Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Maybelline Company opened its doors in 1915... creating a fascinating era in America's History

1943 - Executive Secretary to Noel and Tom Lyle Williams...
Dorothy Molander, stands in front of the Maybelline Company's
famous Maybelline logo on the double doors leading into the Maybelline building.  The Maybelline building was two stories with a basement and three apartments for family members who just got married and were getting on their feet.  The packaging and distribution center was also located in the basement.  The first floor held offices for various secretaries and other workers and the walls were filled with pictures of movie stars who modeled for Maybelline in the pages of world wind magazines.  The second floor contained the executive offices for Noel, Tom Lyle, Tom Jr and Rags Ragland.  The Maybelline Building was located at 5900 Ridge Ave, at Ridge and Clark, in the heart of down town Chicago where much of The Maybelline Story takes place during the gangster ridden era of prohibition.

Outside the Maybelline Building 1934.
When Maybelline was sold, each employee was given $1,000 for each year they worked at Maybelline. Even those who hadn't been there a full year got $1,000. Uncle Lyle's secretary Dorothy (aka Ducky) ended up with something like $35,000 as did another secretary called Jimmie. Jimmie called Mable to ask her to relay to TL how grateful was that she could retire after she got her $30,000 check. At the time my parents had a bookstore and a former employee came in and told them he was bowled over to receive $8,000. 

Tom Lyle, Jr. inherited his father's shyness. Mable's daughter Shirley worked summers at Maybelline and she said every morning TL Jr. walked briskly to his private office, said a brief hello to everyone and no one saw him again until the end of the day. On the other hand, Noel kept up with all the employees' and their families. The women who worked there loved him dearly and called him Unky.

When Tom Lyle died, his niece Shirley got a phone call from TL, Jr.'s lawyer.  He said Tom Lyle Jr. was too shy to go downtown to meet with the executor and lawyers and asked Shirley to do it. She went downtown to explain all the family members and their relationships to the family. Good thing she had and still has an excellent memory.  (Memories from Mable's daughters, Shirley and Joyce, and her granddaughters, Donna and Linda, who still live in Chicago.
Tom Lyle Williams at his home in Bel Air, after the sale of his Maybelline Company in 1968

TL left a big portion of his estate to the Salvation Army. For many years he rented them space in the Maybelline building for $1 annually.

Be sure to check out my new website, Sharrie Williams Author at

Monday, September 15, 2014

Maybelline "firsts": Movie Star Displays, Carded merchandise, improved self-serviced racks and three-step eye make-up...mascaras, pencils and shadows,

Excerpt from The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It.  

 Tom Lyle Williams was onto something that had eluded him, something far more exciting than any horse race or radio show. Tom Lyle marveled with Emery over two recent photos of Merle Oberon who’d been in a terrible accident the year before that left her face badly scarred. One picture had been taken of her without her make-up, and the pits and indentations in her skin showed up. Yet here was another picture that made her skin look flawless in spite of the damage. Make-up and clever lighting obviously helped keep her image stunningly beautiful without detracting from her exotic eyes, but something else was going on here. This was the faultless look Tom Lyle had dreamed of, and the image appeared in the kind of vibrant jewel tones that could only be the unique tri-color process from Technicolor. The photo in his right hand was ground-breaking. Technicolor had never been accomplished outside of moving pictures. Someone had worked with a lab to create a still shot from a reel of movie film. Excitement sent Tom Lyle’s pulse racing.

Thank you to my cousins, Ann Carneros, Linda Hughes and Donna Hughes for sending me the picture of Merle Oberon's Maybelline Display.  The vintage, late 1930's Display, was found in a second-hand shop and bought as a gift for Donna and Linda's mother, Shirley Hughes, (Shirley is Maybelline's namesake, Mabel Williams, daughter and my cousin Ann, is Noel J. and Frances Williams granddaughter.)  Siblings, Tom Lyle, Noel J. and Mabel Williams, were the original founder's of the Maybelline Co. in 1915.

