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MC 518

Bishop, Hazel, 1906-1998. Papers of Hazel Bishop, ca.1890-1998: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Edward, Frances and Shirley B. Daniels Fund.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 518
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Hazel Bishop, 1906-1998
Title: Papers of Hazel Bishop, ca.1890-1998
Date(s): 1890-1998
Quantity: 4.59 linear feet (11 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ box, 1 oversize folder, 1 audiotape, and 3 objects, 9 photograph folders, 3 folio photograph folders)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Papers of Hazel Bishop, chemist, inventor of a long-wearing lipstick, financial analyst, and teacher.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 99-M51
These papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Randa Bishop, Hazel Bishop's niece, in 1999.

Processing Information:

Processed: April 2005
By: Susan Earle


Access. Unrestricted, except that #3.2v is closed until January 1, 2039; the correspondence regarding Denver Hart in #7.5 is closed until January 1, 2051; Laurence Smith's resume, in #9.23 and #10.7, is closed until January 1, 2023; and the material regarding Lynn Byers in #10.8 is closed until January 1, 2041.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers of Hazel Bishop is held by Randa Bishop during her lifetime. Upon her death, copyright will be transferred to Sozos Zachariou, after whose death copyright will be transferred to the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Hazel Bishop Papers, ca.1890-1998; item description, dates. MC 518, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Donor: Randa Bishop
Accession Number: 99-M51
Processed by: Susan Earle
The following items have been removed from the collection:


Hazel Gladys Bishop was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1906, the daughter of Henry and Mabel (Billington) Bishop. After attending Bergen School for Girls in Jersey City, she enrolled in Barnard College, graduating with a B.A. in chemistry in 1929. Bishop originally hoped to become a doctor, but financial considerations required that she give up medical school, and she began her career in bio-chemical research as a chemical technician at the New York State Psychiatric Hospital and Institute (1930-1935), while taking night school classes in biochemistry at the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University. She then became a research assistant to dermatologist A. Benson Cannon (1935-1942). During the war she was an organic chemist for the Standard Oil Development Company (1942-1945), working on the development of aviation fluids for jet engines; she continued her work in petroleum research until 1950 with the Socony Vacuum Oil Company. (Standard Oil and Socony were the chief predecessors of Exxon and Mobil.)
From early on, Bishop's mother told her, "Open your own business, even if it's only a peanut stand," and Bishop took this advice to heart. Her goal was to create a new cosmetic formulation and during the 1930s she developed two products, a pimple concealer and mentholated tissues. Neither of these was marketed, but she continued to experiment. Concluding that her previous projects had appealed to a limited market--people with colds and pimples--she determined to develop a product with a broader appeal. Upon reading that 98% of women wore lipstick every day, she began work on a nondrying, nonirritating, long-wearing lipstick, using her home kitchen as a laboratory.
Through her mother she met Alfred Berg, who hoped to market a French indelible lipstick called "Rouge Baiser." Bishop did not admire this product, but they agreed to join forces: Bishop would be in charge of production of the lipstick she had developed after 309 experiments, and Berg would provide venture capital. Thus, in late 1948, Hazel Bishop, Inc. was formed. In September of 1949, the first commercial run of the lipstick was produced, and it debuted at a fashion show given by the Barnard College Club of New York on November 4, 1949, appearing in stores the following January. The product was a success, with as many as 600 lipsticks sold in a single day. Later in 1950, Berg and Bishop hired Raymond Spector's advertising agency to help market the lipstick, giving Spector shares in the company rather than a specified budget commitment. On his advice they purchased the back page of a national newspaper, placing on it their "success" ad, featuring a hot embrace and the line "Stays on you, not on him." Sales continued to soar, with Bishop, in 1951, becoming the first woman to appear solo on the cover of Business Week. However, friction developed between Spector, who had bought out other shareholders, including Berg, to become the company's majority stockholder, and Bishop, and he was able to wrest control of the company from her. In November 1951, Bishop resigned as president of the company, and on March 28, 1952, she filed suit against Hazel Bishop, Inc., the Raymond Spector Company, and six individuals, including Spector, charging mismanagement of the company and diversion of assets. The case was settled on February 17, 1954, with the company (of which Spector was chairman and holder of 92% of the stock) purchasing Bishop's 8% of company stock, with the stipulation that she refrain from selling products under her own name and that she make clear in future ventures that she was no longer associated with Hazel Bishop, Inc.
Bishop did continue to develop products and found companies. After leaving Hazel Bishop, Inc. she became a consultant to the National Association of Leather Glove Manufacturers and developed "Leather Lav," a leather glove cleaner, which was endorsed by the association in 1955. She founded H.B. Laboratories, Inc., to produce additional leather cleaners. She also developed a foot care product, marketed by H.G.B. Products Corporation, and in 1957 created a solid perfume stick called Perfemme. In the 1960s, Bishop began a career as a stockbroker and financial analyst, working with Bache and Co. (1962-1968), for Hornblower & Weeks-Hemphill Noyes in 1967, and finally for Evans & Co. (1968-1981). As stocks of cosmetics companies soared, her advice and expertise were much sought after. She was also in demand as a lecturer on the cosmetics industry, speaking at the annual technical meeting of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists in 1953, the Columbus Section of the American Chemical Society in 1956, the Fragrance Foundation in 1975, and American Society of Perfumers' Annual Symposium in 1986, among others. In 1978, she began her final career, teaching in the cosmetics, fragrances, and toiletries department of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She was appointed to the Revlon chair in cosmetics marketing in 1980, and, making use of her knowledge of the cosmetics industry, helped develop a curriculum whose focus included marketing and merchandising principles, advertising, promotion, and publicity campaign concepts, and product knowledge. She stopped teaching in 1986, though she remained involved with the Fashion Institute as a consultant. (The Fashion Institute's Special Collections Department contains the transcript of a 1981 interview of Bishop.)
In 1990 Bishop moved to a retirement community in Rye, New York, and she died there on December 5, 1998.




