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College of Human Ecology

Justin exhibit to portray Nelly Don legend Oct. 9-Nov. 11

Monday, September 24, 2007

The story of Nelly Don – the woman, the company and the legend - will be told in an exhibition opening Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the 328 Justin Hall.

Kansas-born Ellen Quinlan Donnelly Reed, better known as Nelly Don, was a pioneer in the clothing industry and a political force in mid-20th century Kansas City. In 1949, the woman-friendly Donnelly Garment Company factory was the world's largest dress manufacturing plant.

The exhibit, “Nelly Don: Dresses That Worked for Women,” will be built around Kansas State University's Historic Costume and Textile Collection and items on loan from Terence and Heather O'Malley, the University of Missouri at Columbia, Randy Bray and Union Station in Kansas City. O’Malley is Nelly Don’s great, great nephew.

Nelly Don garments offered style, quality, fit and fine workmanship at moderate prices, said Marla Day, museum curator.

“Her story is a dramatic one, filled with success, loss, tragedy and triumph. Her company was one of the most influential garment companies in the U.S. and she was one of the first female self-made millionaires in American,” Day said.

Hours are 1:30 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, and 1:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. The exhibit in the Department of Apparel, Textiles and Interior Design gallery, closes Nov. 11.

This article was posted on Monday, September 24, 2007, and is filed under Apparel, Textiles, & Interior Design.