Visit my new website Sharrie Williams Author at /

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My new interview in Chic Polish magazine, NEWS PRESTIGE BAG!

 The Maybelline Story was published in Poland as some of you might already know.  I have done two interviews in Polish news magazines since the book came out and recently was asked to do my third exclusive interview for News Prestige Bag!  Here are the links in Polish and English versions. I am very open and honest in this interview, which some may like and others may not, but, No matter what I hope you enjoy it and if you haven't read my book, order it from my new website, Sharrie Williams Author. 



 Be sure to drop by my hilarious 1964 high school diary blog, called Saffrons Rule, at

Monday, September 8, 2014

1960's introduced massive competition, here's how Maybelline stayed on top of their game

In the face of massive competition, Maybelline employed a national sales team, under Rags Ragland,

to cover independent drug, chain drug, and discount houses, to check on Maybelline's established Eye Fashion Center installations

and then send turnover orders to the indicated wholesale drug houses.

This was a major move, and it expanded Maybelline's budget, to over 6 million dollars, but it was worth it. 

Rags Ragland, with his remarkable communication ability was able to get the sales team to establish a separate operation, composed of 8 widely experienced men to run the whole thing.

These men represented Maybelline only, while many National sales teams, represented up to 40 companies
 at a time

With this set-up, Maybelline successfully met the big competitive threat,

and with the effective development and promotion of their display selling units, that sold to Woolworth, and was now used by K-mart,

they stopped their biggest threat, Chesebrough Ponds. from developing and marketing their competitive eye cosmetic items... 

and after about a year and a half, it was reported they lost many millions of dollars.

Maybelline was the most successful cosmetic company in the world, with a marketing sales team headed by
 Rags Ragland. 

With Maybelline's great success in 1966, Tom Lyle Williams, knew the time was right to sell his company to Plough Inc., a Pharmaceutical company in 1967, for 133 million dollars, or close to one Billion dollars, at today's rate of exchange

At the time of this mailing, August 1, 1966, I happened to be visiting my great aunt and uncle, Eva and Ches Haines, at their home on Lake Mercer, where this package was delivered.   It was that Summer I met my cousin Jerry Westhouse, Eva and Ches Haines, grandson and it was Jerry who found this interesting package of Maybelline history, still at the Lake Mercer home, and sent it to me.

A letter enclosed with the package from Rags Ragland, explains the beautiful displays he designed and truly what gave Maybelline the priceless "shelf value" it had and still commands today almost 50 years later.

My cousin Jerry Westhouse 1973.  Read more about his car racing history, 

Visit my beautiful new website Sharrie Williams Author

Drop by my hilarious 1964 High School Diary Blog called Saffrons Rule at

Monday, September 1, 2014

Maybelline's namesake, Mabel Williams-Hewes, granddaughter Trudy Hewes-Dietzen, was killed in a car crash, August 16th in Mtubamtuba, South Africa. She was 63.

Trudy Dietzen

1951 - 2014 | Obituary  Condolences 

Trudy and her twin sister, Terri was born April 23, 1951 to her loving parents Tom and Mary Hewes. Tom and Mary were married young and immediately started on a large idyllic family. Trudy's parents took the entire family including daughters Suzie, Terri, and Trudy and sons Tom, Michael, and David on annual vacations to Squirrel Lake in Minocqua, Wisconson.

Trudy and Keith Dietzen

Tragedy struck the young family in 1962 when Tom passed away due to melanoma. This loss had a big impact on Mary and the kids, but served to draw them all closer together. In 1967 Trudy's family moved to Barrington, Illinois. That summer, between sophomore and junior year at Barrington High School she met the love of her life and future husband Keith Dietzen.

A gifted artist, something she inherited from her father, Trudy loved art and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from Elmhusrt College in 1975.

Trudy's attraction to Keith knew no patience and the high school sweethearts were married between sophomore and junior year in college. Trudy and Keith lived and worked together, making the most of their lives, enjoying the simple things, anything, as long as they were able to do them together.

