Name Change

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, New York

Actors have long since dropped their birth names for stage names—Minnesota born Frances Ethel Gumm acted and sang her way into American hearts as Judy Garland; Iowa boy Marion Morrison rode horse back into film as cowboy John Wayne; and dimpled chinned Issur Danielovitch won fame as Kirk Douglas.  And nom de plumes or pen names have long hidden birth names for authors, such as, Hector Hugh Munro penned short stories under the name Saki; novelist Pearl Gray wrote Westerns under the pen name of Zane Grey; and the great American writer and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens wrote under the name Sieur Louis de Conte and more famously as Mark Twain.

But who would have thought that the founder of a renowned cosmetic line and the creator of the “makeup makeover” would have had a name makeover.  Florence Nightingale Graham who founded a cosmetic empire became Elizabeth Arden.  Graham pieced her name together by joining the name Elizabeth after one of her first business partners with the name Arden from the tragic Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem “Enoch Arden”.

At the height of her career in cosmetics it was said that Elizabeth Arden as a brand ranked with Coca Cola for world-wide recognition.  Her cosmetics adorned royal faces such as Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth and Hollywood royalty and icon Marlene Dietrich and eternal sex symbol Marilyn Monroe.  Her fame and contribution to the cosmetic industry won her the recognition of the French government which awarded her the Legion of Honor in 1962, four years before her death.  When Elizabeth Arden died in 1966, she was buried in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery at Sleepy Hollow, New York, in the Graham family plot on a shared footstone with her sister, Lillian Graham.  Elizabeth Arden is buried under the name Elizabeth N. Graham, a nod to the first name she took and the last name with which she was born.

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