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Loula Long Combs 100th Birthday Celebration on Friday, January 30, 1981

The content of this video came from a PowerPoint slide show that was used at Loula Long Combs 100th Birthday Celebration party.  It contains the pictures which best describe Loula, a lover of animals, especially her horses and her dogs.  It was said that Loula had a pet skunk in her bedroom at one time!

This video also describes Loula's personality, and the music seems to fit her outlook on life.  We think that this is a good way to “liven up” (Jazz Up) the web site.  Loula was born January 30, 1881 - died July 5, 1971.

 

Try “Full Screen.”
Try “Full Screen.”

  Hit “Esc” to return.
  Hit Esc” to return.

 

This page on Loula’s Hats is 1 of 10 sections
describing the unique Loula Long Combs.
Click on the menu buttons above to learn more.

(CLICKING on most pictures will produce enlargements.)

Young Loula Long with a famous big hat with lots of feathers

Young Loula Long with a
famous big hat with lots of
feathers.  She is posing with
her favorite Boston Terrier.

Welcome to my educational pages about Loula Long Combs.

For over 20 years I have been doing presentations on women’s history, fashion history and famous ladies.  Loula Long Combs is one of my all-time favorites.  (Click “Loula Program” in menu above.)  In 2007 I was given the extraordinary opportunity to be the executive producer of a film about the Long family for PBS, Ours to Give: The Long Legacy of an American Family.  It went on to receive four national awards.  (Click “Film - ‘Ours to Give’” in menu above.)

R. A. Long, Loula’s father, was a lumber baron who made his fortune during the booming days of westward expansion.  Later in life he became a great philanthropist and an early pioneer in the forest conservation movement.  (To read more about R. A. Long visit www.ralonghistoricalsociety.org.)  He was one of the great men of Kansas City history, and his daughter Loula went on to become one of the great women.

Loveable and unique, Loula Long Combs (1881–1971) lived the life of a prosperous Victorian lady, but with her own special  flair.  As a young women she lived in Kansas City’s most opulent home, a 70-room mansion called Corinthian Hall.

Her love of animals dominated her life, and animal welfare was her passion from an early age.  She became the mistress of Longview Farm in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, a grand and elegant country estate.  It was at Longview Farm that she could fully indulge her zest for life and her fondness for nature and all its creatures.

Loula had a special love for horses and became an accomplished horsewoman.  Referred to as the Dowager Empress of the horse show circuit (and by later observers as Kansas City’s Ellie May), she was quite a character.  Featured in Sports Illustrated, Life and National Geographic, she made her mark nationally and internationally as a ground-breaking woman in the male-oriented (carriage) driving class of the horse show circuit.  Colorful and kind, glamorous yet  also down to earth, this lady has stolen the heart of everyone who has come to know her, and I’m happy to share some of her special magic with you through stories, images and never before seen art.

I hope you enjoy this intimate exposure to a “Great Lady.”

This page on Loula’s Hats is 1 of 10 sections
describing the unique Loula Long Combs.
Click on the menu buttons above to learn more.

(CLICKING on most pictures will produce enlargements.)

 

Loula’s Hats

 
  • Where She Shopped

  • The Loula Long Combs Hat Collection of
    Vintage Nouveau – Fashions From the Past

Where She Shopped

Loula Long Combs loved to shop.  Some  of her favorite hat shops were Jean Coventry Hats ( Imported – Original – Exclusive), at 306-9 Waldheim Building in Kansas City; the Emery, Bird, Thayer department store; Albert Hat Shop at 203 Altman Building; and Swanson’s on the Country Club Plaza.  Shopping at each of these locations was a treat in which Loula loved to indulge, and she had some of the finest, most enormous, and lavish hats – in an era of enormous and lavish hats.
 

Jean Coventry Hats is the scene of one of my favorite stories about Loula, recounted in an interview by KC Star society reporter Laura Rollins Hockaday.  The article is rightfully titled “Great Lady of A Grand Era.”  CLICK HERE to read this delightfully humorous story about Loula’s hat-shopping adventures.

Receipt from Jean Coventry Hats is from
the Vintage Nouveau – Fashions From the Past Collection

 

Picture postcard of the elegant Emery, Bird, Thayer department store
Picture postcard of the exterior of Kansas City’s most elegant Emery, Bird, Thayer department store.

Emery, Bird, Thayer was an elegant department store from the 1890s, lavishly appointed with fountains and Art Nouveau styling.  It closed in 1968 and was torn down in 1971, but luckily, some of the interior features were salvaged and repurposed for use in a fun restaurant called EBT, located at I 435 and State Line Road.  That location is a perfect venue for a Vintage Nouveau – Fashions From the Past program about Loula Long Combs.  (Click “Loula Program” in menu above.)

EBT Restaurant is still open today
EBT Restaurant is still open today, and it makes a great setting for a program about Loula Long Combs.

Another Loula favorite was The Altman Building named for the grandfather of Hollywood movie director Robert Altman.  The earlier Altman was a successful KC entrepreneur.  Well-known in the financial district of Kansas City, businessmen liked the highly ornamented Turkish baths in the basement, and ladies loved the five stories of posh  retail shops above.  The building featured hand-carved ceilings and intricate wrought iron railings.  It was located at the center of the commercial district of Kansas City on the  opposite corner from Emery, Bird, Thayer.  The Altman Building had a lunch room called The Tip Top Cafeteria on the sixth floor.  It was the creation of society ladies Judy and Kitty Harvey (of the famous Fred Harvey family).  This was the place to see and been seen, to shop, and to acquire the most fabulous hats available in the Midwest.
 

