garment Company picnic, hosted by Nell Donnelly Reed at Winnwood Beach. This photograph of the production maintenance personnel was taken by Anderson, KC. Winnwood Beach was once located near the intersection of Northeast Chouteau Trafficway and Interstate 35.

Genre: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Virginia Ousley Stroup's affidavit 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 affidavit, Stroup describes her experience working in the Donnelly Garment Company, addressing working hours and wages, the stress and pressure employees faced to speed up their work, and the company's practice of dropping piecework pay rates as efficiency increased.

Pages

KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
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