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"Direct Sell and Selling Tricks," 1963

Collection Creator:
Simmons Company  Search this
Container:
Box 168
Type:
Archival materials
Scope and Contents note:
Red with mottled label
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
See more items in:
The Simmons Company Records
The Simmons Company Records / Series 2: Marketing / 2.12: Audio/Visual Materials / 2.L.3: Filmstrips
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep816cd283f-c955-4883-84ce-9bd56ac5b017
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0731-ref1463

Brownie Wise Papers

Inventor:
Wise, Brownie Humphrey, 1913-1991  Search this
Names:
Stanley Home Products  Search this
Tupperware Home Parties  Search this
Vivian Woodward Cosmetics  Search this
Extent:
15 Cubic feet (42 boxes, 33 sound recordings)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Personal papers
Business records
Speeches
Audiovisual materials
Photographs
Date:
circa 1928-1968
Summary:
The papers consist of business records documenting the history of Tupperware from 1951-1958, during which Brownie Wise served as vice president of the Tupperware Company. Also, personal papers and business records documenting her marketing activities for Stanley Home Products, Vivian Woodard Cosmetics, and others.
Scope and Contents:
The Brownie Wise Papers constitute an essential complement to the Earl Tupper Papers, acquired in 1992, and to the museums rich collections of Tupperware products. Together these collections document not only the founding and early business history of Tupperware, but also significant areas of American history in which the museum has a demonstrated interest. The Brownie Wise Papers illuminate aspects of an American consumer culture which achieved its apex in the post-World War II years; in many ways, Tupperware and the Tupperware party reflect the key defining elements of the fifties. Of special significance is the story these papers tell of a successful woman business executive and working mother, in an era whose women have more often been characterized by June Cleaver and Harriet Nelson. The Tupperware story offers rich insights into the society and culture of the era, illuminating issues of gender, consumerism, and technological development.

There are approximately 15 cubic feet of materials, including photographic and audiovisual materials. The collection is organized into eight series.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into eight series.

Series 1: Personal Papers, circa 1928-1968

Series 2: Stanley Home Products, Patio Parties, circa 1947-1959

Series 3: Tupperware Home Parties, circa 1951-1959

Series 4: Direct Sales consulting, circa 1958-1969

Series 5: Other Direct Sales Consulting, circa 1958-1971

Series 6: Other Business ventures, circa 1958-1967

Series 7: Photographs, 1930-1968

Series 8: Audiovisual Materials, 1953-1957; 1977
Biographical Note:
Brownie Humphrey was born in Buford, Georgia in 1913, the daughter of Rosabelle Stroud Humphrey and Jerome Humphrey, a plumber. According to longtime friend Kay Robinson, Brownie knew that there were few business opportunities for women in the South, and that "unless she wanted to work in sales, she would have to leave the South." After meeting Robert Wise at the Texas Centennial in 1936, where the couple saw an exhibition highlighting a bright future at Ford Motors, Brownie and Robert married and moved to the Detroit area where he worked as a machinist, later opening a small machine shop. The couple divorced in 1941, about three years after the birth of their only child, Jerry. Brownie Wise never remarried.

During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Brownie contributed to a correspondence column of the Detroit News under the pen name "Hibiscus." Her columns were largely autobiographical, but used elements of fantasy and romance to address a uniquely female urban community. In Detroit, Wise worked briefly at an ad agency and in a millinery shop. During World War II, Wise got a job as an executive secretary at Bendix. After the war, Brownie and her mother, Rose Stroud Humphrey, began selling Stanley Home Products. When Jerry became ill in 1949, they followed a doctor's advice and moved to Miami where they began a direct selling business they called Patio Parties. Through this business, the mother daughter team distributed Poly-T (Tupperware), Stanley Home Products, West Bend, and other household goods through an innovative home party plan adopted by Brownie.

Thomas Damigella in Massachusetts, and Brownie Wise in South Florida, quickly became among the fastest movers of Tupperware products, attracting the attention of Earl Tupper, who was still searching for a profitable outlet for his plastic containers. Because Americans were still skeptical of plastics and because the Tupper seal required demonstration, early attempts at department store sales had been unsuccessful. Some independent dealers had more success selling through demonstrations at state fairs or door-to-door, but sales and distribution remained low. The experiences of Damigella and Wise convinced Tupper to offer the products on a home party plan. He partnered with Norman Squires, the originator of Hostess Home Parties, to pursue this strategy.