In 1975, Trudy and Keith had a very big year as they moved into their new home in Lake Zurich, started their family company, Keymark Enterprises, and started their family with the birth of their first son, Aaron Thomas. Two years later, in 1977, their family was complete with the birth of their second son, Brian Keith.

After 10 years in their Lake Zurich home, armed with a boldness and engagement that marked her family's life, they made a dramatic move, with the family and business in tow, to Colorado, their new home for the next 29 years. Despite their move west, Trudy's love and commitment to family compelled then to drive back to Illinois at least twice a year.

Trudy found contentment in taking care of her garden and home, joy in time with her family and friends, and humor in even the most mundane of situations. Trudy had love for all of her family, but no one on earth was more important to her than her five grand kids, Ella, Max, Grace, Clover and Satchel.

Trudy enjoyed a life of friendships at home and at Keymark, community with everyone in her family at St Mary Magdalene, and traveling the world with Keith, her best friend and love of her life.

Trudy was preceded by her parents Tom and Mary, her brother Michael, and puppies Rascal, Buddy, and Wiggle.

Trudy leaves behind her loving husband Keith, sons Aaron and Brian; grandchildren Ella, Maxwel, Gracelyn, Clover, and Satchel; sisters Suzie and Terri; brothers Tom and David; daughter-in-laws Katie and Kelly; and countless nieces and nephews.

Service will be held for Trudy at 10:00 this Saturday, August 30th at St Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church at 4775 Cambridge St, Boulder, CO 80301.

Donations in Trudy's honor can be made to St Mary's Endowment Fund. Income from this fund go to highly vetted outreach efforts, close to Trudy's heart.

Published in Longmont Times-Call on Aug. 30, 2014

By Nancy Markham — 
In Memory of Trudy Dietzen

Roger Markham died November 16, 2009.  From that date until I moved from Boulder, Colorado to Galveston, Texas on February12, 2012, my back door neighbors, Trudy and Keith Dietzen did all they could tocare for me.  Trudy died last Sunday.

Trudy, along with two others, was killed last Sunday in South Africa when a truck, hit headon, a vehicle in which Trudy was a passenger. Keith is still hospitalized in South Africa.  I am told he is expected to survive but details concerning the accident and his condition are not yet available tothose of us who mourn.

Roger and I had been in our new house in Lake Valley several months before Keith, Trudy and their two boys moved into their home, behind us.   The boys, Aaron, about ten , and Brian, eight, were in elementary school.  They had left their cousins, grandparents,aunts, uncles and friends in Chicago to live in Colorado.  They were sad and bored as the movers walkedfrom Van to house with their bedroom furniture. No trees, no grass, no flowers, just thirteen new houses in a barrendesert a long, long way from Chicago.

I was so happy to have a neighbor, happy enough to forgive them the fact that their newhouse blocked our view of the Flat Irons just to the south and west of us.  I took coffee, cookies and lemonade and introduced myself to the young family.

“How do you like your new house, ?” I asked the youngest, Brian.
“It’s okay but we’re bored!” he replied.
“We have a couple of skate boards in the garage. Would your folks let you skate board?”
“Sure”, said Aaron. “ Our Boards are in one of those boxes. It will take forever to find them!”

Their mother died last Sunday in South Africa.  I’m glad they didn’t know.

In the years that followed the Dietzens traveled back and forth between Chicago and Denver.  Trudy’s twin sister and familyvisited often.  Rog and I were alwaysincluded in the family gatherings.

I remember,years later, the evening Keith came over to our house, just to talk.  Brian, a senior in high school, knew exactly what he wanted to do when he graduated.   He  would attend the University of Colorado and major in theatre.

“He loves Shakespeare,” Keith groaned.  “How will he ever make a living with that?!!”

I was thrilled and insisted Keith take home one of my old Shakespeare books from the book case.  It was years before it was returned, still infairly  good condition, sadly.  In the meantime, Aaron went into his father’s computer engineering firm and Brian played King John in the Henry plays at CU’s summer Shakespeare Festival.  He was good, very good!

Brian traveled to South Africa to be with his dad this week because his mother died last Sunday, in South Africa.

