Historical Family Photos: Josephine and Her Beauty Machine

My maternal grandmother, Virginia Alston Braswell (1918-1992), was fairly close in age to her maternal aunt, Josephine Harrison Jordan McDaniel (1910-1985). Josephine was the proprietor of a beauty school named Jordan’s Scientific Beauty College.

The school was a family affair with considerable community impact. My grandmother, who left formal school quite early to work as a cosmetologist, no doubt learned her trade from Aunt Josephine. She even worked at the College for a time:

My grandmother, Virginia
Photo Courtesy: C. M. Jr.

Josephine’s siblings, Hattie Harrison Marshall (1903-2002), Blanche Harrison Green Wilton (1903-1954), and James M. Harrison (1911-1968) also were associated with the school.

The community impact of the College is documented in news articles of the day. Here are two examples:

Graduates of Jordan’s Beauty Salon-1940

Original image courtesy: Norfolk Journal and Guide

Pictured are:

Mabel Wynn: Parmele, NC

Marie Strong,: Leaksville, NC

Lillian Dudley: Norfolk, VA

Mildred Carr: Norfolk, VA

Ruth Marley: Parmele, NC

Hattie Harrison: Norfolk, VA

Josephine Harrison Jordan McDaniel: Norfolk, VA

Grace Almond: Portsmouth, VA

Sarah Bowen: Portsmouth, VA

Ruth White: Norfolk, VA

Lucille Mumford: Mayesville, NC

Lula Alton: Norfolk, VA

Connie Newkirk: Norfolk, VA

Salome Faltz: Norfolk, VA

Mozelle Davies: Norfolk, VA

From an earlier year, 1937, here is another graduation photo. Twelve graduates are shown in this photo which includes my great-grand uncle, James M. Harrison (1911-1968):

December 11, 1937, Courtesy:
Norfolk Journal and Guide

As described in the news clipping, we have:

Miss Hattie Harrison…anatomy teacher

Mrs. Josephine Jordan…founder and supervisor of the college

James Harrison…business manager

Miss Patty Howell of North Carolina

Mrs. Belva Martin of Norfolk

Miss Catherine Small of North Carolina

Mrs. Amy Butts of Berkley

Mrs. Beulah Thomas of Norfolk

Miss Prunella Moore of Norfolk

Mrs. Marion Williams of Norfolk

Miss Flossie Elliott of Berkley

Miss Mildred Richardson of Portsmouth

Miss Eva Harrell of Portsmouth

Miss Hattie Francis Smith of Deep Creek

Mrs. Mildred Owens of Gilmerton

Other graduates not shown:

Miss Marie Owens

Mrs. Estelle F. Carter

Miss Lucetta Blount

How did these graduates fare? How did their skills carry them through life? My grandmother placed her cosmetology dreams on an indefinite hold to nurture her marriage and raise eight children. Did the other ladies have the same domestic decisions to make?

Perhaps there will always be some mystery to their fate, but at least one of Josephine’s students, Ms. Adeline B. Wilkins, carried the pride of being a Jordan’s Beauty College graduate and beautician through to her 2012 obituary.

It is very possible via the students listed above that there are uncharted genealogical connections which can be made. By always remembering the FAN Club Method in family history researching, we ourselves can graduate into new levels of discovery.

The Genealogy Situation Room

3 thoughts on “Historical Family Photos: Josephine and Her Beauty Machine

  1. A footnote to the Beauty College-James Harrison, the business manager also served as Josephine’s bodyguard, escorting her from the College to her home after she was held up by robbers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, wow. Thanks for sharing that detail, Cousin. Nothing is new under the sun, sadly. So sorry to know that happened to her, but very glad that her brother was there to protect her.


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