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Archives for posts tagged ‘Ruth Campbell Bigelow’

From Tea Entrepreneur To The White House, Bigelow Tea Presents Four Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped History

bigelow tea constant comment ruth bigelowThere’s an unattributed quote circling the Internet these days—maybe you’ve seen it? “Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” And, goodness, that quote certainly rings true, especially during Women’s History Month. Which is why Bigelow Tea wanted to take a moment to recognize a few notable women, all of whom share a common thread: They were born in 1896. Let’s start with one that you’re probably a bit familiar with (I mean, you’re on the Bigelow Tea Blog, right?!).

Ruth Campbell Bigelow, Entrepreneur

bigelow tea ruth campbell bigelow In 1945, inspired by an early Colonial recipe and dissatisfied with the tea that was commonplace in the 1940s, Ruth Campbell Bigelow focused her energy on making a better cup of tea in the kitchen of her New York City brownstone. After weeks of trial and error, blending black tea with orange rind and sweet spices, she emerged with the first cup of specialty tea in the country. After that, she didn’t look back—“Constant Comment,”® and the Bigelow Tea Company we know and love was born. Today, we don’t need to look far to be touched by the leadership and spirit of pioneering women. At the helm of the family-owned company is third generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow. Before assuming the role in 2005, Cindi spent 20 years in virtually all areas of the company that her grandmother founded. When you’re raised in an environment that embraces female leadership, you’re bound to step up, pitch in and find success.

Ethel Waters, Jazz Musicianbigelow tea ethel waters

The next time you choose a jazz playlist on Spotify, think of Ethel Waters. Ethel was an American blues, jazz and gospel singer and actress. Despite a very tragic and difficult childhood, she made history, garnering many recognitions and “firsts.” She was the first African American woman to appear on radio (in 1922), star in a show at the Palace Theater in New York (in 1925) and in a commercial network radio show (in 1933), and the first singer to introduce 50 songs that became hits (in 1933). She was also the first African American woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award in 1962. Recognized as one of the best blues singers of all time, Ethel also performed and recorded with such jazz greats as Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Talk about a star.

Louise McManus, Science Extraordinaire

bigelow tea louise mcmanus

Louise McManus was the first nurse to earn a Ph.D. As a member of the Teachers College of Columbia University faculty beginning in 1925, Louise founded the Institute of Research and Service in Nursing Education. She also helped to develop nationally standardized methods for nursing licensure in the United States, and created a “Patient Bill of Rights,” later adopted by the Joint Commission in Accreditation of Hospitals. Another scientist deserving of an honorable mention born the same year was Czech-American biochemist Gerty Theresa Cori. Gerty became the third woman—and first American woman—to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Thanks to the contributions of these trailblazing females, women today enter the fields of science and medicine with great role models.

Mamie Eisenhower, Fashionista With A Passion For Civil Rightsbigelow tea mamie eisenhower

A 1950s fashionista and self-defined hostess, Mamie Eisenhower was an American first lady and the wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower. She was also a woman who held a penchant for entertaining heads of state and leaders of foreign governments, and for the color pink. Actually, she decorated the White House with so much pink that the White House press corps referred to the place as “The Pink Palace.” The pretty pastel, which is now iconic to 1950s decorating (how about those pink bathrooms?), became known at “Mamie Pink.” However, Mamie was more than just the hostess with the most-ess.

She led the local and national fundraising drives for the American Heart Association in 1956, and later supported increased benefits and the formation of a retirement community for military personnel and widows. She also took a stand to combat segregation through such symbolic acts as inviting African American children to the White House Easter Egg Roll, and she accepted an honorary membership to the National Council of Negro Women.

Whether they’re revolutionizing a beverage market or breaking down social barriers, these women made their mark in history, and it reminds us all that we have the opportunity to do the same. And when you need a break from being absolutely amazing, sit back and regroup with a cup of tea. It’s a perfect way to recharge – you’ve got a lot to do, after all! Tag #TeaProudly on social media and tell us how YOU will go down in history.