The collection is arranged in five series:


The collection primarily documents Bishop's professional life; relatively few personal papers are included. The collection includes clippings, legal papers, bank statements and cancelled checks, correspondence, speeches, articles, autobiographical writings, meeting minutes and programs, membership directories, college yearbooks, address and appointment books, course material, photographs, lipsticks, and a scrapbook. The majority of the folder headings were created by the processor; Bishop's headings, when used, appear in quotation marks.
Series I, Personal, (#1.1-6.8, 12F+B.1-12F+B.10, OD.1, Mem. 1 & 2), contains material relating to various aspects of Bishop's personal life. With the exception of a 1920 autograph book signed by her mother and friends (#5.17v) and Bishop's diploma from the Bergen School (#12F+B.10), no material from her childhood is included in this series; however, the autobiography segment in Series III (#7.8) includes information about Bishop's parents and her recollections of her childhood. Each subseries is arranged chronologically.
Subseries A, Family papers (#1.1-1.3), consists of papers relating to the estate of Henry Bishop, who died in 1924. Also included are some stock certificates held by Mabel Bishop, a change of insurance policy form for Mabel Bishop, and a letter received by Walter Bishop.
Subseries B, Barnard College (#1.4v.-2.4, 12F+B.10), contains yearbooks signed by Bishop's classmates, alumnae magazines, Bishop's diploma, and programs for her 25th class reunion and other Barnard events.
Subseries C, Address and appointment books (#2.5v.-4.5v.), consists of appointment calendars dating from Bishop's initial involvement with Hazel Bishop, Inc., through her years at the Fashion Institute of Technology. A few address books are also included.
Subseries D, Travel (#4.6-4.8), documents Bishop's travel to Europe and Asia. Included are passports, an international driving permit, and receipts for purchases made in Europe, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Subseries E, Medical and Legal (#4.9-4.10), contains material regarding a fall Bishop suffered while staying at a hotel in California, as well as information on her hearing loss.
Subseries F, Financial (#4.11-5.15), consists primarily of bank statements and cancelled checks.
Subseries G, General (#5.16-5.22, 12F+B.10), consists of items such as Bishop's birth and baptism certificates, a draft of her will, handwritten notes, her diploma from the Bergen School for Girls, some sheet music, and membership cards. Some material relating to her move to the Osborn Retirement Community is also included, as is a 1920 autograph book.
Subseries H, Publicity (#6.1-6.8, 12F+B.1-12F+B.9, OD.1, Mem. 1 & 2), documents Bishop's life and the various stages of her career. Included is a scrapbook focusing on her life between 1950 and 1958, which includes detailed newspaper accounts of the lawsuit she brought against Hazel Bishop, Inc. The scrapbook also includes newspaper advertisements for Hazel Bishop, Inc.'s lipstick, and for Bishop's subsequent products, Leather Lav and Perfemme. Also included is a Business Week cover story on her, and her entry in Current Biography.
Series II, Correspondence (#6.9-7.7), consists of a variety of letters and cards received by Bishop. Included are letters from her friend Wayne Kuhn, dating from Bishop's term of residence at the Osborn Retirement Community, her niece Randa, and her friend and fellow Barnard alumna Marie Ippolito. Some business-related correspondence is also included: topics include speeches Bishop was invited to give and ideas for a biography, as well as material related to a 1965 trip to Europe, where Bishop conducted a survey of the cosmetics market. The series is arranged chronologically, with separate folders for Ippolito and Kuhn.
