Elizabeth Arden

Elizabeth Arden

Elizabeth Arden
Elizabeth Arden (1939)
Born Florence Nightingale Graham
(1878-12-31)December 31, 1878
Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
Died October 18, 1966(1966-10-18) (aged 87)
Manhattan, New York City
Occupation Businesswoman: Cosmetics
Racehorse owner/breeder

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.


  • Biography 1
    • Career 1.1
  • References 2
  • Further reading 3
  • External links 4


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.[1] Arden dropped out of nursing school in Toronto.[2]

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 such professions as prostitution. 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.[3]


The footstone of Elizabeth Arden
The grave of Elizabeth Arden in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

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.[4]

In recognition of her contribution to the cosmetics industry, she was awarded the Légion d'Honneur by the French government in 1962.

Arden died at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan in 1966; she was interred in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York, under the name Elizabeth N. Graham.


  1. ^ Sawyers, June Skinner (1966). Famous Firsts of Scottish-Americans. Pelican Publishing, p. 11.
  2. ^ Davidson, Hilary. Frommer's Guide to Toronto 2004. p. 262. ISBN 0-7645-4060-2.
  3. ^ Lewis, Jone Johnson (2015). "Elizabeth Arden Biography". Retrieved 2015-04-07. 
  4. ^ McMillan, Susan (June 13, 2014). "Former Elizabeth Arden estate on Long Pond for sale".  

War Paint by Lindy Woodhead page 94

Further reading

  • Haag, Karin Loewen (1999). "Arden, Elizabeth". In Commire, Anne.  
  • Marshall, Mary. Great Breeders and Their Methods (2008) Russell Meerdink Co. Ltd. ISBN 978-0-929346-82-3
  • Woodhead, Lindy. War Paint (2004) Virago ISBN 1-84408-049-8

External links

  • Elizabeth Arden, Inc. Homepage
  • Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas web page
  • Elizabeth Arden, Inc. Corporate Information
  • Florence Nightingale Graham at the Fashion Model Directory
  • FBI dossier on Elizabeth Arden