When Roger died Trudy and Keith had me for dinner, dinner and a movie, out for a hamburger, to family gatherings when the children came home, to their parties,for a glass of wine when it was cold or a beer when it was hot.

Trudy could make a plate of a hot dogs and chips look like a feast.  Her meal presentation was such that I would break my diet of almonds and craisins to eat, pleasurably, anything sheprepared.

Trudy died last Sunday in South Africa.  I’m glad Ididn’t know.

When Brian decided to go to Los Angeles to get into the movies or TV, Trudy and Keith wereworried that it would never happen.  It wasn’t long, however, until several of us in the neighborhood would gather together at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday evenings to watch Brian as Dr. Palmer on NCIS.  I still watch faithfully every chance I get.

Trudy died last Sunday and Brian is with his dad in South Africa.  Not only can I not help them because I am no longer their back door neighbor but I don’t know how to comfort Keith, Brian, Aaron, Trudy’s twin sister, the grandchildren, including little Gracie,  and me because Trudy died last Sunday.
Trudy loved Star Lilies. The strong scent of the burgundy and white blossoms filled her home most days.  I hope there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Star Lilies at her funeral.  Perhaps they will help her get to where shei s going next,  because, she died last Sunday.

Trudy with her father, Tommy Hewes

I only met my cousin Trudy in Chicago, when I was there visiting in 1966.  I was 19 and she and her twin sister Terri were 15.  I just remember how sweet they were, just regular teenage girls, so cute and full of life.  I never saw them again, but...that special memory of our time together as young girls, will always remain in my heart, We share the same remarkable family history that bonds us forever.  I know someday, my cousin Trudy and I will meet again on the other side ,when we all reunite as a family once again.

Here is an excerpt from my 1966 diary, while visiting with my Cousins in Chicago

July 1, Friday, 1966 

Left my great aunt Verona and uncle Charlie's, (which wasn't easy) and went to stay with my great aunt Mabel and uncle Chet. They live in a small apartment, but, very nice.  They're as sweet as can be and are complete opposites from Verona.  They have a lot of money, but you'd never know it.  We went to the hospital to visit a friend, then out to dinner at the "Red Balloon."  we came home and looked family pictures, which were so much older than Verona's.  Auntie Mabel talks only about family and cry's when she speaks of her son Tommy who died a few years ago.

July 2, Tuesday, 1966

We went grocer shopping for the big family picnic on the 4th of July.  The store was right across the street.  We came home and looked through the family album.  It was really fun to see everyone looking so young.  They told me lots of stories about my grandfather Preston who died in 1936. Mabel cried and I did too.  Tonight we went to a movie and saw "Lady L," with Paul Newman and Sophia Lauren. I enjoyed it a lot.  Then we came home and auntie Mabel mended my blouse and we drank strawberry sodas.

July 3, Wednesday, 1966

We went to the Catholic Church at 12;00...came home and I wrote letters.  We ate at home at 4:00 and played scrabble, we each won a game.  Then I fixed the potato salad for tomorrow with mom's recipe.  I ate so much of it I went off my diet.  We watched tv and I read than called home. It was good to hear everyone's voices.  They want e to stay in Chicago and go to school.

July 4, Monday,1966

Had a picnic with all my cousins.  There were 7 of us girls, one 13, three 15, two 17 and me, 19.  We all got along like peaches and cream.  There really didn't seem like there was any age difference.  The three boys were always off somewhere.  We watched the fireworks from the front lawn.  I hated to leave the girls.  It's the first tie I'd been with kids, wince I got here.  I had a lot of fun.

July 5, Tuesday, 1966

Today, Suzie, Janet, uncle Chet and auntie Mabel and I went to Arlington to the races.  I started to thunder an lightning in the middle of 90 degree heat.  We lost all six races.  Later we went out to eat.  I got ink all over my new dress and ruined it.  Suzi and Janet and I went to the show and saw "Harper and the Silencers."