Image of Ethel Waters by Florida Keys Public Library via Flickr
Image of Louisa McManus, courtesy of The Women Hall of Fame
Image of Mamie Eisenhower by Terry Saffron via Flickr

This Is What Made Ruth Campbell Bigelow So Special To The World Of Tea

bigelow tea ruth campbell family

Today is a very important day at Bigelow Tea; it’s the birthday of fearless company founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow (perfect timing as it’s also National Women Inventor’s Month…another reason to celebrate Ruth’s accomplishments!). Although Ruth passed away in 1966, this incredible lady is still the source of inspiration for everything that the Bigelow family accomplishes as they continue a third generation of ownership of a tea company that reinvented tea in America. To think it all started in 1945 in Ruth’s kitchen where she diligently mixed and blended and mixed some more until she had a creation of black tea, orange rind and sweet spices that ended up being a source of “Constant Comment” among everyone who sipped this special tea flavor. And here we are today with an ever-growing community (a true #TeaProudly movement is what we call it!) of incredibly devoted tea lovers as passionate as we are about tea!

Honor Ruth today by getting cozy with a cup of “Constant Comment”® and smiling at some of these family stories that show just what Ruth was really made of:bigelow tea constant coment cup and saucer

Back in the early days when Ruth was struggling to get her product to hit it big, a shopkeeper confided to her that he left open a container of “Constant Comment”® because the
customers loved the tea’s amazing aroma. “One whiff and they’re sold!” is what he allegedly told a proud Ruth! From then on, she included an extra whiffing jar in her tea cases so that store owners could keep it next to the cash register, where a sniff led to a sale!

Another famous story: The company moved from New York to Connecticut in 1955, and hurricanes almost completely destroyed the building, leading to the Bigelow family’s own “Connecticut Tea Party”! But Ruth and Co. didn’t get knocked down- with her guidance, they got right back up and rebuilt!

Ruth is the one who said it best herself in this letter from 1945 that sums up what gave her the strength to build up a business out of nothing but sheer grit, determination and imagination – the lady was truly ahead of her time, so take a moment to read it!

Fast forward to 2017– one tea bag a time, Ruth’s kitchen creation has become an American institution with over 130 flavors of black, green, oolong, and herbal teas. So today take a big sip from your mug in Ruth’s honor!

How will you celebrate Ruth’s birthday? Tell us and tag #TeaProudly!

Bigelow Tea Celebrates National Family Week

bigelow-tea-family-week

Family is everything at Bigelow Tea and for over 70 years, three generations have been dedicated to producing the most beautiful cup of tea, a tradition that started in 1945 in Ruth Campbell Bigelow’s kitchen in New York City.  Family tradition is something we know about so during this week of Thanksgiving (and well, every day of every week!), let’s together celebrate National Family Week.

bigelow-tea-constant-commentLet’s be honest, as much as we love a day filled with turkey, football, parades and cozy weather, don’t our actual favorite moments come down to the conversations, hugs, and laughs while sharing a cup of tea during this holiday time? If you agree, why not sit back with a slice of pie and a cup of tea (“Constant Comment®” always goes well with a conversation), and cherish those moments and this special time you can spend with family.   And when we say family, we also mean our community of tea lovers. Together, we not only appreciate sharing a cup, but we all have a love (and true passion) for tea, right? This is truly #TeaProudly (link here to teaproudly blog entry) so this National Family Week, we’re sending warm wishes out to our extended Bigelow Family—our amazing employees, our fantastic growers and vendors and of course to each and every tea drinker everywhere! Cheers to a wonderful week!

Bigelow Tea: Three Generations of Family Memories

bigelow-tea-family

Over 70 years ago Bigelow Tea humbly began in Ruth Campbell Bigelow’s kitchen in New York. Bigelow Tea has been a family affair since day one and continues today under the leadership of Ruth’s granddaughter, president & CEO Cindi Bigelow. Three generations of Bigelows have worked to build their family legacy and passion for tea and here are a few stories to prove it:

