Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Noel James Williams, Vice President of the Maybelline Company, 1915 - 1951

Noel J. Williams, was the second son born to Thomas Jefferson and Susan Anna Williams.  As a young man he knew he did not want to work the family farm in Morganfield Kentucky and moved to Chicago where he found a job with the railroads as a bookkeeper.  His main ambition was to earn enough money to marry his childhood sweetheart, Frances Allen.

Younger brother Tom Lyle Williams, followed Noel J. to Chicago, followed by their sister Mabel and the three of them worked together build Tom Lyle's little mail order business.   When Tom Lyle needed money to launch his Maybelline Company,  Noel J. lent him $500 he'd saved to marry Frances.   In honor of Noel J. for believing him and his business Tom Lyle, made his brother Vice President of the Maybelline Company.

Tom Lyle paid the 500 dollar loan back one year later and on Nov 8th, 1916, Noel and Frances were married and moved into an apartment down the street from the Maybelline company warehouse.  The rest of the Williams family left Kentucky, moved to Chicago and lived in the apartment above it. 

 Here is the whole Williams Clan in Chicago after Noel and Frances first baby, Helen Frances was born May 31, 1918. 

Right to Left:  Noel J., Frances,   Thomas Jefferson, holding baby Helen. Mabel, Preston (my grandfather,) in a Navel uniform,  Susan Anna with her arm around Eva.  (not sure who the girl with the long curls is.) 

By 1935 Noel and Frances had four children.   In this picture we see left to right, Annette, Helen, Noel, Dick, Frances and Noel Allen.  Family came first for Noel Williams followed by Maybelline, in fact it was hard to separate the two because Maybelline was  family and family was  Maybelline.   Noel represented stability, responsibility and propriety to the the highest level.  With him at the helm of Maybelline's ship Tom Lyle concentrated on what he did best Advertising and since he spent most of his time at the Villa Valentino in the Hollywood Hills, he depended on Noel's ability to run a tight ship at the Maybelline Company in Chicago.

Left to right, Ches Haines, (Eva's husband,) head of transportation for the Maybelline Company, (not sure who second man is,) Noel J's, youngest son Dick, his son Noel Allen, Noel, and Rags Ragland the marketing genius Tom Lyle hired in 1933 and the only person outside the family to work for the Maybelline company.
After 30 years, living in a brownstone not far from the Maybelline Company in Chicago, Noel J. and his family moved into a large custom home.  He was 55 years old and the Maybelline Company proved to be one of America's biggest success stories - and still is today after 100 years.

Noel and Frances' son Noel Allen's wedding Feb 12, 1949. Left to right, mother of the bride Alberta Kilroy, Noel and Frances, Father of the bride, Charles Thomas Kilroy, Jean (Kilroy) Williams, Noel Allen and Jean's girlfriends as maid of honor and bridesmaids. On November 23, 1949, Charles Allen Williams.

This picture of Noel J. was taken outside the Maybelline Company, at 900 Ridge and Clark in Chicago.

Here is one of the last pictures of Noel J. and Frances - at Tom Lyle's estate in Bel Air.  Noel J. died  the next year in 1951.  Without him there certainly wouldn't have been a Maybelline Company. 

Read more about Noel and the building of an empire in The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Behind It.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Maybelline Story Inspires young Entrepenures to never give up on their dreams and for families to leave a legacy for their children

I've had a passion for my family history since I was in Jr. High School.  I have to give credit to my grandmother, Evelyn Williams, for lighting the fire in my heart for my family's history.  She told me about the birth of the Maybelline company and how my Great Auntie Mabel, mixed the ashes with Vaseline and dabbed it on her brows and lashes to make them grow.   She also told me how my great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams, a 19 year old entrepenure with a small mail-order business in 1915, brought mascara into the world and named his company Maybelline after his sister, who gave him the idea. My grandmother, suggested I tell the Maybelline Story for my speech class.  I did and got an “A.”  The little Maybelline story won me popularity overnight and from that moment on, I wanted to uncover the secrets about the people who shaped the company and my life. 

