- Parham, Bettie Esther
- Call number
- Sc MG 496
- Physical description
- 1 folder
- Preferred Citation
- Bettie Esther Parham collection, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
- Access to materials
- Advance notice required. Request access to this collection.
The Bettie Esther Parham collection contains information about the company she founded, the National Beauty Supply Company. The products of its subsidiaries are represented via advertisements and price lists. There are a few scattered letters regarding business expansion in the United States and Nigeria, as well as a list of equipment needed for the company's branching out to Nigeria and a "A Plan for the Development of Esther Parham Products in the United States and Africa," 1977. Financial and personal documents, and the pamphlet "How to Get Money through Positive Thinking" by Parham complete the collection.
Bettie Esther Parham was owner and founder of the National Beauty Supply Company and its subsidiaries, which provided products geared towards black women. Beauty products were made and sold to beauty shops, with a full line of cosmetics added for the consumer trade. The company operated out of New York City, and in the 1940's Parham became the first black retail owner on 125th street in Harlem. The subsidiaries were Esther Beauty Aids Company, manufacturing cosmetics; The Esther Beauterias, beauty salons in Brooklyn and Manhattan; and Esther Hair Goods Division, which manufactured wigs and other hair goods. In 1959 Parham became the first African American to expand her business to Africa by exporting her line of products to Nigeria. In the 1970's she entered the food business, marketing sauces.
Parham was born and raised in North Carolina, and received degrees in education and chemistry. She took additional advanced courses at colleges in North Carolina and New York, and taught chemistry at Dillard University in New Orleans. She also wrote articles in newspapers and magazines in exchange for advertising space, and authored a pamphlet entitled "How to Get Money through Positive Thinking.".
Source of acquisitionGift, Esther Parham, December 1993
Using the collection
LocationSchomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801