Swanson’s Department Store
Swanson’s Department Store

Swanson’s department store was another lovely  place to shop, located in the charming Country Club Plaza.  Like much of the Plaza, its architecture was right out of Seville Spain, with fountains, fancy tile work, and lots of wrought iron.

The Loula Long Combs Hat Collection

The following photos are from the
Vintage Nouveau – Fashions  From the Past
Hat Collection.

Black horsehair hat from Albert, 203 Altman Building, circa 1950s
Interior of black horsehair hat
belonging to Loula Long Combs,
showing the label from Albert,
203 Altman Building
circa 1950s

Purple straw picture hat from Albert, 203 Altman Building, circa 1950s
Purple straw picture hat owned by
Loula Long Combs.  Interior photo
shows label from Albert, 203 Altman
Building, Kansas City – circa 1950s

Purple velvet hat with feathers and rhinestone ornament, circa 1950s
Interior photo of purple velvet hat with feathers and rhinestone ornament, circa 1950s – owned by Loula Long Combs.
This hat shows a label from Fanny and Hilda Inc., 26 East 55th Street, New York
– and a second label from Swanson Inc.,
Kansas City.

Gray straw hat, circa 1950s
Gray straw hat, circa 1950s,
owned by Loula Long Combs.
Note the labels:
An Original by Dajon New York,
and purchased at the Chasnoff
department store in Kansas City.

Fanny and Hilda label from Loula Long Combs’ purple velvet hat.
Fanny and Hilda label from
Loula Long Combs’ purple velvet hat.
Brown velvet hat, circa 1950s, purchased at Fanny and Hilda Inc., 26 east 55th Street, New York.
Interior photo of brown velvet hat, circa
1950s, owned by Loula Long Combs
and purchased at Fanny and Hilda Inc.,
26 east 55th Street, New York.

This collection of vintage hats was given to Bonnie Hansen of Vintage Nouveau – Fashions From the Past by the Miners family.  The hats came from Longview Farm in the 1960s, and may have been worn by Loula Long Combs herself or purchased by her as gifts for the ladies who lived and worked on the farm.

“Mrs. Combs had a very generous nature and also loved to shop,” explained Linda Mason, author of “The Longview We Remember.”  (Click “More Reading” in menu above.)  “She enjoyed visiting her favorite downtown department stores and purchased large quantities of clothing and other items to give as gifts to the people who worked for her.  She had a special gift closet on the 3rd floor of the mansion which was filled to overflowing with her purchases.”

Rita Miners, who worked for Longview Garden Center for many years, met fashion historian Bonnie Hansen, a popular speaker on Loula Long Combs, and gave her this collection of hats from the farm.  She wanted them to be shared with the community, and she knew that Bonnie could do that through her popular educational talks.

Bonnie lovingly restored the hats, which had suffered some damage over the years.

Rita’s then-93 year old mother-in-law, Mary Miners, was a volunteer at the garage sales at Independence Boulevard Christian Church.  Mrs. Combs often donated her gently-used clothing to rummage sales at the church, and she donated these hats in the 1960s.  Mrs. Miners purchased them and then stored them in her garage for over 40 years.  They were favorite “dress up” costumes for the grandchildren and were often used for trick or treat and Halloween parties.

In Bonnie’s experienced hands the hats have now been restored to the beautiful condition you see in these photos.  They are also being carefully stored in archival conditions so that they survive for future generations.  These hats hold valuable clues to Loula Long Combs’ taste and shopping habits.

Sincere thanks to Rita for the generous donation!

Spectacular picture of Battenburg Lace Hat fashioned from horse hair, circa 1950s
Spectacular picture of
Battenburg Lace Hat fashioned from
horse hair.  Purchased by Loula Long
Combs, circa 1950s, Albert,
203 Altman Building, Kansas City

Regal purple straw picture hat with silk floral trim and netting, circa 1950s
Regal purple straw picture hat with silk
floral trim and netting, owned by Loula
Long Combs, circa 1950s.  Purchased at
Albert, 203 Altman Building, Kansas City

Spectacular purple velvet hat with elaborate feather and rhinestone trim, circa 1950s
Spectacular purple velvet hat with elaborate feather and rhinestone trim, circa 1950s, owned by Loula Long Combs.  Hat has labels from Swanson’s and Fanny and  Hilda

Brown velvet hat, circa 1950s
Brown velvet hat, circa 1950s,
from Fanny and Hilda Inc.,
26 East 55th Street, New York.
Owned by Loula Long Combs.

An assortment of Loula Long Combs hats, circa 1950s
More Hats – an assortment of Loula Long Combs hats, circa  1950s, on display for a program at Manor Care Assisted Living in Overland Park, Kansas
Large gray straw picture hat with pale gray multi tone silk bow, circa 1950s
Large gray straw picture hat with pale
gray multi tone silk bow, circa 1950s,
owned by Loula Long Combs.  An Original by Dajon New York, and Chasnoff.

 

 

  All About Loula 

All About Loula Loula’s Gardens Long Family Dress
Photo Gallery Original Art Stories
Loula Program Scrapbook Film -“Ours to Give” More Reading