I spent time with all my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, collecting stories, photographs and vintage Maybelline ads for years and years.  Then, in 1978, when my grandmother, Evelyn,  was killed in an arson related fire, I was determined not to let her memory die.  I vowed to write her story.  So, for the last the next 20 years, I practiced intensive journal keeping, using the Ira Progoff system, until found my writer's voice.  

When a fire took my own home in 1993 and all my family heirlooms with it, I turned to my father, Bill Williams, for support, to help me recall my family's history.  We'd get together every week, while rebuilding my home for over two and a half years and eventually I finished a 963 page manuscript about the Maybelline family and Maybelline's history.

Then, after three years of working with a publisher, my manuscript was edited a dozen times, and  The Maybelline Story was born.  I hope it  inspires, entertains and will leave a legacy for the people I love who have passed on and encourage young entrepreneurs to never give up on their dreams.  If my grandmother hadn't ignite my passion to tell my story, I believe a piece of America's history would have been lost forever.  I ask that other people would research their roots and leave their priceless for their children and grandchildren.  

Bill Williams, Evelyn Williams, Tom Lyle Williams, Emery Shaver, 1934

Family History is the greatest gift one can pass on.  Connecting with your background is a priceless gift, according to my grandmother Evelyn, because... it 's the one thing that can never be taken away from you.

Monday, November 14, 2016

"Maybelline the Movie" destined for TV by style.com

There are certain stories, so dramatic, so entertaining, that they seem positively destined for television The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It fits the bill, with insight into all the brand’s history.

 Let us give you a brief synopsis to properly whet your appetite for this incredible read: The saga begins in 1915, founder Tom Lyle Williams watched as his sister Mabel,  applied a mixture of petroleum jelly, burnt cork, and coal dust to her damaged brows and lashes, in an effort to simulate fuller, more luxurious growth. Tom immediately saw dollar signs in his sister’s makeshift mascara, and so began the now billion-dollar business that is Maybelline (named after  Mabel, who inspired its creation). 

The book’s most publicized revelation is that Tom, despite being a married father, carried out a 50-year relationship with his partner Emery Shaver. 

However We were far more fascinated by the vignette about Evelyn,  Tom’s over-the-top glamorous sister-in-law. The night after opening her Maybelline Dinner Theatre in Arkansas with a star-studded gala in 1975 (Bill and Hillary Clinton were on the guest list), Evelyn perished in a suspicious house fire, and the crime was never solved.

It’s definitely a good beach book, if you’re headed for warmer climes this winter—and if anything, it will forever change the way you look at that pink and green tube of the brand’s best-selling Great Lash Mascara. 

By style.com

Monday, November 7, 2016

5 Essential Fall Beauty Tips that promise to keep you looking and feeling fabulous all season.

Fall is a gorgeous time of year with vibrant colors and crisp, cool weather. Changing seasons means changing your beauty routine. This can include new makeup colors, a different hairstyle, and a recharged skin routine. The following are 5 essential beauty tips to make sure you're looking your best this fall.

1. Upgrade Your Skin Routine
Transitioning from summer to fall means changing your skincare routine. The cool, dry air in autumn means moisturizers should be used more often. Light lotions and creams should be traded for those with a thicker, richer formula. Don't forget, however, to make sure sunscreen is still a part of any moisturizer or makeup you wear during the day. Harmful rays from the sun can damage skin year round. 

2. Give Your Hair a Boost
Changing your hair can provide a major change in your appearance for the fall. Instead of golden highlights, autumn is the time to experiment with rich auburn or deep chocolate colors. It's also a good idea to give your hair a deep conditioning or hot oil treatment. Taking care of damage from months of saltwater, chlorine, or sun damage will leave hair looking fresh and pretty for the fall. 