In 1951, Tupper recruited Brownie to develop the Hostess party plan for Tupperware, and named her vice president of the company. She is credited with developing the party plan and sales organization, and with creating the annual Jubilee, a pep-rally and awards ceremony for dealers and distributors; it was her idea to locate company headquarters in Kissimmee, and she oversaw the design and construction of the campus. With the company's meteoric success came national recognition. Her public role was all the greater because Earl Tupper shunned all public exposure; Wise was the public head of the company throughout the 1950s. She was both honored guest and invited speaker at national sales and marketing conferences, where she was often the only woman in attendance. Scores of laudatory articles about her appeared in the sales industry and general business press, and she became the darling of the women's magazines, including features in McCalls, Charm and Companion.

Tupper and Wise clashed over the management and direction of the business in late 1957 and the board of directors forced her out in January, 1958. She filed a $1,600,000 suit against the company for conspiracy and breach of contract, but settled out of court for a year's salary -- about $30,000. Shortly thereafter, Tupper sold the company to Dart/Rexall and relinquished all involvement with it.

Beginning in 1958 and through the 1960s, Brownie co-founded three direct sales cosmetics companies, Cinderella (1958-59), Carissa (1963) and Sovera/Trivera (1966-69). She also was president of Viviane Woodard Cosmetics (1960-62), and consulted for Artex and others. In addition, she undertook a real estate development venture in Kissimmee with Charles McBurney and George Reynolds (both former Tupperware executives). She seems never to have achieved the same level of success in these later business ventures. Wise continued to live in the Kissimmee area, moving from Waters' Edge, the spectacular 1920s mansion she occupied during the Tupperware years, to a home George Reynolds designed for her in. She was active in her church and as an artist, working in clay and textiles. During the last eight years of her life she was in declining health. She died in December 1992.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History in March 1994 by Brownie Wise's son, Jerry Wise, of Kissimmee, Florida.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Direct selling  Search this
Women in marketing  Search this
Sales promotion  Search this
Product demonstrations  Search this
Plastics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Personal papers -- 20th century
Business records -- 20th century
Speeches
Audiovisual materials
Photographs -- 20th century
Citation:
Brownie Wise Papers, 1938-1968, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0509
See more items in:
Brownie Wise Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8cb6c92b9-bbc8-44e3-9570-0d5bd7fede8e
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0509
Online Media:

Direct Selling Sales Executives Club, May 14, 1954

Collection Inventor:
Wise, Brownie Humphrey, 1913-1991  Search this
Container:
Box 10, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Brownie Wise Papers, 1938-1968, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Brownie Wise Papers
Brownie Wise Papers / Series 3: Tupperware Home Parties / 3.3: Speeches to outside groups and Sales Organizations
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8c25f1e75-24db-4bb3-a2b8-fee0735e6dfa
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0509-ref152

Direct Sales Cosmetics Companies

Collection Inventor:
Wise, Brownie Humphrey, 1913-1991  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1958-1969
Scope and Contents:
Series 4: Direct Sales Cosmetics Companies, circa 1958-1969. Wise's business activities in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a co-founder and consultant in direct selling cosmetics enterprises also are well documented. Companies include Cinderella (1958-59), and Vivian Woodard (1960-62), Carissa (1963), Aloe Vera (1966-68), Trivera (1967-68), and Sovera (1967-69). Organized files include sales handbooks and dealer/distributor literature written by Wise, correspondence, reports and recommendations for clients, samples of advertising and marketing materials, and sales force newsletters.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Brownie Wise Papers, 1938-1968, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0509, Series 4
See more items in:
Brownie Wise Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a3d58567-0d32-4ea8-90db-b8564231e1f3
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0509-ref254

Ann and Thomas Damigella Collection

Creator:
Damigella, Ann.  Search this
Damigella, Thomas  Search this
Names:
Tupperware Home Parties  Search this
Tupperware International.  Search this
Extent:
17 Videocassettes (VHS)
38 Motion picture films
1.25 Cubic feet (4 boxes )
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Videocassettes (vhs)
Motion picture films
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sound recordings
Date:
1951-1997
Summary:
Film, sound recordings and documentary material relating to the history of Tupperware home parties and the Damigella Tupperware distributorship in Everett, Massachusetts.
Scope and Contents:
Because of their long affiliation with Tupperware, the Damigellas have amassed a significant collection of archival documentation and memorabilia relating to the history of Tupperware, and particularly to the sales practices and sales force training methods of this highly successful, widely emulated, international corporation.

The collection includes film, sound recordings and printed material relating to Tupperware sales practices and methods of sales force motivation and control.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in ten series. Within each series, materials are arranged chronologically.

