Marion O'Brien Donovan Papers, 1917-1999 (primarily 1949-1996)
Donovan, Marion O'Brien (woman inventor) 1917-1998
Donovan, James F. Jr. Dr
Dodd, Sharon Donovan
Rabinow, Jacob 1910-
Saks Fifth Avenue
7 cu. ft. : 21 boxes
Color prints (photographs)
Dye diffusion transfer prints
Remembered as the "grandmother of the disposable diaper," Donovan was an inventor and entrepreneur who held over a dozen U.S. and foreign patents on products that addressed problems of personal health, beauty, and household needs. Her "Boater" diaper cover became a commercial success when she began selling it at Saks Fifth Avenue, 1949. She sold her company and diaper patents to children's clothing manufacturer Keko Corporation. Born Oct. 15, 1917 in South Bend, Ind., died November 4, 1998.
Correspondence, patents, photographs, newspaper clippings, and subject files about various inventors and ideas. Collection documents women inventors, American culture, 1950s-1970s, and products designed for women and the home. Donovan papers offer a near complete invention record, including both successes and failures, as well as partent and trademark correspondence.
Collection includes a videotape featuring Marion Donovan and Jacob Rabinow, interviewed by Barbara Walters, 1975.
Marion O'Brien Donovan Papers, 1949-1996, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Women in technology
Women in marketing
Women in advertising
2000.3006 (NMAH Acc.)
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment
Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves