This Week in Women’s Business History

November 28 – December 4

Nov. 28, 2006
Rose Vesel Mattus dies. Rose and her husband Reuben Mattus co-founded Häagen-Dazs ice cream. While her husband concentrated on flavors, recipes, and products, Rose, officially controller of the company, ran the business but could sometimes be found handing out free samples in grocery stores.

Nov. 29, 1898
Irene L. Blunt is born. She was secretary of the National Federation of Textiles, Inc.

Nov. 30, 1932
Barbara Gardner Proctor is born. In 1970, she founded Proctor & Gardner Advertising, the first Chicago-based agency owned solely by a Black woman.

Dec. 1, 1784
Susanna Wright dies. Wright was a landowner and prosperous farm manager in colonial Pennsylvania. In 1726, when her widowed father bought property along the Susquehanna River in what is now Columbia, PA, Susanna also purchased one hundred acres. Six hundred more acres were put under her care in 1746 when a friend bequeathed her his property. In addition to overseeing the crops and livestock, she raised silkworms for many years, even winning a prize for the most cocoons raised by an individual. A well-educated woman, Susanna counted Benjamin Franklin as a friend and correspondent. Her home in Columbia is now a museum.

Dec. 2, 1886
Josephine Roche is born. She was president of Rocky Mountain Fuel Company.

Dec. 3, 1896
Gladys M. Strang is born. She served as assistant cashier of Bank of Italy’s Women’s Banking Dept. under Grace Stoermer.

Dec. 4, 1884
Maria G. Sada is born. Her business, Chata’s Store, in tiny Boquillas, TX, was a general store, trading post, hotel, and café.

Last week in women’s business history

Nov. 21, 1902
Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie is born. She was an aviator and established an airport and flying school.

Nov. 22, 2001
Mary Kay Ash dies. In 1963 Ash and her husband founded Mary Kay Cosmetics with her life savings of $5,000 and nine saleswomen. A month later her husband died and her twenty-year-old son took his place in the business. Within the first year the company turned a profit and Ash built it into a global business with revenue (in 2000) of $1.3 billion.

Nov. 23, 2006
Antonia Rago Herbert dies. Antonia Rago was admitted to Harvard University Law School until the admissions office realized that she was Antonia not Antonio. She instead graduated from De Paul University’s law school in 1938 and founded her own practice.

Nov. 24, 1858
Annie Riggs is born. She owned and operated the Riggs Hotel in Fort Stockton, Texas.

Nov. 25, 1972
Mary M. Crawford dies. Dr. Crawford was medical director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s medical department, creating it in 1919 and managing its five physicians, six nurses, technicians, dentist, and oral hygienist until she retired in 1949.

Nov. 26, 1977
Eileen Tighe dies. Tighe wrote fiction and plays and was managing editor of House and Garden magazine, 1952 – 1956 and editor of Woman’s Day magazine 1958 – 1966.

Nov. 27, 1956
Elsie Schlemmer dies. When her husband died in 1945, Elsie took over as president of Hammacher Schlemmer. She sold the company in 1953 and left most of her estate to her employees.

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