Series 1: CATALOGS, 1957-1997

Series 2: GAMES AND DEMONSTRATION GUIDES, 1965-1990

Series 3: ADVERTISING, 1970-1980

Series 4: TUPPERWARE INTERNATIONAL, 1960-1990

Series 5: RECRUITMENT, DEALERSHIP AND MANAGERSHIP, 1960-1995. Proscriptive and motivational literature about working for Tupperware. Series 6: SOUND RECORDINGS, 1953; 1977-78

Series 7: OUR WORLD MAGAZINE, 1976-1991. Sales force magazine, containing demonstration, recruitment and sales advice; product information; and profiles of successful dealers, managers and distributors.

Series 8: JUBILEE PUBLICATIONS, 1967-1982. Publications reviewing and highlighting Jubilee, the annual sales force gathering in Orlando, Florida.

Series 9: DAMIGELLA DISTRIBUTORSHIP AND TUPPERWARE HISTORICAL MATERIALS, 1960-1991. News clippings, research reports, and other background information about Tupperware and the Damigella distributorship, including a chronology compiled by Tom Damigella, Jr.and material assembled by the son of Stanley Home Products and Tupperware salesman Norman Squires relating to his contributions to or innovation in the home party plan.

Series 10: MOVING IMAGES, 1951-1991. 54 16mm films and 2@ VHS videotapes. Film and video mastering and duplication were made possible by a gift from Tupperware International.

There are six subseries.

Subseries 1: Promotional/Motivational Films, 1960-1992. Contains promotional and motivational films featuring activities organized by the company to bring dealers and distributors together, usually with statements from Tupperware executives. Contains product promotion films introducing new Tupperware to the sales force. Contains Jubilee films showcasing the annual celebration, showing award ceremonies, games, music and entertainment (including appearances by Anita Bryant, Waylon Jennings and Pat Boone).

Subseries 2: Training Films, 1952-1997. Includes step-by-step guides to planning Home Parties, learning sales techniques, demonstrating products, and introducing new sales promotions. One film gives tips on safe driving to and from the Tupperware parties, for managers using cars leased by the distributorship for their use.

Subseries 3: Corporate Films, 1958-1992. Includes films showing product development from design to end result as well as discussions of business strategies.

Subseries 4: Commercials, 1983-1994. Presents new products; emphasizes effectiveness and efficiency of using Tupperware.

Subseries 5: Home Movies, 1951-1997. Includes home movies shot by Tupperware distributors Tom and Ann Damigella. This material includes tributes to the Damigellas.

Subseries 6: Acquired Films, 1961. Non-Tupperware films acquired by the Damigellas.
Biographical / Historical:
Ann and Tom Damigella already had experience selling Stanley Home Products when they encountered Tupperware in 1947. Mr. and Mrs. Damigella foresaw great possibilities with the new product, and immediately decided to add Tupperware to the line of products they offered door to door. In 1950, they attended the first "round table" meeting with Earl Tupper (inventor of Tupperware), Brownie Wise (who perfected Tupperware's home party sales system) and sixteen to twenty other Tupperware distributors from around the country. The Damigellas quickly became some of the top Tupperware sales people in the country; in 1952 they were awarded a Cadillac as one of the top six movers of Tupperware in North America. Self-proclaimed Tupperware people, their son, Tom Damigella, Jr., and son-in-law, Jon Nelson, followed them into the business, making the Damigella Distributorship the oldest and among the most successful distributorships in the country -- the distributorship has been in the top 25 in sales every year since the early 1960s. Tom. Jr. manages the distributorship since his father's retirement in 1994; Jon Nelson went on to become one of Tupperware's regional vice-presidents.
Related Materials:
Tupperware may also be found in the Museum's Division of Domestic Life (now Division of Cultural and Community Life). Researchers interested in the history of Tupperware should also consult the Earl Tupper (AC#470) and Brownie Wise (AC#509) Collections in the Archives Center.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History by Ann and Thomas Damigella in July 1997.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the fils are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Most items have copyright and/or trademark restrictions. Tupperware films: Most duplication and use of films in commercial and non-commercial productions requires written permission from the Tupperware Corporation. See repository for details.
Topic:
Plastic container industry -- 1950-2000  Search this
Product demonstrations -- 1950-2000  Search this
Sales -- Plastic containers -- 1950-2000  Search this
Direct selling -- 1950-2000  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sound recordings
Citation:
Ann and Thomas Damigella Collection, 1951-1997, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0583
See more items in:
Ann and Thomas Damigella Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8c3d57e27-6305-48fe-a45e-f55047dc2f00
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0583
Online Media:

