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

Elizabeth Fischer'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, Fischer describes improved wages, hours, and the ability to negotiate piece work rates for operators with the Marlene Dress Company organized ILGWU Local 274.

Genre: 
Photographs

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.

Genre: 
Photographs

Photograph of the notion (small items) department at The Donnelly Garment Company in the Corrigan Building at 1828 Walnut, Kansas City, Missouri. The employees in this photograph are measuring belts to be paired with garments.

Genre: 
Photographs

Photograph of a policeman and two protestors at a demonstration on March 17, 1937 by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. This image was 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. The sit-in turned into a riot as violence began between garment company workers, union protesters, and police. This photograph was taken near the back entrance of the building by Kansas City Journal-Post newspaper photographer George Cauthen.

Genre: 
Correspondence

A letter from International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) Kansas City Joint Board Manager Wave Tobin to Fred L. Smith of Gayfers Dept. Store, Mobile, Alabama. Tobin urges Smith to inform the Donnelly Garment Company that Gayfers Dept. Store will no longer carry Donnelly garments. Tobin also outlines her grievances with the Donnelly Garment Company and presents her case to Smith.

Genre: 
Miscellaneous Documents

In this legal complaint, Paul F. Broderick, Acting Regional Director of the Seventeenth Region of the National Labor Relations Board, details the charges made against the Donnelly Garment Company by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Broderick lists thirteen points in which the Donnelly Garment Company violates the National Labor Relations Board Rules and Regulations.

Genre: 
Correspondence

A letter from International Ladies Garment Workers Union Special Representative Meyer Perlstein and Donnelly Garment Workers Union No. 124 President Virginia Stroup to the Donnelly Garment Company. In this letter, Perlstein and Stroup inform the company of harassment that Donnelly employees have experienced from coworkers after joining the union. Perlsten and Stroup explicitly state their intention to solve the matter peaceably.

Genre: 
Miscellaneous Documents

Lillian Wales' 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, Wales describes the working conditions at Donnelly Garment Company, treatment she received from supervisors upon joining the union, and the layoffs of unionized operators.

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.