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A. Holland, Shoe and Clothing House
A. Holland, Shoe and Clothing House
TitleA. Holland, Shoe and Clothing House
DescriptionAdvertising card for A. Holland Shoe and Clothing House showing a scene of a church in winter inside a cresent moon next to a pink rose. Back of card is blank. Address given on front of card:
551 & 553 Main Street,
Kansas City, Mo.
Subject(s)Advertising cards
Shoe stores
Clothing stores
Local Subject(s)Holland's Shoe and Clothing House
Holland, Alexander
Dateca. 1880-1900
Item TypeAdvertising Card
Dimensions11 x 16 cm.
CollectionAdvertising Cards (SC3)
See finding aid: http://www.kchistory.org/u?/Local,37216
Company NotesAlexander Holland was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1823. At the age of six, he witnessed Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, lay the cornerstone for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Baltimore. Holland married in Maryland and had two children, a daughter, Mary Helen, and a son Charles. While living in Pennsylvania, they had Frank, who later went into business with his father.

The 1870 census shows the Hollands in St. Joseph, Missouri, but soon after the census was taken, Holland, who was then 46, brought his family to Kansas City to run a boarding house called Crafton House at 1013 and 1015 Main. The following year he set up in the auction and commission business in a building at 553 Main, the heart of downtown Kansas City. In 1880 he switched to selling clothing and shoes. He advertised his business on one of his trade cards with the caption: "Clothing, Gents' Furnishings Goods, Hats, Boots and Shoes."

In 1890 he incorporated the company with his younger son, Frank, as A. Holland and Son. The other son, Charles, appears off and on working in the same business, other times running a different shoe store in Kansas City, and returning to St. Joseph in 1893.

As his business grew, Holland expanded his store from 553 Main to include the facility next door. When Bullene, Moore, and Emery & Co. moved from the well known location on Main, Seventh, and Delaware streets, Holland moved briefly into that location. The orderly interior design and display of merchandise shown in the photographs in Kansas City: Its Resources and Their Development attest to Holland's business acumen. In 1892, he moved to 1021 Main, and 15 years later, across the street to 1032 Main. This last store occupied an area that later became part of the Macy's store and is now (2006) a parking garage.

Amazingly, Holland actively participated as president of the company until four years prior to his death in 1914 at the age of 91. His son Frank then took the reins and managed the Holland Shoe Company until his death in 1921. Thus ended 40 plus years of the Holland Shoe Company selling shoes to Kansas Citians.

Alexander Holland was a charter member of the Old Men's Association, sang with the Old Men's Quartet, and served as a founding member and president of the Kansas City Commercial Club. His family attended the Westminster Congregational Church and resided primarily at 302 W. 14th.

His daughter, Mary Helen, married a prominent Kansas City physician, Dr. Caleb Ritter, who donated his services to the Willows Maternity Hospital. Upon the death of Mrs. Susannah Holland, Dr. Ritter and his wife purchased the "Dorcas" stained-glass window for the church in her memory. Alexander and his wife Susannah and Dr. and Mrs. Ritter are all buried in Elmwood Cemetery.
See AlsoSC3, Box 8, Scrapbook 2, page 40
LocationSC3, Box 2, Shoes
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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AcknowledgementThis project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.
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