Alexander D. Henderson (businessman)

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Alexander Dawson Henderson
A. D. Henderson
Alexander D. Henderson ca. 1920
Born(1865-02-28)February 28, 1865
Brooklyn, New York
DiedJanuary 5, 1925(1925-01-05) (aged 59)
Suffern, New York
Known forFounding investor; Vice President and Treasurer of the California Perfume Company
Spouse(s)Ella M. Brown (1892–1925)
ChildrenJoseph Dawson Henderson
Alexander D. Henderson Jr.
Girard B. Henderson

Alexander Dawson Henderson (February 28, 1865 – January 5, 1925) was an American business executive and philanthropist. He was vice president, treasurer and founding investor of the California Perfume Company (CPC), which later became Avon Products.[1]

Early life[edit]

Henderson was born February 28, 1865, in Brooklyn, New York. He was the sixth child of Captain Joseph Henderson and Angelina Annetta Weaver. On February 17, 1892, Reverend John Hampstone, of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, married Henderson and Ella Margaret Brown.[2] His wife was listed as a prominent resident in the New York Social Blue Book as Mrs. A.D. Henderson, Nyack Tpke, Suffern, N. Y.[3]

Professional background[edit]

In 1890, Henderson worked for the Union Warehouse Company in New York City where he held the position of private Secretary to Edward B. Bartlett. The Union Warehouse was a very large building located in New York City, worth over $100,000.00.[4]

On May 30, 1895, he became the bookkeeper for David H. McConnell of the California Perfume Company. He went on to become Vice-President and Treasurer of CPC. According to The Story of the CPC, "Mr. Alexander D. Henderson, our Vice-President and Treasurer, joined the company and helped to shape its policies and assist in its growth."[5]

As early as 1901, Henderson and McConnell were listed in the Trow Copartnership and Corporation Directory as "The California Perfume Co., (RTN) David H McConnell, Alexander D Henderson, at 126 Chambers Street."[6]

On June 16, 1909, an agreement was made between David H. McConnell and Alexander D. Henderson as partners trading as D. H. McConnell and Company, Goetting and Company, and California Perfume Company to sell these holdings over to the California Perfume Company, a corporation of the State of New Jersey. The bill of sale was for $220,000.00.[7]

In March 1912, it was published that Henderson was involved in the incorporation of the Hatfield Auto Truck Company of Elmira, N.Y. with capital of $1,500,000. The incorporators were David H. McConnell, Alexander D. Henderson, and Arthur S. Hoyt." [8]

On July 22, 1914, in a letter to William Scheele and the CPC, Henderson described the "process of Perfumery and extracting odors from flowers". In this letter Henderson said, "It is these pomades which we import direct from Grasse for the making of our perfumes, and thus we have the true flower base which makes our floral odors so true to natural flowers and so lasting."[5]

In June 1915, Henderson took the train to San Francisco, California to set up a booth to advertise and exhibit perfume products at the 1914-1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The CPC exhibit was in the Liberal Arts Building. A Gold Medal was awarded for the quality of the products and the beauty of the packaging.[9]

On January 28, 1916, the California Perfume Company was incorporated in New York State State. An announcement was placed in The New York Times: “California Perfume Co., Suffern, perfumes, cosmetics, flavoring, extracts, fruit juices, household supplies, carry on business with $75,000: W. Scheele, A. D. Henderson, D. H. McConnell, Suffern.”[10]

Henderson and McConnell attended the American Perfumer annual meeting from May 9–11, 1916 and were on the Entertainment and Nominations Committees. The review included the Trade Notes: "California Perfume Co., of New Jersey has filed a certified copy of its charter to manufacture and deal in perfumery, toilet articles, and flavoring extracts in San Francisco. Capital stock, $5,000, 40 shares at $100 each; amount subscribed, $1,000. Place of business, Jersey City, N.J. Subscribers A. D. Henderson 8 shares; Wm. Scheele and Wm. H. Carey 1 share each."[11]

His son, Alexander D. Henderson Jr., also worked for CPC and became Vice-President in charge of purchases. According to the article, "Introducing You to the CPC", "Mr. Henderson buys the ingredients from which everything in the CPC line is made. As such, he is, of course, a most important factor in the maintaining the high quality and low prices of the products you sell."[12] In 1940, his second son, Girard B. Henderson was elected to serve on the board of directors for Avon Products and served for 35 years.[13]

Suffern New York[edit]

Residence of Mr. A. D. Henderson, Suffern, N.Y.

