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.

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