LEAVELL, MARIE (ca. 1906–1952). Marie Leavell, fashion-store owner, was born around 1906 in Evansville, Indiana. She apparently moved to Dallas in 1920 with her family. She lived in New Jersey after her marriage, then returned to Texas in the late 1920s after her husband's company closed. During the Great Depression Leavell, who had never worked outside of her home, determined to survive the times by selling clothes from her living room in Dallas. At the end of the decade she invested $500 to open her own dress shop, and within a year she had made a net profit of $15,000. A few years later she moved her shop to the exclusive Highland Park area in Dallas. In 1949 she opened a second, larger store in a new Dallas shopping village on Lovers Lane; she eventually closed her Highland Park store. She aimed to provide direct competition to Dallas's best-known couture fashion store, Neiman-Marcus, by providing quality goods and specialized service. She succeeded largely through word-of-mouth advertising from satisfied customers. Leavell promoted her store more than herself; she was rarely photographed, but her name was known throughout the nation's merchandising circles as well as by her devoted customers, many of whom had the luxury of extravagant clothing budgets. Her abilities with her own store enabled her also to become part-owner of a large international fashion store, the Jane Engel Company. Marie Leavell suffocated after an accidental fall in her Dallas home on February 8, 1952. She was survived by one son and one sister. After a service at a local funeral home, her body was cremated. Leavell's son, John, inherited his mother's business. In the 1970s a Marie Leavell men's store opened, and the women's store added several specialty services. Into the 1990s the Marie Leavell store on Lovers Lane continued to be synonymous with exclusive clothing in Dallas and beyond.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, "Leavell, Marie," accessed June 29, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/flehg.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.