Beth's Beauty Parlor

Green Book Category
Beauty Parlors
Years Listed
1947-1955
Region
Tidewater
County
New Hanover

 

Beth’s Beauty Parlor (also called “Beth’s Beauty Nook) appeared in the Green Book from 1947-1955.  It was located at 416 Anderson Street in Wilmington, North Carolina. It was listed in the Green Book as “Beth’s--416 Anderson St.” under the “Beauty Parlors” and as “Beth’s, 405 Anderson St.” under “Beauty Parlors.” The beauty parlor was owned by Elizabeth Dickson McKeller.1

Beth’s Beauty Nook was a home-based beauty parlor operated by Mary Elizabeth Dickson McKeller. Born in 1916 in Wilmington, North Carolina, Elizabeth grew up in Wilmington with her parents, Willie and Mary A., sister, Florence, and her paternal grandmother, Florence McMillan. Elizabeth’s mother, Mary Dickson, was institutionalized at the NC Eastern Insane Asylum for Negroes in 1921, when Elizabeth was only 9 years old, and remained there until her death in 1943.2

By 1940, both Elizabeth and her sister, Florence, were working as beauty shop operators (a term for hairdresser) at Lezora’s, another beauty parlor advertised in the Green Book. In 1942, Elizabeth ran an ad for “Beth’s Beauty Nook,” located at her family’s home at 416 N. 9th Street, in the Cape Fear Journal. Around 1940, the middle section of 9th street, including Elizabeth’s home, became Anderson Street, and her address changed to 416 Anderson Street. This is the address used for Beth’s Beauty Nook in the Green Book.3

Elizabeth married Army veteran Ernest McKeller in the mid-1940’s. The couple resided at 416 Anderson Street with Elizabeth’s family. Elizabeth continued to operate her own beauty shop until the mid-1950s, when she and her husband moved to 405 Anderson Street. Although she advertised her shop at 405 Anderson Street in the Green Book, Elizabeth was working at Lou’s Beauty Salon at 820 Red Cross by 1956, another beauty parlor also listed in the Green Book.4

Elizabeth and Ernest McKeller divorced in 1968. Elizabeth died in Wilmington, NC, in 1985. At the time of her death she was living with her sister, Florence, at 405 Anderson Street. Her death certificate indicates that she continued to work as a beautician for the rest of her career.5

Essay by Brandie K. Ragghianti, 2019

Notes

  1. Victor Green, 1947 Green Book, 66; Green, 1948 Green Book, 63; Green, 1949 Green Book, 57; Green, 1950 Green Book, 64; Green, 1951 Green Book, 55; Green, 1952 Green Book, 55; Green, 1953 Green Book, 55; Green, 1954 Green Book, 54;  Green, 1955 Green Book, 54.
  2. Elizabeth D. McKeller, March 21, 1985, Wilmington, New Hanover County,  North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994, North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina, accessed from www.familysearch.org; 1920 United States Census, Ward 3, Wilmington, New Hanover County,, NC, digital images s.v. "Mary E. Dickson,” accessed from www.ancestry.com; 1930 United States Census, Ward 3, Wilmington, New Hanover County,, NC, digital images s.v. "Elizabeth Dixon,” accessed from www.ancestry.com; 1930 United States Census, Eastern North Carolina Insane Asylum, Goldsboro, Wayne County, NC, digital images s.v. "Mary Dixon,” accessed from www.ancestry.com; Mary Ann Dixon, October 29, 1944, Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1976, North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina, accessed from www.ancestry.com.
  3. 1940 United States Census, Ward 3, Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC, digital images s.v. "Mary Dixon,” accessed from www.ancestry.com; Hill’s 1940 Wilmington (New Hanover County, NC) City Directory, Hill Directory Company, Inc.: Richmond, VA, city directory, p. 126; Advertisement, Cape Fear Journal (Wilmington), February, 28, 1942, pg.4. Accessed Cape Fear Museum Collections MC 12.1998.149.0002.
  4. Hill’s 1947 Wilmington (New Hanover County, NC) City Directory, Hill Directory Company, Inc.: Richmond, VA, city directory, pp. 97, 214; Hill’s 1948-1949 Wilmington (New Hanover County, NC) City Directory, Hill Directory Company, Inc.: Richmond, VA, city directory, pp. 97, 209; Advertisement, Cape Fear Museum Collection, Dr. & Mrs. Samuel James Gray Collection, Folder Alpha Kappa Alpha Material, Fashionetta Program, March 18, 1949, Item 2017.33.66; Ernest Lercy McKeller, Wilmington, New Hanover County, WWII Draft Registration Cards for North Carolina, 10/16/1940 - 03/31/1947, accessed from www.ancestry.com; Hill’s 1952 Wilmington (New Hanover County, NC) City Directory, Hill Directory Company, Inc.: Richmond, VA, city directory pp. 44, 186, classified directory, p. 421, street directory, 23; Hill’s 1956 Wilmington (New Hanover County, NC) City Directory, Hill Directory Company, Inc.: Richmond, VA, city directory p. 210, classified directory p. 6.
  5. Ernest McKeller and Mary McKeller, February 5, 1968, New Hanover County, North Carolina, Divorce Index, 1958-2004, accessed from www.ancestry.com; Elizabeth D. McKeller, March 21, 1985, Wilmington, New Hanover County,  North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994, North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina, accessed from www.familysearch.org.
     

 

 

Advertisement, Cape Fear Journal, 1942

Advertisement, Cape Fear Journal, 1942

Advertisement, AKA Fashionetta Program, 1949

Advertisement, AKA Fashionetta Program, 1949