Florence Nightingale Graham, a.k.a. Elizabeth Arden, opened the doors of her first salon in 1910. Her company expanded internationally and changed the face of women's cosmetics, introduced in Season 12 of Murdoch Mysteries, portrayed by Kathryn Alexandre.
Florence Nightingale Graham was born on December 31, 1884, in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada to immigrant parents, her father Scottish and her mother English. The fifth of five children, she was raised in a farming family that struggled to make ends meet. To help support her family, Graham worked odd jobs as a youth, then studied nursing—becoming interested in the lotions used in burn treatments— and worked as a secretary for a short time before emigrating from Canada.
In 1908 she moved to New York, where her brother lived. Her entrée into the beauty salon business was fortuitous: she landed a job as an assistant to a beautician named Eleanor Adair. Graham was blessed with a smooth, cream complexion and this was her only qualification but it was all she needed. In 1910 Graham invested $1,000 to start a salon with a partner, Elizabeth Hubbard. The business was located on Fifth Avenue.
Soon she was the sole proprietress, doing business under the name of Elizabeth Arden: Elizabeth, because that was her former partner's name and she saw no reason to scrap off its gold leaf lettering on the plate glass window, and Arden from the Tennyson poem, Enoch Arden. The new Elizabeth Arden added what became her trademark — a huge red door with a brass nameplate; a new industry was launched.
Elizabeth Arden was the first to offer in-store makeovers.
Appearances and Mentions
- At Toronto Mercy Hospital, Nurse Graham is having an eventful day: first, a patient in her care suddenly dies, then by the end of her shift, she encounters Constable Crabtree when he brings in a pickpocket with a minor head wound received while trying to avoid arrest. The nurse and constable discover a mutual love of poetry when Mr. Zervos tells a familiar tale of woe, "A rough sailor's lad, made orphan by a winter's shipwreck...", from Enoch Arden by Alfred, Lord Tennyson – a favourite poem. Nurse Graham allows George to escort her home and learns that she was destined to be a nurse as her full name is Florence Nightingale Graham but reveals her supervisor says, “...that my hobbies take up too much of my time” and that nurses are to devote themselves night and day to developing good character and an orderly habit of mind. What sort of hobbies might distract a young lady from such noble pursuits asks George: “Terribly frivolous things, to be sure. Perhaps I will show you one day, Constable Crabtree”.
- Upon their second meeting George learns that Miss Graham has been mixing up a cream treatment in her father's kitchen...“He's fed up with the smells and mess”. She thinks she has finally struck on a good formula and applies it on George’s face, “There's a mild tingle!” Her cream is based on a treatment one of the doctors at the hospital is using for burn victims. It had occurred to Florence that “...if his remedy could heal damaged skin, it might also help skin ravaged by age and worry…every woman has the right to feel beautiful". George is duly impressed, “...anybody who cares so much for others will surely be a good nurse indeed”. Miss Graham reveals her own doubts and explains to George, “A patient in my care died suddenly yesterday...I'm afraid Dr. Ogden thinks I'm responsible – and she might be right”.