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Display Briefs

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Display Briefs

Light yellow women’s brief-style underpants with a self-lined crotch, cuffs at leg openings, and an elastic waistband. Intended for display only and not to be sold or worn by a person. Made by Munsingwear Incorporated, a company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1960.

For more information or to purchase a photograph of this item, view these briefs in our collections database.

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Combination and dressing gown

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Combination and dressing gown

Combination and dressing gown with a large rose and foliage print in pink and aqua on a black ground. The combination has black lace trim down the front with three covered buttons and spaghetti straps. The knee-length dressing gown has a long shawl collar, a peplum, and a tie closure. Made of satin polyester. Designed by Monika Tilley. Made by Vassarette, a division of Munsingwear Incorporated, a company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

For details, view this combination in our collections database.

(Note: The comments section has been temporarily disabled while we upgrade the website. You can always leave comments on our Flickr Photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnesotahistoricalsociety/)

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Brassiere

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Brassiere

Long-line bra with whirlpool-style stitched cups, hook-and-eye adjustable back closure, and self fabric shoulder straps.  Made in 1950 by Hollywood Maxwell Company, which was acquired in 1958 by Munsingwear Incorporated, a company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Learn more:

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1964 Hollywood Vassarette Munsingwear Sales Promotion Kit

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Today, the “Penguin” golf shirt may be Munsingwear’s most recognized creation, but underwear was the company’s foundation. From 1890-1980, Munsingwear produced innovative undergarments, including the union suit and silk plated wool, for men, women, and children.

The Hollywood Vassarette division, established in 1958, specialized in women’s fashionable coordinated undergarments. This colorful sales promotion kit represents Munsingwear’s commitment to producing undergarments to complement a season’s trends and to create a desired silhouette. The 1964 sales promotion kit folder contains four full-color advertisements, a full-color foldout with merchandise display suggestions, and an illustrated booklet,  “A Re-cap of Our Fashion Notebook for Spring-Summer, 1964”, describing the current trends.


Sales Promotion Kit: Hollywood Vassarette, 1963. Munsingwear, Inc. Records. Minnesota Historical Society.

An online inventory for the Munsingwear collection is available at http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/00206.xml

Sehri Strom, Collections Assistant


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Merry widow

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Merry widow

Black lace merry widow. Strapless combination bra and girdle foundation garment, Hollywood Vassarette V-ette style 1079. Manufactured by Munsingwear, Inc. of Minneapolis, Minnesota, circa 1960s.

Starting May 7th, come see this piece and many more at Underwear: A Brief History at the Minnesota Historical Society.

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Don’t Say Underwear, Say Munsingwear

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

For nearly 100 years after its founding in 1886, the Munsingwear Company was known for its innovations in both style and manufacturing techniques and materials. The largest producer of branded underwear in the U.S., it was also the largest employer of women in Minnesota. Curator Linda McShannock explores the company’s numerous “firsts” over the course of its 100 year history, embodied by the slogan “Don’t say underwear – say Munsingwear”

icon for podpress  Podcast Video [4:45m]: Download (811)
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Vassarette bra, girdle, and half slip

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Vassarette bra, girdle, and half slip

This half slip, brassiere, and girdle represents Munsingwear’s first coordinated promotion between departments manufacturing lingerie and foundation garments using an Italian print named “Toulouse” with fabric coordination by Jean Hall of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Made of nylon and spandex by Munsingwear Incorporated, 1961.

Starting May 7th, come see this piece and many more at Underwear: A Brief History at the Minnesota Historical Society.

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Munsingwear loungewear ensemble

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Munsingwear loungewear ensemble

Orange and yellow loungewear ensemble with a quilted cropped vest, a sleeveless top, quilted skirt, and a slip. The orange vest has a yellow lining. The yellow sleeveless top has a band fastened by a button and two long sashes attached to the bottom of the top wrap around the waist over the band. The orange skirt has a yellow lining and a vent that runs along the waist to the skirt hem allows the slip to show under the skirt. Made by Munsingwear Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota, circa 1945-1955.

Starting May 7th, come see this piece and many more at Underwear: A Brief History at the Minnesota Historical Society.

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Perfection in Munsingwear

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Perfection in Munsingwear

An advertising oil painting dated 1914 shows two young girls wearing Munsingwear union suits while their grandmother approvingly looks on. Signed “Myles 1914″ at lower right.

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Knitting machine from the Munsingwear factory

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Wildman kniiting machine, frontWildman kniiting machine, side

This Wildman brand rotary knitting machine was used for knitting tubular knits at the Munsingwear Corporation, which was a Minnesota knitwear manufacturer for nearly 100 years, circa 1890-1980. It was on exhibit at International Market Square, which is the former Munsingwear headquarters. Originally belt-driven, at some point perhaps in the 1950’s it was apparently converted to run on a 220 volt General Electric brand motor.

The MHS Conservation Department, in particular Objects Conservator Tom Braun, put a great deal of work into this piece to bring it back to its current state. It needed to be cleaned overall but more importantly a broken leg needed to be repaired. Now it is whole, clean, and ready to be exhibited. Even the needles on top perform their intended action now! A quote from Tom: “I am very excited that when the hand wheel on this unit is turned (clockwise only please!) the whole machine moves as it was designed to.  Most exciting is that the needles can be seen to move in and out in a knitting motion.”

Wildman kniiting machineWhile we initially assumed we’d find synthetic fibers, analysis of lint found in the gears showed that this machine worked with 100% cotton fibers. To learn more about its operation, Dick Kaminski and Ted Mommsen, former Munsingwear employees responsible for customizing and operating this machinery, visited the Conservation lab and spoke with Tom and Linda McShannock, curator, about their experience with the machine.

This is one of our favorite things for what it tells us about the company, the direct link it establishes to the products it made, and the beauty of the object. Wildman machines were in use as early as the 1920s and continue to find use in the knitwear industry.  It created the raw material from which the majority of Munsingwear products were made. This knitting machine will be a key piece in the upcoming exhibit “Underwear – A Brief History” at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Munsingwear Knitting Mills

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