1904 Marietta-Stanley Company Building
1905 Photo of Sempray Jovinay Cosmetic Company
with four employees
Advertisement for Sempre Giovine
Located on Turner Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets

Nora (Bresnahan) Carr

There were few business opportunities for women during the early twentieth century. What opportunities there were was only for "proper" types of employment.
Nora (Bresnahan) Husted Carr, along with her two daughter, Nora and Elizabeth, proved the exception to the rule.
Nora Husted came to Grand Rapids from Lowell in 1885, shortly after she and her husband, Noah P. Husted, had divorced. The five children came with their mother. They opened a boarding house on Monroe Avenue called Husted House.
In order to bring more income into the home, she and the children began making soap and perfume in the kitchen and selling them door-to-door.
In the late 1880's, the mother married James C. Carr, a salesman. Due to the marriage, she was able to discontinue the board house business. When Mr. Carr died in 1892, Mrs. Carr, aided by her children, began to build the toiletry business. In 1895, the Marietta-Stanley Company was begun under the label "Toujours Jeune There was an economic depression at this time which lasted several years. Mrs. Carr began traveling to promote her product. There was a name change for the product "Sempre Giovine".
By 1904, the manufacturing was moved from their home to a new building near Fourth Street and Turner Avenue NW. Employment quadrupled by 1912. As competition increased, she added rouge and too powder to her line.
When Mrs. Carr died in 1915, her daughter, Nora, took over the management of the firm. The name of the firm was then changed to "Sempray Jo-ve-nay" in the early 1920's. When Nora died in 1935, Elizabeth took sole charge. At Elizabeth's death in 1951, the operation was sold to Consolidated Chemical Company of Chicago, which closed the Grand Rapids operation.


Contributed by Joanne Umlor
Created: 24 October 2009
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/GR/businesses/Sempray.html