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Historical Character

Name: Martha Matilda Harper

Age: 64

Gender: Female

Race/Ethnicity: White

Profession: Entrepreneur/ Hair Care Specialist

Location: Martha Matilda Harper Inc.

Personal Traits. Skills, Abilities and Characteristics:
Innovative, Personal Care Specialist, Marketing Expert, Long Hair

Biography (ca. 1921):
Martha Matilda Harper was born on September 10, 1857 in Ontario, Canada. When Harper was younger, she was sent to relatives to serve as a domestic servant which she did for over 20 years. Eventually she moved to Rochester and was employed by a physician. When the physician passed away, he gave Harper some of his notes and knowledge about healthy hair and a hair tonic formula. She used this knowledge to make his formula her own. She created an all natural and organic hair care tonic as she was very against chemicals in hair care products because she believed that the chemical filled products didn’t properly help the hair.
With the money she saved up over time and her new formula, she opened the Harper Method Shop in 1888. Harper set a precedent for many things by starting the practice of a professional salon as opposed to private home visits, by inventing the reclining shampoo chair, and creating a franchise system. Most shops were owned by women and Harper oversaw training and inspected the franchises but the franchises essentially ran themselves. Harper also had such great techniques and reviews that she attracted famous people of her time such as Susan B. Anthony and Woodrow Wilson.