Fuller Brush Company Records

Creator:
Fuller Brush Company  Search this
Extent:
32.5 Cubic feet (77 boxes, 1 map-folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Articles
Clippings
Ledgers (account books)
Letters (correspondence)
Motion picture film
Newsletters
Photographs
Printed materials
Programs (documents)
Reports
Sales catalogs
Sales records
Trade catalogs
Trade literature
Training manuals
Financial statements
Market surveys
Business records
Place:
Connecticut -- Hartford
Kansas
Date:
1890-2017
Summary:
The collection documents the Fuller Brush Company founded by Alfred C. Fuller in 1906.
Content Description:
The collection documents the Fuller Brush Company from the early years of its existence. The contents include photographs; ledgers; correspondence; internal reports; manufacturing facility studies; quality control reports; financial statements; sales data; company newsletters, some loose and some in bound form; other internal publications; advertising; trade literature; product manuals; catalogs; training manuals and employee handbooks; company annual reports; convention programs and materials; films; materials relating to employee incentives; vinyl records of radio broadcasts; scripts, pressbooks, and other promotional material for motion pictures; informational audio-cassete tapes; contracts, trial testimonies, and other legal papers; industry surveys and marketing campaign proposals; and clippings and printed materials.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into thirteen series. Unless otherwise noted, material is arranged chronologically.

Series 1: Historical background, 1916-2001

Series 2: Corporate records, 1917-2010 (bulk 1973-1976)

Series 3: Marketing, 1941-2013

Series 4: Operational records, 1913-1976 (bulk 1969-1976)

Series 5: Financial materials, 1919-1996

Series 6: Personnel, 1922-1984

Series 7: Sales managers, 1922-1990

Series 8: Distributors, 1921-2006

Series 9: Publications, 1920-1999

Series 10: Product materials, 1912-2017

Series 11: Photographs, circa 1890-2000

Series 12: Press Clippings and Publicity, 1921-2010

Series 13: The Fuller Brush Man and The Fuller Brush Girl, 1947-1953, 2004 (bulk 1947-1952).
Historical:
Founded in 1906 by Alfred C. Fuller in Hartford, Connecticut, the Fuller Brush Company predominately sold a wide range of cleaning products, marketed for personal care, housekeeping, and commercial users. Mostly a direct-selling company, it is perhaps best known for its independent, door-to-door salesmen, a figure referred to in popular culture as "the Fuller Brush Man." Calling on the housewives of America, the Fuller Brush Man would visit households with a gift, flyers, and a case full of samples, with which he would demonstrate the use of cleaning implements of various shapes and sizes. Through techniques such as developing new products based on customer feedback, and providing a satisfaction guarantee by allowing for product returns during the Fuller Brush Man's next visit, the Fuller Brush Company inspired new levels of trust and credibility in direct selling. In return, the company reaped massive profits. During the peak of the company's popularity, in around the 1950s, the Fuller Brush Man was a ubiquitous part of the American landscape, alluded to in comic strips, radio programs, and popular films, such as the 1948 Red Skelton comedy The Fuller Brush Man and the 1950 comedy The Fuller Brush Girl, starring Lucille Ball.

The Fuller Brush Company continually used its resources to promote and establish the identity of the Fuller Brush Man, to its own salespeople as well as the public. Traditional print advertisements were supplemented with extensive publicity coverage, carefully crafted by the Fuller Brush Company's advertising and public relations team. The company fostered a culture of achievable aspiration among new recruits, through in-house publications, which celebrated the accomplishments of fellow dealers, incentive programs, and a career ladder pipeline, which allowed high achieving salesmen to advance from independent dealers to regional sales managers--who were considered formal employees of the Fuller Brush Company. Some sales managers became local celebrities in their districts, adding their own charisma to the development of the Fuller Brush Man--such as New York District's Al Teetsel--whose "Fine and Dandy" personal motto established a cult following. Other Fuller Brush Company salesmen used the Fuller Brush Man's distinctive optimism, pluck, and perseverance to later become celebrities in their own right, such as evangelist Billy Graham, who attributed his high school days as a successful Fuller Brush Man to his future success.

While the Fuller Brush Company is best known for its door-to-door network of Fuller Brush Men, and its household products division, the company experimented with various channels of distribution and other specialized products during its over 100-year history. The Fuller Brush Company produced implements to clean guns during World War II, and in 1945 was honored with the E Award for its war effort contributions. In the 1940s, the Fuller Brush Company introduced female salespeople, or "Fullerettes" to their door-to-door ranks (mostly to promote their Debutante Cosmetics line, released by Daggett & Ramsdell, Inc. in 1948). The company returned to actively recruiting Fullerettes in 1966, and thereafter welcomed distributors of either sex. The company's Machine Division produced the mast for the sailboat "Columbia" in 1958, and in the 1960s, its Marine Division produced items for the maintenance of nautical equipment. Around the 1960s, its Household Division incorporated new items such as vitamins and hormone treatments into its personal care product line. The company experimented with retail brick-and-mortar locations, and, in 1974, instigated a telemarketing program. After 1985, the Fuller Brush Company began to move away from door-to-door sales techniques, redeveloping its sale channel distribution system to include mail order catalogs, a secure sales website for distributors, network-marketing techniques, and a reinterpretation of sales territories for distributors where district territories began to blur in favor of nationwide sales opportunities.

