Southern Methodist University

James K. Wilson family business collection

A Guide


Creator: Wilson family
Title: James K. Wilson family business collection
Dates: 1930s-2013
Abstract: This collection contains materials from James K. Wilson Sr. and James K. Wilson Jr. regarding their careers in the menswear retail industry. James K. Wilson Sr. founded Jas. K. Wilson Co. in Dallas in 1946. His son also ran the family business, and later held leadership positions with Hart, Schaffner and Marx, and Greif and Co.
Accession No: MSS 83, MSS 83X
Extent: 4 boxes (6 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

James K. Wilson (1891-1972) was born in Slayter, Missouri, and after a short stint as a railroad telegrapher, moved to Temple, Texas. He opened a store in Dallas in 1914, and formed Victory-Wilson Clothing Store by 1920. After successfully opening six other stores, he sold his store and opened the Jas. K. Wilson Clothing Co, mostly known as Jas. K. Wilson in the Dallas area. Hart, Schaffner and Marx later merged with Jas. K. Wilson. Wilson was active in his profession, Dallas civic affairs, and charitable causes. He was also a participant in President Eisenhower’s Conference on Technical and Distribution Research for the Benefit of Small Business.

James K. Wilson Jr. (1918-2003) was a Southern Methodist University alumnus. He met his wife, Elizabeth Hemphill, while a student at SMU. After beginning his career at the age of twelve with the family business and succeeding his father as President of Jas. K. Wilson Co., he began working for Hart, Schaffner and Marx in 1963, and later worked for Greif Companies beginning in 1975. While working for Hart, Schaffner and Marx, he created celebrity endorsement relationships with Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, and Jack Nicklaus. Like his father, James K. Wilson Jr. was active in civic and charitable causes. He was also named Man of the Year by the Associated Menswear Retailers of New York in 1981.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection contains mostly business materials from James K. Wilson Sr. and Jr. The majority of the collection includes marketing materials, speeches, clippings, and photographs regarding the following men’s retail companies: Jas. K. Wilson Co.; Hart, Schaffner and Marx; and Greif Companies. Of special note is a letter from President Eisenhower to James K. Wilson Sr., and James K. Wilson Jr.’s scrapbook of SMU.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into two series:
Series 1: James K. Wilson papers, 1930s-1972
Series 2: James K. Wilson Jr. papers, 1940-2013


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Wilson, James K.
Wilson, James K. Jr.
Jas. K. Wilson -- History.
Stores, Retail -- Texas -- Dallas.
Men's clothing industry -- History.
Businessmen -- Texas -- Dallas.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

James K. Wilson family business collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Gift, Lynn Wilson Hamby, 2014.

Processing Information

Framed prints and photographs were unframed and stored in flat archival boxes. Scrapbook pages were removed from binders and organized in acid free folders. Folder titles from the family were retained.

Processed by

Cynthia Franco, 2014.

Finding aid written and encoded by

Cynthia Franco, 2014.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: James K. Wilson papers, 1930s-1972
3 boxes

James K. Wilson Sr.’s papers in this series include a scrapbook of clippings, photographs of his stores, and marketing materials.
Box Folder
1 1 Opening of Jas. K. Wilson Co., 1515 Main Street, 1947
2 Hart, Schaffner and Marx 50th anniversary, April 4, 1947, Chicago. James K. Wilson, speaker
3 President Dwight D. Eisenhower thank you letter to James K. Wilson Sr., 1954
4 James K. Wilson Sr. photographs
5 Photographs, 1930s-1970s
6 James K. Wilson Sr. obituary, May 2, 1972
Box Folder
2X James K. Wilson Sr. portrait
Box Folder
3X 1 James K. Wilson scrapbook, 1930s-1960
2 Newspaper ads and brochures, 1946-1950s. Lynn Wilson Hamby [James K. Wilson’s granddaughter] featured in December 24 and 31, 1946 ads
3 Jas. K. Wilson Co., 1940s
4 Jas. K. Wilson Co. Highland Park store photograph and brochure, 1950s
5 Opening of Wynnewood location of Jas. K. Wilson Co., newsclippings,1960
6 Opening of Wynnewood location of Jas. K. Wilson Co., photographs,1960
7 Jas. K. Wilson catalogs, ads

Series 2: James K. Wilson Jr. papers, 1940-2013
3 boxes

James K. Wilson Jr.’s papers begin with Southern Methodist University materials and a photograph album regarding his Air Force experience. Included in this series are marketing materials for each of the retail stores in his career, speeches, badges, a coffee mug, and clippings.
Box Folder
1 7 SMU Phi Delt and 1968 Distinguished Alumnus Award scrapbook pages, 1940-1997
8 James K. Wilson Jr., Commander of the Dallas Squadron Air Force Association, 1947-1948 photograph album [leather album cover at end of box]
9 Allan Shivers [Texas governor] letter to James K. Wilson Jr., 1956
10-11 Letters to James K. Wilson Jr. regarding his move to Hart, Schaffner and Marx in Chicago, 1962-1963
12 Best Wishes Jim Wilson Jr., January 16, 1963, Jas. K. Wilson Co. Employees, Farewell Dinner hosted by Employees at Dallas Athletic Club [photographs]
13 Hart, Schaffner and Marx Design Guild, 1968
14 Hart, Schaffner and Marx – Johnny Carson, 1970-1972
15 Hart, Schaffner and Marx – Bob Hope, 1973
16 Hart, Schaffner and Marx – Louis Jourdan color ads, 1974
17 Hart, Schaffner and Marx clippings, photograph, 1966-1975
18 Greif and Co., New York
19 Greif press release and clippings, 1975-1977
20 The Living Labels of Greif blazer and slacks stock program, 1978
21 Greif photographs of Jim Wilson and Lord Churchill, and Tom Weiskopf
22 Men’s Clothing – Profit or Problem?
23 Speeches, 1965
24 Speeches – Illinois Retail Merchants Association in Champaign, April 16, 1965
25 Speeches, 1966
26 Speech – Delaware Institute of Technology, Seminar for Smaller Business, March 21, 1966
27 Speech – Seminar for Rochester Institute of Technology, May 10, 1966
28 Speeches, 1967
29 Speeches, 1968
30 Speeches, 1969
31 Speeches, 1971
32 Obituary, eulogy by Lynn Wilson Hamby, list of people Jim met in the “rag” business, 2003-2013
33 Badges – Bob Hope Desert Classic; Johnny Carson Newsweek Tournament; National Retail Merchants Assocation; The Playboy Club credit card
Southern Methodist University fiftieth anniversary coffee mug
Box Folder
2X Bob Hope in Hart Schaffner and Marx ad as it appeared in April 10, 1967 issue of Newsweek
Storefront print of Hart Schaffner and Marx store
Print of doctor in ad with labels, Donald Brooks, Guy Laroche, Chaps, Lanvin, and Tom Weiskopf Sportswear
Plaque of November 23, 1979 cover and article of Men’s Wear magazine
Box Folder
3X 8 James K. Wilson Jr. clippings, 1950s
9 Ad for opening of Wynnewood location; Women’s Wear Daily ad featuring James K. Wilson Jr. for Dupont, 1960s
10 Hart Schaffner and Marx – Jack Nicklaus, 1971-1975
11 Hart Schaffner and Marx – marketing, centennial, 1968-1987
12 Hart Schaffner and Marx – Society Brand Ltd. Fall 1973 The International Man leather portfolio
Box Folder
4X James K. Wilson Jr. scrapbook, 1940-1980s