Series III, Writings and Speeches (#7.8-8.11), includes drafts and notes for Bishop's autobiography, a poem by Bishop, a proposal for a book on the cosmetics industry, and speeches and articles from different stages of her career. The speeches focus on Bishop's career and on various aspects of the cosmetics industry. (In some cases only the program for the event is included, not the speech itself.) The autobiographical material provides Bishop's perspective on the development of the Hazel Bishop company, and the beginning of her troubled relationship with the company and Raymond Spector, though detailed information on the lawsuit itself is not included here. The series is arranged into three sections: Bishop's autobiographical and personal writings, professional writings, and speeches.
Series IV, Professional (#8.12-11.14, FD.1, OD.1, 12F+B.9-12F+B.10, Mem.3), consists of material on several of Bishop's professional enterprises. Each subseries is arranged chronologically, with the exception of Subseries D, which is alphabetical.
Subseries A, Hazel Bishop, Inc. (#8.12-9.11, OD.1, 12F+B.9-12F+B.10, Mem.3), consists of legal records, annual and quarterly reports, four lipsticks, stickers with the Hazel Bishop emblem, and advertisements and promotional materials for Hazel Bishop products. Also included are clippings giving a detailed account of the court case and material on the development of Hazel Bishop, Inc., after Bishop left the company. The Jack Rosen file contains information on Bishop's interactions with him in the late 1980s, at which time Rosen was chairman of Hazel Bishop, Inc. and proposed her reaffiliation with the company.
Subseries B, Other companies and products (#9.12-9.16, 12F+B.9), contains correspondence and clippings pertaining to Perfemme, Inc. Some material related to Leather Lav and H.B. Laboratories is also included.
Subseries C, Stockbroking, (#9.17-9.21), includes a small amount of material from Bishop's stockbroking career.
Subseries D, Fashion Institute of Technology, (#9.22-11.3, 12F+B.9, OD.1), documents Bishop's involvement with the Fashion Institute, where she was consulting head of the cosmetics, fragrances, and toiletries department. Included are course and lecture outlines for the courses "The Cosmetics, Fragrances, and Toiletries Industry" and "Cosmetic, Fragrance, and Toiletry Product Knowledge" and memoranda reflecting Bishop's ideas for the development of the department and the Institute as a whole. Also included are minutes for meetings of the Advisory Council of the Cosmetics, Fragrances and Toiletries Program, and the Advisory Council's Sub-Committee. These minutes address such topics as course content, program changes, and enrollment. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Subseries E, Honors and Affiliations (#11.4-11.13, FD.1), documents some of Bishop's awards and memberships.
Series V. Photographs (#PD.1-PD.12), includes both posed and unposed photographs of Bishop and other individuals. The series is arranged chronologically.
Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access Database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as parts of the documents they accompany.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Advertising--Cosmetics--United States
Businesswomen--New York (State)
Cosmetics industry--New York (State)
Financial records
Women-owned business enterprises--New York (State)
American Chemical Society
American Institute of Chemists
Bache & Co.--Officials and employees
Barnard College--Alumni and alumnae
Estée Lauder, Inc.
Evans & Co.--Officials and employees.
Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.)--Faculty
Hazel Bishop, Inc.
Hornblower & Weeks--Officials and employees
Revlon, inc.
Spector, Raymond