Nell Donnelly Reed

All Library locations will close at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 17 for a staff development event. We will reopen for regular hours Thursday, December 18.

Nell Donnelly Reed, a pioneer in the field of women’s ready-to-wear clothing in the 1920s and 1930s, was largely responsible for making Kansas City one of the largest ready-to-wear clothing manufacturing centers in the world. Learn more about her in these books, films, and articles.

Related event:
Meet the Past: Nell Donnelly Reed, July 28, 2009

Nell Donnelly Reed

Nelly Don: A Stitch in Time (DVD)
Written, produced and directed by Terence Michael O'Malley
This documentary provides a biography of Nelly Don, the Kansas City woman who built a national dress design and manufacturing empire. She fought unions and kidnapping gangsters, married politician James A. Reed, and clothed military women during World War II.

Nelly Don: A Stitch in Time
By Terence Michael O'Malley
This companion book to the DVD tells the dramatic story of Nell Donnelly Reed’s life and includes many photographs and other illustrations.

Called to Courage book jacket

Called to Courage: Four Women in Missouri History
By Margot Ford McMillen and Heather Roberson
This book traces the lives of four women who played important roles in their eras. These women were exceptional because they had the courage to make the best of their abilities, forging trails and breaking the barriers that separated women's spheres from those of men. The women discussed are Nell Donnelly, Martha Jane Chisley, Olive Boone, and Ignon Ouaconisen.

Show Me Missouri Women: Selected Biographies
Missouri Women's History Project; general editor, Mary K. Dains
This volume includes biographies of significant Missouri women, including Nell Donnelly Reed.

Kansas City Women of Independent Minds
By Jane Fifield Flynn
This book includes a three-page biography of Nell Donnelly Reed.

Biography of Nell Donnelly Reed
By Barbara Magerl
This brief article, prepared by the staff in the Missouri Valley Special Collections, provides a brief overview of Nell Donnelly Reed and her accomplishments.

Nell Donnelly Reed, 102, Pioneer In Manufacture of Women's Attire”             
By Lena Williams, The New York Times, Sept. 11, 1991
The New York Times obituary for Nell Donnelly Reed.

Fashion history

Fashion Since 1900 book jacket

Fashion Since 1900: The Complete Sourcebook
By John Peacock
From the styles of the early 1900s to those of the twenty-first century, John Peacock charts the development of women's fashion in all its aspects: couture wear, leisure wear, day wear, evening wear, bridal wear, underwear, and accessories. Fashion's greatest designers and designs are all here. Arranged by decade, the drawings are accompanied by complete descriptions of each garment and accessory, including the fabric, cut, and pattern.

50s Fashion: Vintage Fashion and Beauty Ads
Edited by Jim Heimann
A compendium of clothing advertisements from the decade that brought us hoop skirts, sweater sets, cuff jeans, cat's eye glasses, and the classic James Dean jeans-and-T-shirt look.

As Seen in Vogue: A Century of American Fashion in Advertising
By Daniel Delis Hill
Through more than six hundred fashion ads that appeared in Vogue from the magazine's debut in 1893 through the next ten decades, Hill documents not only this symbiosis but also an evolution in American fashion, society, and culture. In rich progression, the images document metamorphoses: from alabaster Victorian homemaker to painted flapper in just a generation, from conformist fifties mom to miniskirt-clad iconoclast only a decade later, from power-suited yuppie of the eighties to the techno self-stylist of the new millennium.

Some descriptions provided by BookLetters.

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