The company was formed in 1889 by Henry David Lee as the
HD Lee Mercantile Company at Salina, Kansas producing
dungarees and jackets. The growth of Lee was prompted by the
introduction of the Union-All work jumpsuit in 1913 and
their first overall in 1920. Later in the 1920s Lee
introduced a zipper fly and continued to expand. Around this
time, the first children's overall line was sold. In 1928
H.D. Lee, founder and president of The H.D. Lee Mercantile
Company, died. During the 1930s and 1940s the company
became the leading manufacturer of work clothes in the US.
In 1944, the Lazy "S" became the official Lee back
In 1954, Lee expanded into casual wear.
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