Monday, August 22, 2016

How many women in the world are aware that they owe a debt of gratitude to a young lady called Mabel Williams.

Maybelline's namesake, Mabel Williams Hewes, Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary

August 17, 1892 is Mabel Williams Hewes Birthday.
On August 17, 1926, she married sweet Chet.  She's been gone 40+ years and she is still deeply missed by her devoted family. 

The resourceful girl had a flash of inspiration and burned a cork, mixed the ashes with some Vaseline and then applied it to what was left of her lashes. In an instant she resembled a Hollywood starlet! ‘Eureka!’ – mascara was born ! Not exactly of course. The art of dying lashes goes back to Cleopatra, but there was no removable cosmetic of this kind that a woman could buy over the counter.
Her brother Tom along with his brother Noel took this idea and developed Lash Brow Line – the worlds first commercially available mascara.In 1916 he changed the name to Maybelline – named after – you guessed it – Maybel Williams! The name being a combination of Maybel and Vaseline !
Maybelline's namesake, Mabel Williams Vintage Wedding Album pictures

Mabel may have put  the "M" in Maybelline, but, she had no interest in being just another "It Girl," or "Vamp."  She was a traditional, 32 year old, Southern Lady, waiting for her man to come along.  

Unbeknownst to her, Chester Randolph Hewes, was living in Chicago and working at Montgomery Wards, in the automotive, advertising department.

Mabel's brother, Maybelline founder, Tom Lyle Williams with the Bride and Groom and Chet's sister Bonnie.

At the time Chester, was involved with an English girl he'd met in England, while in the Navy, during

WW l.  He had said goodbye to her and her family after his stint was over, headed back to the US, got a job and was busy working.  When all of a sudden, Connie, her mother and several grown brothers showed up on his doorstep.
Mabel with her father, Thomas Jefferson Williams

He told her he did not want to marry her, but being a gentleman, arranged for an apartment for the family and  jobs for her brothers.  After awhile she realized Chester, just wasn't that into her, so, packed up her family and sadly, headed back to England.

1928 Mabel and Chet with their first child, Shirley

Mabel met Chester, through his sister Bonnie when he came to pick up Bonnie at a bridal shower given at the home of Chester's then girlfriend.  Mabel was also a guest and after Chester met her, he told a friend, Mabel was the girl he was going to marry.

1934, Mabel and Chet with their three children, Shirley, Tommy and baby Joyce.

Mabel is the Bell in Maybelline and still rings clear today and always.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Maybelline's King of Advertising, Tom Lyle Williams and his Film Queens

                   King of Advertising, Tom Lyle Williams

The man who would become a cosmetics giant, Tom Lyle Williams, was aprivate figure who hid from the public because when he launched the Maybelline Co., mascara was deemed the “province of whores and homosexuals.” To protect his family from scandal, and to stay out of view from the scrutiny of the press, Tom Lyle ran his empire from a distance, cloistered behind the gates of his Hollywood Hills Rudolph Valentino Villa.  He contracted movie stars to represent him in all forms of media.  From the earliest days of silent film he sought Photoplay stars, Viola Dana, Phyllis Haver, and Clara Bow.

Throughout the 1930’s “Golden Age of Hollywood,” he splashed magazines with glamour, using Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford and Merle Oberon to represent the ideal Maybelline image.  During the World War ll era, he turned to pin up girls like Bettie Grable, Elyse Knox, Hedy Lamaar, Rita Hayworth, and Lana Turner, to inspire the boys fighting for our Country and keep Maybelline ingredients flowing.  By the 1950’s, the girl next door, represented by Debby Reynolds and Grace Kelly, appealed to the emerging young mothers and housewives. When Maybelline appeared on Television in the early 1950’s, Tom Lyle decided to appeal to a more universal image and rather than promote film stars created the cool, exotic, sophisticated woman who would appeal to foreign as well as domestic markets.

Joan Crawford – had her teeth pulled and replaced to have a more beautiful smile and became Maybelline’s spokesperson for years.

Merle Oberon – was in an accident that disfigured the skin on her face, yet in films she looked flawless because of pancake make up.

Betty Grable - took over for the leading song and dance actress Alice Faye and became a big star in musicals as well As one of Maybelline’s top models.

Debby Reynolds - was to be Maybelline’s leading model in the 1950’s until Tom Lyle decided to change his ad campaign from the all American Girl to a more international exotic sophisticate in his TV commercials and print magazines.

Maybelline was the sole sponsor for the Grace Kelly, Prince Rainier lll, wedding in Monaco appeal to a more universal image and rather than promote film stars created the cool, exotic, sophisticated woman who would appeal to foreign as well as domestic markets.  

