Dell Williams

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Dell Williams (née Zetlin; August 5, 1922 – March 11, 2015) was an American businesswoman.[1][2][3]

In 1945, she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps. In 1974, she founded the first feminist sex toy business in the USA, Eve's Garden, in New York City.[1][2][4] Eve's Garden was the first woman-owned and woman-operated sex toy business in America.[5] As Williams put it, "Eve represented all women and the Garden was symbolic of women taking responsibility for their 'own' sexuality."[6]

She was inspired to found the business after she took a “Body/Sex Workshop” by Betty Dodson in New York and afterwards went to buy a Hitachi Magic Wand for use as a vibrator, but found that the salesboy at Macy's asked her a nosy question about it.[1][7][8]

Williams was an actress for a time and appeared in productions of The Vagina Monologues.[8] Her most notable role may have been in a 1962 film, The Cliff Dwellers, a film which was nominated for an Academy Award. In addition to this, she was a singer, artists’ model, and writer during the 1930s and 1940s, and was later one of the first successful female advertising executives in New York City.[2]


In 2005, her memoir, Revolution in the Garden, was published.[2] Some of her papers are held as the Dell Williams Papers in the Human Sexuality Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at the Cornell University Library.[9]


Williams died in Manhattan on March 11, 2015, age 92. The daughter of Isaac and Sarah (née Bronstein) Zetlin, Williams was briefly married once, to Ted Willms, a variation of whose surname she retained professionally although the marriage was annulled. She had no children and left no immediate survivors.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Fox, Margalit (March 14, 2015). "Dell Williams, 92, Founder of Sex Boutique". The New York Times. p. D8. Archived from the original on March 15, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Dell Williams & Lynn Vannucci. "Revolution in the Garden (9781596370388)". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  3. ^ Williams, Dell. "United States Public Records Index". Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ Janet K. Boles & Diane Long Hoeveler. Hd Feminism 2ed(52). Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  5. ^ "Official Eve's Garden Website". Retrieved 2014-10-30. 
  6. ^ "Dell Williams profile". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  7. ^ "Dell Williams A Sexual Pioneer for Women". Bitch Lifestyle. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  8. ^ a b "Good Vibes: Eve's Garden Founder Appears in West Side Benefit for Women". 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  9. ^ "Guide to the Dell Williams Papers,1922-2008". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 

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