3. Switch to Deeper, Richer Colors
Fall is the time to trade coral and fuchsia lipstick for deep reds and burgundies. Those who want to make an even bolder statement can try colors such as merlot, purple, and almost black. Warmer, darker hues should be used across the board, especially for lips and eyes. As the holidays approach make sure to incorporate jewel tones into your makeup routine. Finally, black eyeliner and lush mascara are a must for beautiful eyes this fall.

4. Change Your Scent
Don't forget that your perfume should change along with the season. It's time to put away your tropical and fruity scents. A stronger, even spicier scent is perfect for crisp fall weather. Most scents don't last as long on dry skin so it's important to remember to both moisturize your skin and add a bit more fragrance when weather becomes cool and dry. If you regularly wear a scarf around your neck during the fall don't forget to spritz it before leaving the house.

5. Repack Your Beauty Bag
Whether you normally carry a small makeup case or simply pack a few items in your handbag, cooler weather will require different beauty essentials than those used during the summer. A small bottle of hand lotion is a must for fall. Along with your favorite lipstick it's also important to make sure you always have a container of lip balm. This will keep lips soft and chap-free during the cooler weather.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Did Amelia Earhart die a castaway after crashing on a Pacific island? (And, did she have Maybelline on board?)

August 23, 2012, I posted about "Finding the lost Aviator, Amelia Earhart's plane."  Now there is new evidence concluding the remains of a woman has been found, believed to be Amelia.  

Read all about it in the Sacramento Bee. 


This 1941 Vintage Maybelline ad was produced just four years after Amelia Earhart's plane was lost and War was declared on the Japan. 

When I think about Amelia Earhart's plane crashing onto a reef off a remote island in the Pacific Ocean I can't help but wonder if her courageous Spirit wasn't there to help direct and protect our boys during one of the darkest hours in American history.  I know she still inspires me to dream bigger and bolder and go beyond my own comfort zone.  How about you?  What do you think about Amelia Earhart's incredible journey into the unknown with the heart of a Lion.

Some cosmetics found in Amelia's kit was Freckle cream, rouge and a broken mirror from a compact. Is it possible Maybelline was also on the plane.  If so this is what it would have looked like in 1937.

Here are two articles written in 2012, discussing the Recovery of Amelia Earhart’s Alleged Anti-Freckle Cream Triggering New Search

this 2012 article discusses Amelia Earhart: 'Beauty kit' found on desert island in Pacific. One could certainly imagine Maybelline being in her kit.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Miss Maybelline's Beauty Secrets taught to me as a child

When Nana was a young girl, in 1915, she like most young ladies of her time, read a movie magazine called Photoplay, that revealed Beauty Secrets of the Harem, so to speak.  The secrets were homemade beauty tricks passed on from one generation to the next and were built upon as the ages unfolded. Nana and her sisters,Verona and Bunny learned the tricks, to make themselves as glamorous and alluring as the silent screen stars.
Nana's little protegee
I was indoctrinated into the Harem when at 5 years old, when Nana  made my eyes up and paraded me around my great uncle Tom Lyle's living room for applause.  From that time on, Nana became my mentor and I her little protege.

One of her delicious little secrets for depuffing your eyes "after a late night romp with Valentino" she'd wink, was TEA BAGS.
1953, Nana, my dad, my sister, Donna, Me and my Mom

Yes, just plain old black tea bags.  But there was more.  First you place two tea bags in a half cup of boiling water for about 30 seconds, just to get the tea moving.  Next, you  gently squeeze out the excess water and place them on a small plate.  Now stick them in the freezer until they are ice cold.  Lay down for half hour if possible but at least 15 minutes and meditate on how gorgeous you are going to look with your Maybelline eyes tonight.  Let me know what you think, I bet you will be begging for more of Nana's fabulous Secrets of the Harem.
Read more about my life as Nana's little protege, click onto Amazon right now and buy The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Finding my Maybelline Roots in Morganfield Kentucky

My Great grandmother, 16 year old Susan Anna Alvey, in 1877.

