Elizabeth Arden (Elizabeth Arden)

Elizabeth Arden

Businesswoman. She is remembered for founding what is known as Elizabeth Arden, Incorporated, a US cosmetics empire. She 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 such professions as prostitution. Her products targeted middle-age and plain women for whom beauty products promised a youthful, beautiful image. Born Florence Nightingale Graham, the 5th of five children her parents emigrated from England to Canada prior to her birth and her father worked as a grocer. After dropping out of nursing school in Toronto, Canada, she joined her older brother in New York City, New York, working for a short time as a bookkeeper for E.R. Squibb Pharmaceuticals Company where she spent time in their laboratory learning about skincare. She then worked briefly for Eleanor Adair, an early beauty culturist, as a “treatment girl.” In 1909 she formed a partnership with culturist Elizabeth Hubbard and when it dissolved, she coined the business name “Elizabeth Arden” from her former partner and from Alfred Tennyson’s poem “Enoch Arden” and used it as per personal name. With a $6,000 loan from her brother, she then used the shop space to open her first salon called the “Red Door” on 5th Avenue in New York City in 1910. In 1912 she travelled to France to learn beauty and facial massage techniques used in the Paris beauty salons and returned with a collection of rouges and tinted powders she had created. In 1914 she began expanding her business under the corporate name Elizabeth Arden and the following year, she ventured into international operations and started opening salons across the world, opening her first salon in France in 1922. In 1934 she opened the Maine Chance residential spa in Rome, Maine, the first destination beauty spa in the US which operated until 1970. In recognition of her contribution to the cosmetics industry, she was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French government in 1962. Additionally, she was noted for her passion for owning race horses and a horse, Jet Pilot, from one of her stables won the Kentucky Derby in 1947. She died at the age of 81. At the peak of her career, she was one of the wealthiest women in the world. (bio by: William Bjornstad)


  • December, 31, 1878
  • Canada


  • October, 10, 1966
  • USA


  • Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
  • USA

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