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Kathleen Catlin papers

Identifier: Mss072

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains personal correspondence, including handwritten and typed letters, clippings, flyers, and invitations. Also included are family photographs and letters dating to her childhood in Southwestern Minnesota.

Records from her career as a high fashion buyer for Munsingwear, and later the Fashion Director for Marshall Fields include advertisements and promotions, memos, market reports, speeches, photographs, and scrapbooks. The collection also contains correspondence between Catlin and fashion industry leaders including Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain, Madame Gres, Coco Chanel, and Christian Dior, with whom she was especially close friends with. Additionally, the collection contains fashion magazines, her notes and commentary on over 15 years of fashion shows, and her summaries on French couture and European fashion trends.


  • 1872-1990

Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright is retained by the copyright holders

Biographical Note

Kathleen Catlin (1907-1995) was an influential, successful, and well-respected leader of the fashion industry for over 30 years. Her role as a high fashion consultant, buyer, and fashion director directly shaped the uniform of the American woman, and introduced American consumers to European designers and couture. Following her retirement from the Fashion Director of Marshall Fields in 1962, Catlin and her husband left Chicago to return to Lyon County, Minnesota, where she was born and raised.


20.4 Linear Feet (49 Hollinger boxes)


Collection contains personal correspondence, family photographs, inter-office memos, advertisements and brochures, photographs, and scrapbooks


The collection is organized into the following series:

  1. Business Correspondence
  2. Business Papers
  3. Publicity and Awards
  4. Christian Dior
  5. Fashion Booklets and Clippings
  6. The Fashion Group
  7. Fashion Houses
  8. Foreign Travel
  9. Formfit
  10. General Correspondence
  11. Magazines and Booklets
  12. Marshall Field's
  13. Munsingwear
  14. Paris Couture
  15. Personal Clippings
  16. Personal Correspondence
  17. Photographs
  18. Illustrations
  19. Scrapbooks
  20. Sewing Patterns
  21. Speeches
  22. Tobe Fashion Reports

Physical Location

AV (R1, D1, S4; R2, D7, S5); Mezz (R70, D2-3, S3); HB (R8, D15, S12)


Transferred from the Goldstein Museum of Design, University of Minnesota

Processing Information

The collection was processed by University archives staff in the early 2000s, and the finding aid written by Carley Ruemmele, 2016, both with generous support from Creative Heritage Initiative donors.

Kathleen Catlin papers
Carley Ruemmele
September 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Literary Archives Collecting Area