The Henderson family came to Suffern in 1905 as summer visitors and boarders at Tilton's Hotel, which was a very famous boarding house in those days. This hotel is on property now owned by the Avon Products. In 1909, Henderson built a large Georgian style home, which sat on the hill at Campbell Avenue and the Nyack Turnpike (Route 59) in Suffern, New York.

A postcard was made of the Hendersons' Suffern home, looking at the residence from the bottom of the driveway. The printing at the top of the postcard reads: "Residence of Mr. A. D. Henderson, Suffern, N. Y." [14]


Henderson, according to the Suffern newspaper, was President of the Rockland Country Branch of the State Charities Aid Association and Chairman of the Red Cross drive for funds during World War I in Ramapo Valley, New York. He also actively assisted in the designing and building of the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, New York.[15] Henderson believed in a good local newspaper and he became treasurer and director of the Ramapo Valley Independent when the old Suffern Independent was sold in 1922.[16]


Henderson died on January 5, 1925 after a very short illness. A resolution adopted and recorded in the minutes by the Board of Directors and the officers of the California Perfume Company, attesting to the invaluable work done by Alexander Dawson Henderson.[17] An embossed copy of the resolution was issued to Mrs. Henderson. Mr. D. H. McConnell (President) and Alonzo E. Williams (Secretary) signed it.

On January 7, 1925, Henderson was cremated at the New York & New Jersey Cremation Company in Bergen, New York. The Rev. Dr. Charles P. Bispham, clergy of the Christ Episcopal Church, Suffern, officiated at his burial. Services were held in Suffern, New York.[18]


In October 1941, Henderson was mentioned in an issue of the Allied Avon Magazine about the "old timers". There is a picture of him next to Adolph Goetting and David H. McConnell.[19]


  1. ^ "Company Officials". Hagley Museum and Library. 1896. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  2. ^ "Henderson-Brown". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1892-02-18. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  3. ^ "New York Social Blue Book". The Brooklyn Information Page. 1930. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ "Verdict For $30,300". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1897-12-15. p. 16. Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  5. ^ a b "The Story of Perfumery and the CPC". Hagley Museum and Library. 1924. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  6. ^ The Trow Copartnership and Corporation Directory. Trow Directory, Printing & Bookbinding Company. March 1901. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  7. ^ "Agreement of Incorporation for California Perfume Company". Hagley Museum and Library. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  8. ^ Operations & Maintenance magazine, Vol. 7. Chilton Class Journal Company, provided Google Books. January 1912. Retrieved 6 Mar 2013.
  9. ^ "1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition Gold Medal Award". Hagley Museum and Library. July 1915. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
  10. ^ Weekly Drug markets, New Incorporations, Volume 2, Page 26. University of Michigan. 1915. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  11. ^ The American Perfumer and Essential Oil Review. Google. March 1916 – February 1917. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  12. ^ "Introducing You To The CPC". California Perfume Company. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  13. ^ "Avon Annual Report 1975". Hagley Museum and Library. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  14. ^ "Residence of Mr. A. D. Henderson, Suffern, N.Y." Library Association of Rockland County. 2007-01-31. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
  15. ^ Suffern Newspaper; Mary’s Family Connections, 1979, Mary Antony Lathrop
  16. ^ "Suffern Independent Sold To Corporation", Nyack Evening Journal, Wednesday, September 6, 1922.
  17. ^ "Alexander D. Henderson". 1925-01-25. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  18. ^ Death Certificate #5375, State of New York Dept. of Vital Statistics, Village of Suffern, Town of Ramapo, County of Rockland, 1925-01-06
  19. ^ Allied Avon, Family Album, 1941

External links[edit]