Persis F.E. Albee is so famous that a unique Barbie doll was created in her honor. She has been called “The Mother of the California Perfume Company.” Others call her “The First Avon Lady,” even though the company did not produce the Avon line until after her death.
Persis Foster Eames, the daughter of Alexander & Miranda (Howe) Eames, was born 30 May 1836 in Newry, Oxford Co. Maine, and died 7 Dec 1914 in Baldwinville, Worcester Co MA. She married Ellery Albee, a native of New Hampshire, and an attorney and counsellor.
At age 50 she went to work for David McConnell, owner of the Union Publishing Company (later called the California Perfume Company) selling books. Persis was the president of the Winchester (NH) Literary Guild. David noticed that the small perfume samples given out to potential female customers were very popular. He hired Persis as the first employee of the California Perfume Company, and produced the first “Little Dot” perfume set.
It was Persis who showed McConnell the business model that made his company famous. She recruited women, called “Depot Agents” who sold their perfume products within their own communities, to people they knew. She promoted the idea of a business opportunity for women who needed money, and could work within their own social relationships. Women who could travel became “General Agents” who recruited new Depot Agents. By 1903 the California Perfume Company had a network of over 10,000 agents.
One story states that McConnell liked the Avon name, after visiting Shakespeare’s home in England. At any rate, in 1928, the company began to use this name on their products, in addition to the California Perfume Company name. In 1930, David’s son, David Jr., took over the company, and in 1939, two years after his father’s death, and 25 years after Persis Albee’s death, he renamed the company, “Avon.” The company went public in 1946.
Persis F.E. Albee died in 1914, and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Winchester, Cheshire County, New Hampshire.
**Additional Links of Interest**
-Photographs of P.F.E. Albee, and other early Depot Managers-
-“Dissertation: Now You Are in Business For Yourself“:The Independent Contractors of the California Perfume Company, 1886-1938″ (PDF file)-
**FAMILY TREE OF PERSIS FOSTER (EAMES) ALBEE**
Thomas Eames, b. 1618 in England, died He died Jan. 25, 1680, age about 62 in Framingham, Middlesex CO MA. He resided at Dedham MA 1640, Medford MA 1652-59, Cambridge MA 1664-65, Sudbury MA 1669, Sherburn MA (now a part of Framingham) 1674-75. He married 1st) abt 1640 to Margaret –; He married 2nd) abt 1662 in Dedham, Norfolk Co MA to Mary Blanford. From Temple’s History of Framingham, Mass.: “Thomas Eames probably had in all twelve children, of these the first child died young, his wife Mary was killed by the Indians Feb. 1, 1675-76 at which time the children were all taken captive or killed. John, Nathaniel, Samuel, Margaret, Elizabeth and Mary and one other taken captive; John, Nathaniel, Samuel, Margaret, Elizabeth and Mary escaped or were released.” A stone which marks the site of the Thomas Eames house at Mountwait, Framingham reads: “Here stood the house of Thomas Eames burned by the Indians in King Phillips War Feb. 1, 1675-76. His wife and five children were slain and four carried into captivity. This Memorial Is Placed by the Desendants A.D. 1890.” A soldier in the Pequot War 1637.
Children of Thomas & Margaret Eames:
1. John Eames, b. 16 May 1641 in Dedham MA, died young.
2. John Eames 2d, b. 6 Oct 1642 in Dedham MA
3. Mary Eames, b. 24 May 1645 in Dedham MA
4. Elizabeth Eames, b. abt 1646 in Dedham MA
Children of Thomas & Mary (Blanford) Eames:
5. Thomas Eames, b. 12 July 1663 in Sudbury MA
6. +Samuel Eames, b. 15 June 1664 in Sudbury, Middlesex Co MA
7. Margaret Eames, b. 8 July 1666 in Sudbury MA
8. Nathaniel Eames, b. 30 Dec 1668 in Sudbury MA
9. Sarah Eames, b. 3 Oct 1670 in Framingham, Middlesex Co MA
10. Lydia Eames, b. 23 June 1672 in Framingham MA
Samuel Eames, son of Thomas & Mary (Blanford) Eames, was b. 15 June 1664 in Sudbury, Middlesex Co MA. He d. 1737 in MA. He was taken captive by American Indians 1 Feb 1675/76 and escaped or was released. He married 21 Apr 1698 in MA to Patience Twitchell.
Children of Samuel & Patience (Twitchell) Eames:
1. Gerham Eames, b. 29 Dec 1698 MA
2. Patience Eames, b. 7 Feb 1701/02 in MA
3. Margaret Eames, b. 13 Jan 1702 in MA
4. Martha Eames, b. 9 July 1706 in MA
5. Sarah Eames, b. 28 June 1709 in MA
6. Jonathan Eames, b. 23 Jan 1710/11 MA
7. +Samuel Eames, b. 16 Apr 1714 in Framingham, Middlesex Co MA
8. Lydia Eames, b. 1 May 1716 MA
9. David Eames, b. 26 Aug 1718 MA
10. Joseph Eames, b. 9 Sep 1720 MA
Samuel Eames, son of Samuel & Patience (Twitchell) Eames, b. 16 Apr 1714 in Framingham, Middlesex Co MA. He married 1st) 11 Jan 1738/39 in MA to Sybella Haven. He married 2nd) 13 Dec 1750 to Eunice Fuller.
