Sharrie Williams, author of The Maybelline Story, is an original descendant of the Maybelline family. Her Great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams, founded the Maybelline Co in 1915 and sold it in 1967. Sharrie shares her families photos, stories and vintage Maybelline ads.
Beauty and the Dirt review of The Maybelline Story
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.
Author of The Maybelline Story, Sharrie Williams
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.
One of the first Maybelline posters
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.
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
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.
Evelyn, her son Bill, Sharrie and Tom Lyle)
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.
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.