Sending Office: Honorable Joseph D. Morelle
Honor “The Mother of Franchising” Martha Matilda Harper by Issuing a Commemorative Stamp
Please join me in cosponsoring a resolution expressing the sense of Congress that a commemorative postage stamp should be issued honoring pioneering businesswoman Martha Matilda Harper (1857-1950).
Born into a working-class family in Canada, Harper spent the first twenty-five years of her life as a domestic servant before opening her first hair salon in 1888 in Rochester, New York. At a time when entrepreneurial ventures were largely founded by men,
Harper developed a successful franchise system of independently owned hair salons on her own. At the height of her operations, Harper had franchised over five hundred hair salons worldwide and counted U.S. presidents, first ladies, and famous suffragists like
Susan B. Anthony among her clients.
Harper wove together innovative business practices and social entrepreneurship to create a truly pioneering franchise system in the late 1800s. Through her commitment to ensuring that the first one hundred salons would be opened by economically disadvantaged
girls, Harper helped transform the lives of other women. Trained in the “Harper Method” of beauty, which focused on consistent and high-quality customer service, each female franchisee owned her own salon—transforming the lives of women seeking economic independence.
As the modern-day pioneer of retail franchising, Harper was posthumously honored with an award from the International Franchise Association in 2001 and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003.
For more information or to co-sponsor this resolution, please contact Jo Stiles in my office at
Joanne.Stiles@mail.house.gov. Deadline to join as an original cosponsor is Thursday, July 25, at 10:00 AM.
Joseph D. Morelle
Member of Congress
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