Founded in Hartford, Connecticut, the company remained in the region through the 1960s, though the company shifted locations to larger offices and manufacturing facilities as it grew. In 1960, operational facilities and headquarters moved to a large, custom-built campus in East Hartford, Connecticut. However, in 1968, the company was acquired by the Kitchens of Sara Lee, Inc. (then a part of the Consolidated Foods Corporation). During the 1970s the Fuller Brush Company experienced rapid changes in administration and organization. Under President Nat Zivin, headquarters relocated to Niles, Illinois in 1973. Later the same year, headquarters and operations moved to a large manufacturing facility in Great Bend, Kansas. The company remained a division of Sara Lee until 1989.

The Fuller Brush Company grew to involve multiple subsidiaries, including many that were international. The Fuller Brush Company established a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary in 1921, called the Fuller Brush Company, Limited. In 1942, the Fuller Brush Company bought out a competitor, the Albany, New York-based Mohawk Brush Company. The "bristlecomb" hairbrush, introduced by the Mohawk Brush Company in 1928, remained one of the Fuller Brush Company's signature products. In 1961, the Fuller Brush Company founded and incorporated Charter Supply Corporation as a wholly-owned Mohawk subsidiary. Charter Products operated as a "private label" division, to rebrand duplicate products. The Fuller Brush Company also owned subsidiaries in Mexico; in 1968, the Fuller Brush Company held 100% interest in House of Fuller, S.A. and Charter de Mexico, S.A., both established in Mexico. Also in 1968, the Fuller Brush Company was a partial owner of House of Fuller (Jamaica), Ltd. The Fuller Brush Company conducted business around the world, including dealings in England, France, Jamaica, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Venezuela.

With growth came legal challenges. The Green River Ordinance, established in 1931, placed limits on door-to-door sales. The Fuller Brush Company challenged the ordinance, when it went to the Supreme Court in 1937. Over the course of its history, the Fuller Brush Company weathered lawsuits ranging from trademark disputes to labor treatment complaints from area managers in Puerto Rico.

After the sale by Sara Lee in 1989, the Fuller Brush Company was held by a series of private owners, including Lee Turner and Stuart A. Ochiltree. In June 1994, CPAC, Inc. purchased the company. In 1995, CPAC, Inc. also bought a longtime competitor of the Fuller Brush Company, Stanley Home Products, a company founded in 1929 by Stanley Beverage, a former sales vice president for the Fuller Brush Company. The two companies became siblings under the same parent organization; items from the Stanley Home Products line were sold by Fuller Brush Company distributors, and manufactured at the Fuller Brush Company plant in Great Bend. In 2012, both the Fuller Brush Company and Stanley Home Products filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The companies merged their product lines and catalogs, eliminating equivalent products, to cut costs and streamline operations.

In December 2012, David Sabin and Chicago-based private equity firm Victory Park Capital purchased the Fuller Brush Company. The company headquarters moved to Napa Valley, California. Facing increased financial difficulties, in 2016 the company began to phase out its independent distributor system and domestic manufacturing operations. Around January 2018, the company was sold to Galaxy Brush LLC of Lakewood, New Jersey.
Biographical:
Alfred C. Fuller (January 13, 1885 - December 4, 1973), was founder and first president of the Fuller Brush Company, as well as the "original Fuller Brush Man." He was born in rural Nova Scotia, to parents Leander Joseph Fuller and Phebe Jane Collins. The eleventh of twelve children, Fuller took pride in the resilient and self-sufficient spirit he developed growing up on a Nova Scotian farm, and valued such qualities throughout his life over formal education. Long after his success, he promoted himself as an average man among average men.

In 1903, at age eighteen, Alfred Fuller left his family home in Nova Scotia, and followed siblings who settled in the United States. He moved in with his sister Annie and her husband, Frank Adler, in Somerville, Massachusetts. After a series of odd jobs, Fuller considered trying his hand at selling brushes (he was inspired by a brother, Dwight, who made and sold brushes before his death by tuberculosis in 1901). Alfred discovered a knack for trade; unlike many other direct salesmen at the time, his sales technique emphasized product demonstrations. Eventually, Fuller decided to make his own brushes. He set up a workbench in his sister's basement in January 1906. Four months later, he moved to Hartford, Connecticut where he founded the Fuller Brush Company.