Monday, August 8, 2016

Maybelline, "The Little Company That Could"

Maybelline ad, 1936
As the Great Depression continued through the 1930's Maybelline cornered the market in eye cosmetics and money poured in from every direction. No other cosmetic company enjoyed more confidence and higher regard among the trade and had the envy among competitors as did Maybelline. Tom Lyle’s policy for perfection and his reputation for fairness set him apart and above all others in the field. Even his competitors agreed, there would never be another man like Tom Lyle Williams or a company like Maybelline. His sensitivity allowed him to see how women were affected by his advertising strategies. By 1939, Tom Lyle was at the top of his game. He was the most important executive in the cosmetic business. He never became selfish, egotistical, or self serving and his kindness and spirituality never ceased to exist.  Maybelline became known as "The Little Company that Could!"

1933 Maybelline Ad.

Tom Llye Williams, Maybelline's founder believed that a woman’s greatest asset was her ability to capture a man’s imagination through her expressive eyes.

Empowered for the first time since the Victorian era, women discovered a passion for imitating stars who exuded sex appeal on the screen.

Maybelline provided an inexpensive eye beautifier that enhanced a woman's sex-appeal while movies mirrored  celluloid forgeries professing  nonconformity with old world standards.  As Movie stars became models for America's changing values, Tom Lyle threw Maybelline in the dime stores in 1933 and as little cosmetic companies fell by the wayside or were bought out by Maybelline, The Maybelline Company went on to be the undisputed giant in its field during the Great Depression.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Ziegfeld Follies Star, Mary Eaton, featured in 1924 Maybelline ad

Mary Eaton, featured in beautiful Photoplay Magazine, February 1924.

Mary Eaton made her Broadway debut in 1917 with Adele and Fred Astaire in Over the Top. After that, she appeared in three editions of the Ziegfeld Follies

Mary did have a somewhat successful career. Her most notable films were both in 1929, including Glorifying the American Girl and Cocoanuts with The Marx Brothers. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Maybelline discovers "Miss Typical America" Eleanor Fisher in 1938

Here is an example of how the Hollywood Studio/Star System worked in the 1930's.  Paramount Studio's promoted True Confession, a 1937 screwball comedy film starring Carole LombardFred MacMurray, and John Barrymore, by running a "Miss Typical America" contest in a Maybelline advertisement.  The winner, Eleanor Fisher is given a small part in the film and the big teen story is splashed in True Confession magazine.

Eleanor Fisher, now Miss True Confession as well as Miss Typical America has not only become a Maybelline Model, she has a chance of becoming a Movie Star.
Eleanor Fisher and Fred MacMurray in a publicity shot for True Confessions magazine, promoting themselves, the film,  Paramount Studios, Carole Lombard and director Wesley Ruggles, which is a what it's all about in Hollywood.
This article in True Confessions Magazine, promotes make-up artist Max Factor, transforming Eleanor Fisher, from a simple school girl into a glamorous actress ready for her closeup with Carole Lombard.

Lombard's career had been flying high since the release of Twentieth Century in 1934, which had begun her friendship with Barrymore. Although Barrymore, by 1937, had become an uncontrollable alcoholic and his career was severely fumbling, Lombard personally requested him for the role of Charley Jasper.

 Helen and Ken are a pretty strange couple. She is a pathological liar, and he is a scrupulously honest (and therefore unsuccessful) lawyer... See full summary »

This poster was painted by the famous Pin-Up artist Zoe Mozart, who's work was known for being glamorous and sexy, it was perfect for ad campaigns for cosmetics such as Maybelline and for Hollywood films. In 1937 Zoe was hired by Paramount Pictures to create this poster for   
Cover also painted by Zoe Mozart.  Carole Lombard appeared in the February 1938 True Confessions Magazine, which came out at the same time as the film was being shown at neighborhood movie houses.

In the end, the film was not a great success and Eleanor Fisher went back to being anonymous.  However the Hollywood Studio-Star System was great as far as publicity was concerned. Maybelline sold truck loads of mascara, the Stars added more luster to their famous names and Paramount continued to be an ever expanding movie factory. So I guess in this instance, I can't say anything bad about The System, because there's actually no such thing as bad publicity... Why?...
because it's still PUBLICITY.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Happy 45th Birthday "GREAT LASH" mascara

Maybelline debuted its "Great Lash Mascara" in 1971. It is still recognized by it's Pink and Green Chartreuse packaging inspired by Lilly Pulitzer's vibrant hues and prints. It's been a staple on drugstores shelves and in cosmetic bags ever since. It has been reported that a "Great Lash Maybelline Mascara," is sold every 1.2 seconds. 