My Great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Willliams,  the local Sheriff and tax collector, was fearless when it came to doing the right thing.  He lost his right eye and often teased his grandchildren by pulling fake eye out and handing it to one of them. My dad remembered running away screaming.

Susan Anna Alvey Williams and TJ had 6 children. The most famous being Tom Lyle Williams, founder of the Maybelline Company. When Susan Anna, died in 1919, of the great flu, TJ turned his attention to keeping the books for Tom Llyle in the early years of Maybelline. 

On the farm as children, my grandfather William Preston Williams and his little sister Eva K. Williams in 1909. 

The 500 acre family farm and homestead was over 100 years old, by the time the Williams kids were born.  By 1916, the farm was sold and the family moved to Chicago, to assist Tom Lyle with the Maybelline Company.

TJ and Anna's third grandchild, and their son, Noel James and Frances Williams second child, Annette Williams, plays with the chickens before the farm was finally sold.
The country story wore many hats in the early day's, including being the local post office, photography studio, soda fountain, and supply store.  it also acted as a saloon at one time, before Prohibition  in 1920.

Noel James, wife Frances, with their two girls, Helen and Annette, in Morganfield, visiting the homestead.  The family was now prospering in Chicago, as the Maybelline Company continued to grow.

Little Helen, with the chickens in Morganfield.

                   Little Annette in the chicken coop.

Sheriff TJ with my father William Preston Williams Jr., in 1925.

And finally the Big Three, Sheriff Thomas Jefferson with his son, Tom Lyle Williams, and his first grandchild, Tom Lyle Williams Jr. in Chicago, 1934.

Read more about Morganfield and the early days of Maybelline in The Maybelline Story.

Do you watch the TV Show, "Finding your Roots?" http://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots/ Anyone interested in their Genealogy, would learn a lot from the tremendous research done to produce every episode. Several of my cousins have researched our family history and even proved our connection with the great Patriot, Benjamin Franklin, and General Jonathon Williams, of the Revolutionary War. Here is a tiny glimpse into my roots in Kentucky. I'm proud to have those Southern ties in my background.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Maybelline Story opens the doors to a fascinating era in America's history during the 20th Century.

1943 - Executive Secretary to Noel and Tom Lyle Williams, Dorothy Mullander, 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.

If you enjoyed HBO's Mildred Pierce with it's Hollywood era of the 1930's and 1940's, you will go nuts over The Maybelline Story.

Monday, October 3, 2016

A generously populated, multi-generational saga, The Maybelline Story gives gentle moral lessons to boot.

The Maybelline Story starts almost a century ago and takes you though the interesting life of founder Tom Lyle Williams and his fascinating family as he climbs his way to achieving the all American dream. Cross country it will take you from Chicago to Hollywood, mingling with the who's who in each era and location. Read how a fluke turned into a simple product, and how it turned into an international sensation and empire.

The Maybelline Story is one that has left a lasting impression upon America, yet not many realize just how vital a role the cosmetic brand has played in shaping idealism today.  The obsession with perfection is widely seen throughout Hollywood, as it was nearly 100 years ago.  However, the obsession at that time did not reach the rest of society as it has today.  Early cosmetic developers, such as founder Tom Lyle Williams of the Maybelline Co. brought cosmetics to the everyday woman, pushing the idea that every woman, young and old, regardless of class, can obtain glamour and beauty with a simple swish of the eyes.  That’s where Maybelline got its start.  Developed in a time where women were breaking away from being modest and obedient housewives, and starting to seek their right as legal voters and equals in society.

The Maybelline story captivates all audiences by its incredible survival through economic, social, and personal turmoil.  The Maybelline Story takes you on a journey through 20th century America, and into
the 21st century where Maybelline New York, now owned by L'Oreal, thrives as a billion-dollar Icon and still the world’s largest cosmetic brand.

Get your signed copy today from author, Sharrie Williams, just click on the picture of the Book on the side column of this page.