The rapid success of the company, improved Alfred C. Fuller's romantic prospects. With the enthusiastic support of his sister, Annie, Alfred initiated a courtship with a Nova Scotian woman who had formerly caught his eye, Evelyn Ellis. They were married on April 10, 1908. However, the marriage was strained, and they divorced in 1930. In 1932, Alfred Fuller remarried. His second wife, Mary Primrose Pelton, was also Nova Scotian, the daughter of a judge from Yarmouth. They remained together for the rest of his life.

Alfred C. Fuller and his first wife Evelyn had two sons. Alfred Howard was born in 1913 and Avard in 1916. Both would later rise to prominence within the Fuller Brush Company, serving as its second and third presidents. The elder son, Howard, was Fuller Brush Company President from 1943 until 1959. From an early age, Howard challenged his father regarding the direction of the company. With his bold and aggressive personality, Howard was able to institute changes to the company that resulted in higher profits, such as distributing catalogs before the salesman's visit, shortening product demonstrations, prioritizing many small sales over few large sales, and developing other techniques that emphasized speed and efficiency. However, his temperament also contributed to Howard and his wife Dora's untimely deaths. Howard, always interested in thrilling, high-risk pursuits (such as driving sports cars, piloting airplanes, and racing speedboats and sailboats) was cruising through Nevada at 120-miles per hour for a business trip, uncharacteristically accompanied by his wife, when his Mercedes-Benz 300 SL blew a tire. Both Fullers died in the accident.

Following the tragic accident, Avard assumed leadership of the Fuller Brush Company. Avard's more conservative nature ushered in an era of leadership where his father, Alfred C. Fuller, rose in honor and influence with the company. However, Avard relied on traditional sales strategies (such as promoting a culture around the Fuller Brush Man, rather than take a more active strategy toward integrating female distributors) which placed the Fuller Brush Company at a disadvantage with competitors such as Avon Cosmetics. Avard served as President of the Fuller Brush Company until 1969.

Although Alfred C. Fuller never reclaimed presidency of the Fuller Brush Company, he remained chairman emeritus for the duration of his life. A treasured company figurehead, celebrations were held in his honor long after his retirement. In 1956, a testimonial dinner was held where a portrait of Fuller was unveiled in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the Fuller Brush Company. In 1965, Alfred C. Fuller was further honored, when his birthplace was dedicated as a historic landmark. Alfred C. Fuller was known as "Dad" Fuller to the thousands of Fuller Brush Men and Fullerettes who represented the company door-to-door throughout the country, and made frequent appearances in in-house publications and external publicity. Working with Hartzell Spence, Alfred C. Fuller wrote an autobiography, titled A Foot in the Door, published by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. in 1960. A practicing Christian Scientist with a devout Methodist mother, Fuller frequently alludes to the influence of his faith in his autobiography. Alfred C. Fuller passed away on December 4, 1973.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Stanley Home Products Collection (AC0788)

Earl S. Tupper Papers (AC0470)

Brownie Wise Papers (AC0509)

Ann and Thomas Damigella Collections (AC0583)

Industry on Parade Film Collection, episodes 66, 217 (AC0507)

Materials at the Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Libraries Trade Literature Collection, includes some Fuller Brush Company catalogs;

The Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History holds artifacts from the Fuller Brush Company from previous accessions, such as hairbrushes for women and men (including bristlecomb hairbrushes); shower brushes; toothbrushes; combs; a military brush; brush holders; and similar materials. (AG.A.6645-AG.A.6653; AG.A.6656-AG.A.6666; AG.77-FT-15.0523; ZZ.RSN833134).

The Medicine and Science Division (now Division of Medicine and Science) National Museum of American History holds a general purpose cleaning brush, and a bathroom fixtures cleaning brush from a previous accession (2006.0098).

National Portrait Gallery holds a portrait of Alfred Fuller.

Materials at Other Organizations

Hagley Museum and Library, Manuscripts and Archives Department

Avon Products Inc., Records, 1880-2012

University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Archives

Columbia Pictures Records, 1934-1974 (collection #93555)

Includes materials related to the Fuller Brush man and Fuller Brush Girl, 1950.
Separated Materials:
Artifacts collected along with the acquisition of archival material are held by the Divisions of Work and Industry, and Medicine and Science.

Separated materials assigned to the Division of Work and Industry include a men's tie; buttons; ashtray; charm; and tape measure. See accession 2018.0089.