Children of Samuel & Sybella (Haven) Eames:
1. Patience Eames, b. 6 Jan 1739/40 MA
2. Samuel Eames, b. 1 Feb 1741/42 MA
3. Ebenezer Eames, b. 1 Sep 1744 MA
4. Sybella Eames, b. 3 Apr 1747 MA
Children of Samuel & Eunice (Fuller) Eames:
5. Eunice Eames b 21 Feb 1753 ME
6. Eunice Eames 2d, b. 6 June 1754 MA
7. Ebenezer Eames, b. 26 Apr 1756 MA
8. Eunice Eames 3d, b 9 Sep 1758 MA
9. Alexander Eames, b. abt 1760 MA
10. +James Eames, b. abt 1763 in Needham, Norfolk Co MA
James Eames, son of Samuel & Eunice (Fuller) Eames, was b. abt 1763 in Needham, Norfolk Co. MA and died 16 Jan 1845 in Dublin NH. He married 9 Sep 1784 in Newry, Oxford Co ME to Ruth Felch/Field. She was b, 4 Dec 1762 in ME.
Children of James & Ruth (Felch/Field) Eames:
1. John Eames, b. 26 March 1785 in Dublin, Cheshire Co NH
2. Persis Eames, b. 29 May 1786 in Dublin NH
3. James Eames, b. 9 Feb 1789 in Dublin NH
4. Lydia Eames, b. 1 Apr 1791 in Dublin NH
5. Ruth Eames, b. 4 March 1793 in Dublin NH
6. Samuel Eames, b. 23 Apr 1795 in Bethel, Oxford Co. ME
7. Christopher Columbus Eames, b. abt 1797 in ME
8. Maria Eames, b. 23 July 1799 in Bethel ME
9. +Alexander Eames, b. 16 March 1802 in Bethel ME
Alexander Eames, son of James & Ruth (Felch) Eames, was b. 16 March 1802 in Bethel, Oxford Co ME. He married abt 1823 in ME to Miranda Howe, dau of Jacob B. & Betty (Foster) Howe. She b. 13 May 1805 in Bridgeton ME.
Children of Alexander & Miranda (Howe) Eames: [all b. in Newry, Oxford Co. ME]
1. Miranda Howe Eames, b. 9 Jan 1824, d. 15 Apr 1904 unmarried
2. Lydia Swain Eames, b. 21 July 1826; m1) John Safford Parsons; m2) Rev. Moses Patten
3. Alexander P. Eames, b. 6 June 1828; He married 6 Nov 1849 in Nashua NH to Huldah S. Jackson.
4. Salome Greenwood Eames, b. 13 Oct 1830
5. [Child] Eames, b. 3 March 1833, died same day
6. Anna Foster Eames, b. 24 Feb 1834, m. Anson/John Schofield
7. +Persis Foster Eames, b. 30 May 1836
8. John Felch Eames, b. 4 June 1839
9. Ellen Lucilla Eames, b. 2 Aug 1841; m. Solon Albee; child: Ellery Albee, resided NY, prof. at Cornell University Ithaca NY
10. Edward/Edwin Howe Eames, b. 23 May 1844; died unmarried
11. Corliss Taylor Eames, b. 5 Oct 1846, d. 1920 unmarried
Persis Foster Eames, dau of Alexander & Miranda (Howe) Eames, was born 30 May 1836 in Newry, Oxford Co. Maine, and d. 7 Dec 1914 in Baldwinville, Worcester Co MA. She married 20 Dec 1866 in Brooklyn NH to Ellery Albee, son of Christopher Columbus & Phebe (Wilson) Albee. He was born 16 Jan 1832 in Langdon, Sullivan Co NH, and died after 1920 possibly in Dobbs Ferry NY [where he was living in 1920 with his son]. Ellery was an attorney and counselor (as shown for the years 1881 and 1882 Keene NH Directory). He was also state senator from Winchester NH in 1869 and 1870.
1910 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Cheshire > Winchester > District 50
Albee, Ellery Head M W 78 m1x 43 yrs NH MA NH own income [b abt 1832]
Albee, Persis F.E. wife F W 73 m1x 43 yrs 3 ch 2 living Maine Maine Maine
Children of Ellery & Persis F. (Eames) Albee:
1. Elbert Albee, b. 26 Nov 1868, d. 27 Nov 1868 in Winchester, Cheshire Co. NH
2. Ellery Eames Albee, b. 15 May 1870 in Winchester, Cheshire Co NH, d. in Dobbs Ferry, Westchester NY. He married 19 Aug 1916 in Lynn MA to Julia Emily Peck. She b. 5 May 1879 in Montpelier VT. Had dau, Nancy Janet Albee, b. 2 June 1917 in Dobbs Ferry, Westchester Co NY.
3. Ellen Lucilla Albee, b. 10 July 1873 in Winchester, Cheshire Co NH; married 23 May 1980 to Lorey Dwight Day; resided Baldwinville MA. Lorey owned Smith, Day & Co.