Velvet, silk, ribbon, taffeta
68 1/2” x 77 1/2”
MSUM 2011:159.16, Gift of the Apparel and Textile Design Program. Dept. of Human Environment and Design, Historic Collection at Michigan State University
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved Michigan
State University Museum
Nelson and Alice Jenison operated the Lansing Dry Goods Store at 121-123 N. Washington Ave. To the income from the store the Jenisons added income by means of investments; primarily in municiple bonds, but also in some stocks.
Their son, Frederick C. Jenison attended the Michigan Agricultural College (as had his maternal grandfather, Albert Cowles in 1857) and maintained a life long interest in the college. His interest and support of the schools athletic program--and financially supporting some athletes. While at MAC Frederick majored in Engineering, however his vocation became insurance sales.
On January 2, 1909, Federick married Amy Prudden of Indianapolis, Indiana. They resided at 800 N. Washington Ave. until 1917, when they moved to 403 Seymour. Frederick lived at this address until his death in 1939. In 1918 Frederick obtained a divorce from Amy. Two months after the divorce Frederick married Edith J., (the middle initial was later, legally changed) of Lansing, though born in New York. Approximately one year later Amy also remarried, one Scott Turner.
A successful businessman, Frederick owned and operated the Frederick-C.Jenison Insurance Agency of Lansing. The agency (staffed by Jenison and a secretary) sold general insurance and surety bonds, and was located in the Capitol National Bank Building (later called the Hollister Building). To the income from insurance sales commissions Jenison added income from the management of family property--the Jenison Building located at the corner of N. Washington Ave. and Ottawa St. The building was leased to the F.W. Woolworth Co. during the 1920s and 1930s. Both of these ventures proved profitable and during the 1930s Jenison was able to continue the family's practice of financial investments; his most active period of investments occured from 1932 until his death (1939).
Jenison was not severally affected by the Depression. Jenison gave to Michigan State College during the 1930s. Another indication of his wealth was his purchase (often annually) of new cars and paying cash for them.
Following his death in 1939, Frederick C. Jenison, having no heirs, bequeathed his entire half-million dollar estate to M.S.C. A portion of the legacy was used to pay for the building of the Jenison Gymnasium and Fieldhouse, located on the schools campus. Another large portion of the estate was used to pay for the extensive remodeling of the school's President's House. Since the entire estate was presented in Jenison's mother's name, Alice Cowles Jenison, the President's home was named the Cowles House in her memory.