Separated materials assigned to Division of Medicine and Science include a bathing brush, a dental plate brush, a women's hair brush, a comb cleaner, and toothbrushes. Some items are maintained in original packaging, or are kept with original paper inserts. See accession 2018.0090.
Provenance:
Collection donated by the Fuller Brush Company through David Sabin, 2018.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Advertising copy  Search this
Advertising, Point-of-sale  Search this
Broom and brush industry  Search this
Door-to-door selling  Search this
Household supplies  Search this
Print Advertising  Search this
Sales promotion  Search this
Traveling sales personnel  Search this
Manufacturing  Search this
Cosmetics industry  Search this
Industry -- U.S.  Search this
Direct selling  Search this
Businesspeople  Search this
Marketing  Search this
Radio broadcasts  Search this
Product demonstrations  Search this
Genre/Form:
Articles -- 20th century
Clippings -- 20th century
Ledgers (account books) -- 20th century
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century.
Motion picture film
Newsletters -- 20th century
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- 20th century
Printed materials
Programs (documents)
Reports -- 20th century
Sales catalogs
Sales records
Trade catalogs -- 20th century
Trade literature -- 20th century
Training manuals -- 20th century
Financial statements
Market surveys
Business records -- 20th century
Citation:
Fuller Brush Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1459
See more items in:
Fuller Brush Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep80f355224-82dc-4b86-a46c-f62b87d048fc
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1459
Online Media:

Guidelines for Internet Use (Direct Selling Association)

Collection Creator:
Fuller Brush Company  Search this
Container:
Box 62, Folder 7
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1998-12
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Fuller Brush Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Fuller Brush Company Records
Fuller Brush Company Records / Series 8: Distributors / 8.2: Contracts and policies
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8c122fd33-72d4-4b83-bcf6-5e7f0a408052
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1459-ref1009

Luther H. Hodges Introduction, national convention of National Association of Direct Selling Companies

Collection Creator:
Fuller Brush Company  Search this
Container:
Box 2, Folder 10
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1962-06
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Fuller Brush Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Fuller Brush Company Records
Fuller Brush Company Records / Series 1: Historical Background / 1.7: Alfred C. Fuller honors and addresses
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8e5f810ab-daab-4674-bf17-05f7ac14c3a9
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1459-ref128

Merchandise Distribution by Direct Selling: Facts, Figures, History, and Information (National Association of Direct Selling Companies)

Collection Creator:
Fuller Brush Company  Search this
Container:
Box 61, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Fuller Brush Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Fuller Brush Company Records
Fuller Brush Company Records / Series 3: Marketing / 3.1: Market Research
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8038709ab-d625-4f97-8b5d-7fb0acc73223
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1459-ref985

Direct mail for dummies / by Richard Goldsmith ; with Dan Breau, Sandra Blackthorn, and Kelly Ewing

Author:
Goldsmith, Richard  Search this
Physical description:
x, 107 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
Type:
Handbooks, manuals, etc
Date:
2000
Topic:
Direct selling--Handbooks, manuals, etc  Search this
Advertising, Direct-mail  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1050492

The critical study of work : labor, technology, and global production / edited by Rick Baldoz, Charles Koeber, and Philip Kraft

Author:
Baldoz, Rick 1969-  Search this
Koeber, Charles 1967-  Search this
Kraft, Philip 1944-  Search this
Physical description:
vii, 285 p. ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
2001
C2001
20th century
Topic:
Working class--History  Search this
Work environment--History  Search this
Technological innovations--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_714843

The direct selling revolution / Dominique Xardel

Author:
Xardel, Dominique 1934-  Search this
Subject:
Amway Corporation  Search this
Physical description:
xii, 214 p. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1993
Topic:
Direct selling  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_462840

National Association of Direct Selling, June 1951

Collection Creator:
Stanley Home Products  Search this
Beveridge, Frank Stanley  Search this
O'Brien, Catherine L.  Search this
Collection Donor:
Perkins, Homer  Search this
Container:
Box 49, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Scope and Contents:
Includes L. R. Bressler, Stanley Home Products
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the audio discs in box 48 are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Stanley Home Products Collection, 1931-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Stanley Home Products Collection
Stanley Home Products Collection / Series 11: Audiovisual Materials / 11.2: Audio Discs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep801cf0680-50a7-4331-8da4-d82dc0bcec35
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0788-ref643

