Elizabeth Arden (1939)
|Born||Florence Nightingale Graham
December 31, 1878
Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
|Died||October 18, 1966
Manhattan, New York City
Florence Nightingale Graham (December 31, 1878 – October 18, 1966), who went by the business name Elizabeth Arden, was a Canadian American businesswoman who founded what is now Elizabeth Arden, Inc., and built a cosmetics empire in the United States. At the peak of her career, she was one of the wealthiest women in the world.
Arden was born in 1878 in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada. Her parents had emigrated to Canada from Cornwall, United Kingdom in the 1870s. Her father, William Graham, was Scottish and her mother, Susan, was Cornish and had arranged for a wealthy aunt in Cornwall to pay for her children's education. Arden dropped out of nursing school in Toronto.
She then joined her elder brother in Manhattan, working briefly as a bookkeeper for the E.R. Squibb Pharmaceuticals Company. While there, Arden spent hours in their lab, learning about skincare. She then worked—again briefly—for Eleanor Adair, an early beauty culturist, as a "treatment girl".
In her salons and through her marketing campaigns, Elizabeth Arden stressed teaching women how to apply makeup, and pioneered such concepts as scientific formulation of cosmetics, beauty makeovers, and coordinating colors of eye, lip, and facial makeup.
Elizabeth Arden was largely responsible for establishing makeup as proper and appropriate—even necessary—for a ladylike image, when before makeup had often been associated with lower classes and prostitutes. She targeted middle age and plain women for whom beauty products promised a youthful, beautiful image. In politics, Elizabeth Arden was a strong conservative who supported Republicans.
In 1909 Arden formed a partnership with Elizabeth Hubbard, another culturist. The business relationship dissolved after six months. Graham, who desired a trade name, used "Elizabeth" to save money on her salon signage. She chose the last name, "Arden" from the eulogy of E.F. Harriman, a multi-millionaire, who'd had a love for horse racing. Harriman and his wife referred to their Orange County estate, which included 8000 acres of woodland and majestic gardens, as 'Arden'. Being a farm girl at heart, Graham was an avid gardener and loved horses. She felt a kinship with the millionaire and the trade name "Elizabeth Arden" was formed.
In 1912 Arden traveled to France to learn beauty and facial massage techniques used in the Paris beauty salons. She returned with a collection of rouges and tinted powders she had created. She began expanding her international operations in 1915, and started opening salons across the world. In 1934, she opened the Maine Chance residential spa in Rome, Maine, the first destination beauty spa in the United States. It operated until 1970.
In recognition of her contribution to the cosmetics industry, she was awarded the Légion d'Honneur by the French government in 1962.
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