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Tupperware Unsealed: Brownie Wise, Earl Tupper, and the Home Party Pioneers Hardcover – May 25, 2008


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Tupperware Unsealed: Brownie Wise, Earl Tupper, and the Home Party Pioneers + Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950's America
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1st edition (May 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081303227X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813032276
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

" Vivid portrait of Tupperware's origins...Kealing celebrates Wise's struggles against sexist, chauvinist corporate America. A book that certainly does her justice." --Wall Street Journal

"Readers will enjoy this balanced and eminently readable account of the complicated history of a simple household object." --Journal of Popular Culture

" A management case-study written with the intrigue of a true crime story." --ForeWord

"A valuable contribution to the growing body of literature that focuses on the individual contributions of women to U.S. business and industry." --Choice

"How the product was invented by its eponymous inventor, and the creation of the Tupperware party provide a lesson in American entrepreneurship, by an author with a significant background in professional journalism." --The Bloomsbury Review

Book Description

Brownie Wise, the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week, was the driving force behind making Tupperware a household name. Fired under mysterious circumstances, she was written out of Tupperware history and died in obscurity.
 
A trailblazing businesswoman decades ahead of her time, Wise created the Tupperware "home party" phenomenon in the 1950s. Her drive and creativity fueled sales and profits for the once sleepy plastic containers company. Earl Tupper anointed Wise as the company figurehead and marketing guru. Long before Disney, her lavish national headquarters drew tourists from near and far to the outskirts of Orlando, Florida, where she held court with the press, politicians, and movie stars.
 
Wise's idea to market Tupperware exclusively through in-home sales sparked a cultural revolution in post World War II America. For the first time, minimally educated and economically invisible housewives had opportunities for careers. She became a cultlike, charismatic leader for the Tupperware faithful, so popular that "Tupperware Ladies" would vie to win the clothes right off her back. Behind the scenes, few knew Wise was stalked by her alcoholic and abusive ex-husband and feared him appearing out of nowhere to cause shame, embarrassment, or worse.
 
The adoration from a legion of Tupperware dealers made her sudden fall from grace even more shocking and dramatic. At the height of her national celebrity, Tupper unceremoniously released her from the company. Journalist Bob Kealing has interviewed pioneering executives who helped build the company alongside Wise, reviewed hundreds of primary source documents written by Tupper and Wise, and obtained access to a wealth of previously unknown information, including sealed court depositions regarding a series of boat accidents successfully kept out of the press by the company, and details of secret recordings made by Tupperware Home Parties management seeking to prevent their distributors from unionizing.
 
Wise's rise and fall, and her relationship with the eccentric Tupper, is the stuff of legend; a story told finally, and fully, in Tupperware Unsealed.
 

More About the Author

Thanks for stopping by my author page. My latest book, Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock(University Press of Florida) is now out in hardback and ebook. This book is comprised primarily of new interviews and primary source materials. Even if you're a stalwart fan, there are many new things: the story behind the so-called Harvard photos and how Gram attracted a Life magazine shoot when still a teen-ager, a major revelation about Gram's family that brings new context to one of the biggest tragedies in his life, quotes from a memoir written by his sister Avis, and a brand new interview with Jim Stafford on what he now remembers about giving Gram the advice to "go country." It's been a rewarding journey in to the heart of Cosmic America. I was also honored to write liner notes for the late Country Music Hall-of-Famer Charlie Louvin's 2010 live tribute album to Gram Parsons. I interviewed Charlie twice for my new book.
With the passage of time, you'll see how those close to Gram have emerged from their own demons of addiction, and how his tranformative music and pioneering legacy, continue to be validated.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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The book provides such interesting insight into a part of our history that we think we already know.
Belinda K. Ellsworth
There has always been more to the Brownie Wise and earl Tupper relationship then people today understand and this book does tell the full story well.
Thomas J. Damigella
I also loved the way he put you "at the scene" by relating details of significant events taking place at the same time as the story.
J. Schneck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Nelson on June 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having been in the Tupperware Family all my life, i found this book to be fascinating, truthful, and completely up front and interesting - My parents were one of the original distributors so i know what is true and what is not - But the author did great research and wrote it in such a delightful way - I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the true story behind Earl Tupper and Brownie Wise and the early pioneers who worked themselves silly(sometimes literally!) to make Tupperware become a household name!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Schneck on June 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was amazed at the details Bob Kealing related in the book. He really brought Brownie Wise (as well as Tupper himself) to life. The story is not a "slam job" but an even-handed look at the rise and fall of a strong-willed single mother. Brownie Wise was an integral part of Tupperware's meteoric rise. Sadly, as a woman, she was all too easily cast aside. This book relates a sad chapter in the history of Tupperware that I had no idea of. The authors detailed accounts made it easy to connect with the main characters in a way some historical novels never do. I also loved the way he put you "at the scene" by relating details of significant events taking place at the same time as the story. I predict you will be pleasantly surprised at the level of details and straight-forward writing style of this book. Excellent story about one of America's first successful business women.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Book Fan on May 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bob Kealing transformed meticulous research about the "Queen of Tupperware" into a fascinating story. The interlinking saga of Tupperware and Brownie Wise moves from the early days of the little known plastic container company to the heights of 1950s corporate America. Kealing points to the important contributions Brownie Wise made in home party sales which ultimately made Earl Tupper a very rich man. The surprising downfall of Wise shocked her legions of fans and women who valued her as a role model. She was a promoter & mentor to all the women who for the first time were able to gain financial success. This book is also an important addition to Orlando area history. The small town of Kissimmee eventually grew because of its proximity to Walt Disney World. However, Kealing points out that there was a rich history before Disney World arrived. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in long buried histories.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Damigella on June 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Our family is one of the original Tupperware pioneers mentioned in this book. I was very impressed with the author's ability to really capture an honest and accurate account of Brownie's spectacular rise to power in Tupperware as well as her eventual demise in the business world of the 50's. This book gives credit where it is due to all the early players that were responsible for creating this truely unique American Company. There has always been more to the Brownie Wise and earl Tupper relationship then people today understand and this book does tell the full story well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Belinda K. Ellsworth on July 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I can't stop thinking about Tupperware Unsealed: Brownie Wise, Earl Tupper, and the Home Party Pioneers by Bob Kealing. It hit me emotionally, and I've been thinking about and talking about this incredible story ever since I put the book down. It reminded me of all the things I just love about this business and of my early days in direct sales.

Brownie Wise was a single mom from Detroit going door-to-door selling Stanley products when she came across Earl Tupper's innovative plastic products. She'd been so successful with Stanley that she'd hoped to advance into a corporate position with them. But, the Stanley folks shut her down, saying it would never happen because she was a woman. Yet, Brownie believed in herself, she was willing to work hard, and she set her sights on moving forward. If not this, she would find something else.

Earl Tupper was selling his wares - or trying to - at the largest department store in the country, J.L. Hudson in Detroit. The fantastic food savers were just sitting, gathering dust on the shelves, when Brownie saw an opportunity. She realized that Tupper's product line needed to be demonstrated, to be properly appreciated. So she began purchasing the products wholesale and created the presentation model in a party experience so she could show people what a great food preserver the Tupperware was.

The book details her meteoric rise to the top and how as the First Lady of Tupperware, Brownie helped create the model for the party plans we know today. She planned the first direct-sales convention and was the first woman on the cover of Business Week. The 1950s ended up being a time of phenomenal growth for Tupperware, due almost entirely to her efforts and the systems she put in place.
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