Called the protein Mascara "Great Lash" builds rich, full body onto lashes. Marketing people asked Maybelline Company researchers in 1970,  to come up with a Mascara to thicken and lengthen lashes better than anything on the market and would be easy to apply.  "Great Lash" was that product.            

Surveys taken by Maybelline's marketing team at the time indicated consumers didn't consider Maybelline products fashionable, still using the original "Eye" logo.  Updating product colors changed customer perceptions. Especially the teen market.

 The Lilly Pulitzer Brand was popular with high society. Because Pulitzer was close friends with Jackie Kennedy, her designs crowned her "The Queen of Prep." And, "Flower Power."

From the inspiration and dedication of Tom Lyle Williams to the the Merchandiser of Maybelline's new owners,  Schering Plough in 1971, Maybelline's "Great Lash" has remained an all time favorite Mascara for the last 45 years.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Maybelline model, Natalie Moorhead introduces sophistication in the 1930s

Cold as ice, Vampish Natalie Moorhead ended the Roaring 20's with pure sophistication and skyrocketed   Maybelline advertisements to a new artistic level.

Statuesque, platinum-blond American actress Natalie Moorhead entered films in 1929; by the end of the next year, she had nearly a dozen movies to her credit. Moorhead was most effectively cast in vampish roles, notably her turn as one of the suspects in The Thin Man (1934).

Tom Lyle must have seen Natalie Moorhead's potential to target a more mature, sophisticated woman, who by 1935, had been wearing Maybelline for nearly 20 years.  His brilliance as the King of Advertising was to cover the market with every single type of persona developing in the movies, especially after sound was born by the end of the 1920's.  Moorhead, in her films, represented a beautiful, ultra sexy mature woman who knew what she wanted and she wanted Maybelline.
Click here to see Natalie Moorhead's photo's and you will see what Tom Lyle saw in this seductive, calculating actress!

Read more about Tom Lyle Williams and The Maybelline Company in The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Beauty and the Dirt review of The Maybelline Story

The Maybelline Story starts out with fire and ends with fire and the fierce love Evelyn had for the two brothers burned in her until her untimely death in 1978. 

This sounds more like a movie than a real life story, but I guess all the best stories are based on truth. I knew about Mabel and her coal dust and petroleum jelly mix that was the inspiration for mascara. That is where the name Maybelline came from but for all the family drama that ensued well that is now in a book that looks like a must read to me.

Book Synopsis:
One of the first Maybelline posters

In 1915 sister Mabel Williams burned her lashes and brows, Tom Lyle Williams watched in fascination as she performed what she called ‘a secret of the harem’—mixing petroleum jelly with coal dust and ash from a burnt cork and applying it to her lashes and brows.Mabel’s simple beauty trick ignited Tom Lyle’s imagination and he started what would become a billion-dollar business, one that remains a viable American icon after nearly a century. He named it Maybelline in her honor. Throughout the twentieth century, the Maybelline company inflated, collapsed, endured, and thrived in tandem with the nation’s upheavals—as did the family that nurtured it.

Tom Lyle Williams—to avoid unwanted scrutiny of his private life—cloistered himself behind the gates of his Rudolph Valentino Villa and ran his empire from the shadows. Now, after nearly a century of silence, this true story celebrates the life of an American entrepreneur, a man forced to remain behind a mask—using his sister-in-law Evelyn Boecher—to be his front.

Stories of the-great-man-and-how-he-did-it serve as a traditional mainstay of biographies, but with the strong women’s book-buying market, a resurgence of interest in memoirs that focus on relationships more than a single man and his accomplishments are more likely to be discussed in women’s book groups. The Maybelline Story combines the best of both approaches: a man whose vision rocketed him to success along with the woman held in his orbit.

Tom Lyle and his siblings

 Evelyn, her son Bill, Sharrie and Tom Lyle)

In the way that Rhett Butler ignored the criticism of his peers to carve his own destiny, Tom Lyle Williams shares similar grit and daring. But Rhett without Scarlet wouldn’t be much of a story. Evelyn Williams provides the energy of an antagonist. Like Scarlet, we sometimes hate her and want to shake her, but sometimes, we must admit that we hold a grudging respect; we get a kick out of her and even occasionally, love her for her guts and tenacity, and certainly because she carved out a life for herself and insisted on having a voice, even if she was a fly in the ointment for others.