Televised Business Show

Collection Creator:
Stanley Home Products  Search this
Beveridge, Frank Stanley  Search this
O'Brien, Catherine L.  Search this
Collection Donor:
Perkins, Homer  Search this
Extent:
1 Motion picture film
Container:
Item OF 788.12
Type:
Archival materials
Motion picture films
Date:
circa 1970
Scope and Contents:
16mm black and white composite optical track print (appears to have been shot off a television screen, but not a traditional kinescope) 780 ft. Content: A business-oriented interview show with changing stock quotes running along the bottom of the image. The interviewee is Dwight Manners , a vice-president of Stanley Home Products, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. They discuss the history of Stanley Home Products, direct selling, and the role of women in the company.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the audio discs in box 48 are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Stanley Home Products Collection, 1931-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Stanley Home Products Collection
Stanley Home Products Collection / Series 11: Audiovisual Materials / 11.3: Moving Image
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8d5891c03-2e2a-4bf4-8fb9-2b9d1c43fa5a
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0788-ref831

What They're Saying about Direct Selling,

Collection Creator:
Stanley Home Products  Search this
Beveridge, Frank Stanley  Search this
O'Brien, Catherine L.  Search this
Collection Donor:
Perkins, Homer  Search this
Container:
Box 19, Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1978 November 19
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the audio discs in box 48 are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Stanley Home Products Collection, 1931-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Stanley Home Products Collection
Stanley Home Products Collection / Series 10: Publications
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a7f62ac1-93bf-460d-a6d7-4a1b5d0bfba4
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0788-ref469

National Association of Direct Selling Companies, annual convention, Hotel Drake

Collection Creator:
Stanley Home Products  Search this
Beveridge, Frank Stanley  Search this
O'Brien, Catherine L.  Search this
Collection Donor:
Perkins, Homer  Search this
Extent:
1 Sound tape reel
Container:
Box 36, Folder 5
Type:
Archival materials
Sound tape reels
Date:
1953 June 3
Scope and Contents:
Includes Mrs. Brownie Wise, Tupperware House Party Demonstration
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the audio discs in box 48 are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Stanley Home Products Collection, 1931-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Stanley Home Products Collection
Stanley Home Products Collection / Series 11: Audiovisual Materials / 11.1: Audio Tapes
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep891741167-2f33-463a-98c3-1e24b37959f9
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0788-ref506

National Association of Direct Selling Companies, Annual Convention Hotel Drake

Collection Creator:
Stanley Home Products  Search this
Beveridge, Frank Stanley  Search this
O'Brien, Catherine L.  Search this
Collection Donor:
Perkins, Homer  Search this
Extent:
1 Sound tape reel
Container:
Box 36, Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Sound tape reels
Date:
1953 June 3
Scope and Contents:
Mr. Couger Reynolds, "The Better for Men's (?)"
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the audio discs in box 48 are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Stanley Home Products Collection, 1931-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Stanley Home Products Collection
Stanley Home Products Collection / Series 11: Audiovisual Materials / 11.1: Audio Tapes
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep85dd6898e-2907-48c8-a3b8-259b95db9c5c
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0788-ref507

Recommendations to the Direct Selling Association

Collection Creator:
Beveridge, Frank Stanley  Search this
Encyclopedia Britannica  Search this
O'Brien, Catherine L.  Search this
Squires, Norman W.  Search this
Stanley Home Products  Search this
Wearever Aluminum  Search this
Container:
Box 1, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
2003, 2004
Collection Restrictions:
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Norman W. Squires Collection, 1936-2006, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Daniel T. Squires.
See more items in:
Norman Squires Collection
Norman Squires Collection / Series 1: Background Materials
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep89440d6db-82cc-4ed2-9cb1-8b2adc972d0c
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0927-ref516

What They're Saying about Direct Selling,

Collection Creator:
Stanley Home Products  Search this
Beveridge, Frank Stanley  Search this
O'Brien, Catherine L.  Search this
Collection Donor:
Perkins, Homer  Search this
Container:
Box 19, Folder 9
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1979 January
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the audio discs in box 48 are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Stanley Home Products Collection, 1931-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Stanley Home Products Collection
Stanley Home Products Collection / Series 10: Publications
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a55cd1a0-5bfd-440f-a947-635fe948d9f0
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0788-ref470

National Association of Direct Selling, June 1951

Collection Creator:
Stanley Home Products  Search this
Beveridge, Frank Stanley  Search this
O'Brien, Catherine L.  Search this
Collection Donor:
Perkins, Homer  Search this
Container:
Box 49, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Scope and Contents:
Includes Red Motley
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but the audio discs in box 48 are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Stanley Home Products Collection, 1931-1999, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Stanley Home Products Collection
Stanley Home Products Collection / Series 11: Audiovisual Materials / 11.2: Audio Discs
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep89d285f99-5983-46fd-b26e-e35582621fab
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0788-ref645

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