July 6, Wednesday, 1966

Uncle Chet took me to the Maybelline Company.  I met Tom Jr and all the other people.  It was fun to see where all the money comes from.  Later auntie Mabel and  uncle Chet and I went shopping at the famous indoor shopping center.  I bought my boyfriend Jon a Troll doll dressed in an Army uniform with a green beret'.  I also bought one for me for luck.

July 7, Thursday, 1966

All of us girls went to the Lake.  We packed a lunch.  Suzie's cousin came too.  She was very cute, loud and wild.  Suzie, Jannie (that's what they call her,) and I went shopping tonight at the big indoor plaza.  We cruised a place called Scotts and ate dinner there.  I really miss my friends, dances, music, parties, the beach and most of all Jon.

July 8, Friday, 1966

uncle Chet and auntie Mabel and I went out to lunch with Shirley, their oldest daughter. Then, they took e to a place called "The Golden Dolphin."  It's the most amazing place. The whole store is bathroom and bedroom fixtures and decorations. I went crazy in there and bought a miniature piano for my aunt Verona, a perfumed Angel candle for mom, a gondola for Mary and some bathroom soaps and spray for auntie Mabel.

July 9, Saturday, 1966

We visited Al Williams sister Neppy.  The father and daughter came home and we looked at family pictures.  Ann Louise, the daughter came home with us and we went out to dinner at  a Smorgasbord all you can eat restaurant.   Then, Ann Louise and I walked into the town and bought auntie Mabel and uncle Chet a box of candy and a thank you card.  I also bought one for aunt Verona and Charlie.  When we got back home, our cousin John Huber was there, he looks better than before, and we went to the show to see "A Thousand Clowns."

July 10, Sunday, 1966

Went to Church with auntie Mabel, uncle Chet drove us to the Cemetary to see Tommy's grave and he told me to wait in the car.  I watched auntie Mabel get down on her knee's and brush off the headstone and place flowers on his grave. She was crying when she got back in the car.  That afternoon it was so hot we couldn't leave the house and later that day they drove me back to aunt Verona and Charlie's house.  It was so sad to leave them and my cousins, but I promised to write them all the time.

Here are some links to past posts I did on Trudy's family

Dec 20, 2011

When Shirley married Jim Hughes, her new husband went to work for De Luxe, until Chet retired and turned the business over to his son Tommy Hewes. Shirley and Jim had three girls, Janet, Donna and Linda Hughes.

Because of a nighmare lawsuit with FDA over the Lash Lure cosmetic co in 1933, Tom Lyle, had Chet Hewes, open The DeLuxe Mascara company. Read all about it in Cosmetics and Skin. By James Bennett. Other exciting ...

Jan 14, 2012
Left to right - Bob (Williams) Haines, Dick Williams, Tommy (Williams) Hewes, Marilyn (Williams) Haines, Shirley (Williams) Hewes, June (Williams) Haines, Noel A. Williams, Bill Williams, Annette Williams, Helen Williams, Tom ...

Feb 05, 2012
Tom Lyle Williams, sister Mabel, (Maybelline's namesake,) married Chet Hewes and had. three children.Shirley, Tommy and Joyce. Tommy grew up, married Mary Lee, had Trudi..... Trudi grew up, married Keith Dietsen and ...
Aug 01, 2014
... to come along. Unbeknownst to her, Chester Randolph Hewes, was living in Chicago and working at Montgomery Wards, in the automotive, advertising department. .... Sharrie and Chuck toast Tom Lyle's 115th Birthday.
Mar 15, 2011
Mabel married Chet Hewes in 1926 and had three children Shirley Anne, Thomas Randolph, (Tommy) and baby Joyce Mae are in this picture. Chet handled the manufacturing of Maybelline and eventually formed his own ...
Nov 19, 2010
Here is a picture of Maybel, Chet and their three children, Shirley, Tommy and Joyce taken in Chicago, 1934. It was Auntie Maybel's simple beauty trick that inspired her brother Tom Lyle Williams to produce Lash Brow Ine in ...

Mabel, Chet, Shirley, Tommy and baby Joyce.