The Maybelline story provides other kinds of classic literary satisfaction. We are especially fascinated to slip vicariously into the lives of the rich and privileged yet cheer for the underdog who overcomes obstacles to astound doubters with his success. We are enthralled with the historical sweep of events whose repercussions live on to the present, all elements of The Maybelline Story—which reads like a juicy novel, but is in fact a family memoir, distilled from nine hundred pages of family accounts from the 1920’s to present.

An engrossing and captivating saga that spans four generations and reveals the humanity, the glamour, and the seedy underside of a family intoxicated by the quest for power, wealth, and physical perfection. It is a fascinating and inspiring tale of ambition, luck, greed, secrecy—and surprisingly, above all, love and forgiveness, a tale both epic and intimate, alive with the clash, the hustle, the music, and dance of American enterprise.
Sharrie Williams: The Maybelline Story is one I am buying now.
Click here for more beauty

Monday, July 4, 2016

Maybelline's Yankee Doodle Dandy Girl, Joan Leslie, stars with James Cagney, in 1942 all time favorite 4th of July film

       Maybelline Joan Leslie, endorses Maybelline 

James Cagney and Joan Leslie, in 
Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) is one of Hollywood's greatest, grandest and slickest musicals. The nostalgic, shamelessly-patriotic, entertaining film also supported the war effort as it paid tribute in its mostly fictional story to a popular Irish/American entertainer and the grand American gentleman of the theatre in the early 20th century.

James Cagney, spent several weeks touring the US, entertaining troops with vaudeville routines and scenes from Yankee Doodle Dandy

James Cagney with Joan Leslie, Lobby Card. In September 1942, Cagney, was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Joan Leslie has a star on the Hollywood

 Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Maybelline Story reads like the best fiction but with real characters and plots that take us on an American dream wild ride.

From the Midwest through Chicago and Hollywood, we follow a path strewn with scandals, jealousies, triangles and betrayals. Throw in arson, a still-unsolved murder and even the Feds and Mafia and you have an exciting and bumpy journey that leaves more than one casualty in its wake. And Maybelline was along for the ride. 

The characters seem larger-than-life yet somehow remain vulnerable and sympathetic This is a family that continually grasped at the shiny ring only to discover that it might be no more than their own reflections staring back, sometimes accusingly, in the mirror. 

The legacy is in good hands with Ms. Williams. She's a true storyteller and writes with passion and candor while bluntly sharing her own resolve to rise above her 

family's lifelong mantra of money, beauty and the search for perfection. It's a critical but tender tale of redemption that displays an understanding, compassion and love for her family. She never gave up on her dream to tell this story and literally braved fire and fury to share it with the world. It's a book that you really can't put down, a true page-turner and I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. 

You'll never look at a Maybelline ad again without feeling a tug of empathy for these characters and the struggles and determination of one man's effort to capture beauty on a brush and change forever the color palette of the world.

Monday, June 13, 2016






I love reading books. Some books are good, some great, but ONLY a couple of them are exceptional like the book "The Maybelline Story". This is really a MUST to read. You will be smitten by this book, it is fabulous! You will be instantly transferred to the last century of Hollywood glamour and beauty, but also you will be witnessing the hard work of the founder of iconic Maybelline - Tom Lyle and his family.

      When I started to read this book, I forgot about the world around me. I was just reading and reading. I couldn't put the book down. Tom Lyle, founder of Maybelline was a remarkable person, businessman from the very early age.He saw opportunities everywhere. He wasn't afraid of any challenges. He had a driving force and strong belief that hard work would lead to success.    And his finely tuned instincts paid off.

      In the book I learned about "harem secret". What is it? The core business of the Maybelline brand. You will found out, when you will read the book.

      I like the company philosophy that every woman deserves to look her best. Every marketing guru should "learn" about newspaper headline "Miss Maybelline Stops Traffic", where a coincidence is more than years of planned marketing. This book can easily be valuable marketing textbook. Who is Miss Maybelline? It is Evelyn B. Williams. Independent, strong and confident woman with style, muse of Tom Lyle.


  1. 1)Never say never
  2. 2)Glamour is just civilized sex.
  3. 3)Eating canned spaghetti, can be act of patriotism. 
  4. 4)The most important, that "Feelings have to be hidden and a smile should be your umbrella" by Evelyn Williams aka Miss Maybelline

What an exciting family saga, full of hard work, pain, intrigues, disappointments but also joy, glamour and fortune with shocking and unexpected end. I already can see a great movie in the future about it! And Sharrie you are a very talented writer. If you are interested to buy the book, you can do it at: Book is sold out at most bookstores, I had hard time  buying it!

         By Marietta Spiska

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