Nora C. Edwards established the Edwards Skirt Supporter Company around 1903 in Spooner, Wisconsin to market and sell her patented invention. The purpose of the skirt supporter was to fasten a dress skirt and a shirt waist together, preventing the shirt waist from slipping up the back and the dress skirt from dropping below the waistline. From 1903 to early 1905, Edwards traveled throughout the Southern and Midwestern United States, making contacts and hiring women agents to sell the skirt supporters. By September 1905, Nora Edwards permanently relocated to Buffalo, New York, where she maintained the company's headquarters.
The collection comprises personal and business correspondence received by Nora Edwards between 1887 and 1917 from family members, agents, friends, and patent attorneys. The letters often combine personal and business matters. Letters from friends and family members mention Edwards’ business as well as family matters and give descriptive accounts of life in rural Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Indiana. Letters from agents for the Edwards Skirt Supporter Company contain orders for additional supporters and descriptions of working habits and efforts to interest customers. For a detailed description of the collection, click here to view the finding aid.Image: Printed flyer for the Edwards Skirt Supporter Company, on top of which a sales agent has written to Nora Edwards. Click to view.