Texas Ingenuity History


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I think you've got a hit on your hands -- judging by the way the guys were reading it yesterday! They kept going--"I didn't know this"... or, "oh, yeah, I remember this"...What FUN! I gave out 7 of your Texas books at the family Christmas get-together yesterday--and now I need to buy another 3. P.S. (Athens)

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Mary Kay Does a Beautiful Thing

Charlotte Whitton once said, “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.” The grit, imagination, and determination of pioneer Texas women transformed this state from a dusty outpost into the finest plot of land on this earth. Early Texas women like Jane Long, one of the first English-speaking women to give birth in the new country, arrived in primitive Galveston in 1821. When her husband died, she was left alone with no resources. She somehow managed to survive and opened a hotel in Brazoria in 1832, where she helped the fledgling Republic of Texas government take hold. She died at the age of 82 and her gravestone in Richmond reflects her legacy. It simply says, “Jane H. Long, The Mother of Texas.” The first female surgeon in Texas, Dr. Sofie D. Herzog, defied popular beliefs against women physicians, and set up shop in Brazoria in the 1880s. And there was Governor Miriam Amanda (Ma) Ferguson who unmasked the Ku Klux Klan in an attempt to free the state from racial hatred; and Barbara Jordan, who broke the color barrier in Texas politics. These and many other Texas women shaped this state and contributed to its greatness. It is not easy to be a pioneer or to break a mold that is long held. In the Texas business world, no one broke the mold like Mary Kay.
Texan Mary Kathlyn Wagner of Hot Wells learned responsibility early. With her mother managing a restaurant and her father an invalid from tuberculosis, Mary had to be the family nursemaid, cook and chief bottle washer from the time she was eight years old. In those years, Mary learned what it took to get a job done, not only at home, but at school as well. Always a star student, she could have gone to almost any college, but she had no money. Instead, at the age of seventeen, she graduated into marriage.

Continues in the book . . .

In July 1963, she married George Hallenbeck and together they made plans to start Beauty by Mary Kay (changed later to Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.) Bottles were filled, labels designed, products boxed, and everything looked good. Then disaster struck Mary again. Her husband and business partner died suddenly, just one month before the planned opening date for the new business.

Continues. . .

Texas Tidbit: Fannie Flagg, the author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe was a good friend of Mary Kay Ash. In the movie version of that story, Mrs. Threadgoode tells Evelyn Couch that she would be “good with cosmetics,” so Evelyn becomes a successful Mary Kay beauty consultant.

The story continues in the book Texas Ingenuity... For complete information on this and other Texas stories...