Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The original Maybelline Family from Kentucky to Chicago to Hollywood and beyond.

In my book The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind it, I tell the story the Williams family and the birth of the Maybelline Co.  The original family from Morganfield Kentucky started out with (from right to left,) Sheriff Thomas Jefferson Williams, his wife Susan and six children.  Their first child, a boy named Pearl died at 19 leaving Noel James, (in the middle,) Mabel Anna, Tom Lyle, William Preston, (my grandfather,) and Eva Kay. This picture was taken in 1916 when a little company called Maybell Laboratories first introduced an eyelash darkener called Maybelline.  The company was named after the founder Tom Lyle's sister Mabel and financed by his older brother Noel with $500. he'd saved to marry his sweetheart Frances Allen. 

By 1934 the five siblings had worked together to build the Maybelline Co into an unimaginable success and though the depression destroyed many well know companies, Maybelline continued to thrive.  Here is a picture of Sheriff TJ, with Tom Lyle and his son Tom Lyle Jr.  It was taken while Tom Jr was at Duke University and Tom Lyle lived at the Villa Valentino in the Hollywood Hills.  Susan had died of the great flu in 1919.

By 1934 Noel James, Tom Lyle's older brother was vice president of the Maybelline Co, married Frances and had four children.  From left to right you see, Annette Louise, (Neppy,) Richard Lyle, (Dick,) Noel, Helen Frances, Frances and Noel Allen Williams. 

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 company within the Maybelline Co. called Deluxe Mascara after Maybelline was investigated for being a monopoly.   Mabel, Maybelline's namesake became known as Auntie Mabel to all her nieces and nephews and remained the loving matriarch until the end of her life. Her family still lives in Chicago.

Eva, the youngest child of TJ and Susan married Ches Haines and had three children. June Anne, Marilyn Frances, (Ditty,)
and Robert Charles (Bobby.)  Ches Haines was in charge of transportation at the Maybelline company while Eva, (Auntie E,)  stayed home and raised her three children. 

Preston Williams a WW1 Veteran married my grandmother Evelyn Boecher and had my father William Preston Williams Jr.  Preston never wanted to work for the Maybelline Co. and was the wild card in the family.  Eventually Evelyn and Billy followed Tom Lyle to California and Billy was raised by his mother and Uncle Tom Lyle.

Today the Maybelline family has grown into the third and fourth generation and is a very large family.  The Maybelline Story is told from my branch of the family's point of view, the West Coast branch who grew up in California with Tom Lyle.  

The story goes back to the original family in Morganfield Kentucky, through the heyday's of Chicago gangsters and into the glitz and glamour of Hollywood when Tom Lyle was the King of Advertising. 

I hope you love The Maybelline Story and find it to be a fun ride through the 20th Century with the Williams family. 

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