  • Bigelow would not be America’s #1 Specialty Tea Company today if not for the hard work Ruth, her husband David Sr., and son David Jr. put into the early days of the company. Each night David Sr. and David Jr. would sit in their Manhattan home and hand paint the two ladies on the original packaging to give it a special touch!
  • The holidays are always time for celebration at Bigelow Tea. David and Eunice Bigelow, Bigelow Tea Co-Chairs, fondly remember their two daughters Cindi and Lori helping to hand out Christmas gifts to the Bigelow Tea employees when they were young girls.  David and Eunice still have the girl’s matching black vests and red skirts!
  • While Cindi and Lori Bigelow were young, Eunice Bigelow stayed at home but still conducted all of the tea tastings from her kitchen. Cindi remembers coming home from school to dozens of cups in the kitchen filled with the day’s varieties to taste. It’s no wonder Cindi grew up dreaming about working at Bigelow Tea one day!
  • Nothing could keep Cindi from planning and hosting the first ever Bigelow Tea Community Challenge twenty five years ago. This was the only race that Cindi has ever run in and a day she will never forget. Bigelow Tea has donated almost a million dollars to charity since the inaugural race in 1988.

These memories are important building blocks in the Bigelow Tea company history. For over 70 years the family has been passionate about tea and continues to be personally involved in every aspect of running the company, quality and care we can taste in every cup of Bigelow tea!

Eunice and David Bigelow Recognized With Lifetime Achievement Award

bigelow familyBack in 1945, when Bigelow Tea first started, Ruth Campbell Bigelow could only afford a single-color label for her tea. Each night, her son, David, Jr., would help his father hand paint the two women on the original label. Then, in the morning, they would put the tea into the family station wagon and sell it store by store. David, Jr. has surely come a long way since painting labels. Today, he and his wife, Eunice, are co-chairmen of the company and were recently recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Specialty Food Association at its Summer Fancy Food Show on June 27 in New York City.

While Bigelow Tea attributes its beginnings to Ruth and the flagship tea “Constant Comment®”, it was her son, David, and his wife, Eunice, who paved the way for the growth of the U.S. specialty tea market. David, with Eunice’s unwavering support, led the company with a spirit of determination to its current prominence as the country’s #1 specialty tea company. His integrity, intelligence and kindness also helped form the brand’s personality and its success.

“All of us at Bigelow Tea could not be more proud to see this Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed on my parents,” said Cindi Bigelow, third-generation president and CEO of the company. “They are admired not only for the significant impact they have had on the specialty tea industry, but for the positive influence they have had on lives of the thousands of employees whose privilege it has been to work alongside them during Bigelow Tea Company’s more than 70 years. Their passion, creativity and guidance are without measure,” Cindi remarked.

bigelow tea family

In addition to making Bigelow Tea the U.S. industry leader in specialty teas, Eunice and David’s more recent accomplishments include their significant 2003 additional investment in South Carolina’s 127-acre Charleston Tea Plantation. It was their dream to restore this unique site, which is America’s largest tea garden, and share this vibrant piece of Americana for all to enjoy. Today, the beautiful Charleston Tea Plantation has become the standard bearer for the long and illustrious American tea story and welcomes 70,000 visitors each year — a suitable landmark to complement the profound impact their efforts made on the consumer tea market.

So raise a cup to Eunice and David Bigelow. Without their ingenuity, vision or drive, Bigelow Tea might not be celebrating its 70th year. It’s been the labor of a lifetime, a labor truly worthy of a Lifetime Achievement Award.

It’s All in the Family: Bigelow Tea Celebrates National Family Month

Bigelow Tea celebrates National Family Month.

Courtesy of Familymonth.net.

“The family is the nucleus of civilization.”

Will and Ariel Durant

Family is the most precious and powerful force of human life. It is the safe harbor where support, comfort and unconditional love is given and received — the springboard from which children grow, learn and succeed. With this in mind, National Family Month® is celebrated annually from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. Established by KidsPeace®, one of America’s oldest and largest not-for-profit organizations serving children and families nationwide, National Family Month is all about giving kids peace by affirming the family. This year, the national celebration of the American family will focus on three themes: grandparents, foster families and crisis prevention. In recent years, the role of child caregiver has shifted dramatically from parents to grandparents, aunts, uncles and foster parents. These men and women are being honored for their contribution to building strong families, ensuring that children enjoy and flourish in a safe environment.

At Bigelow Tea, we revere family. Our company, founded over sixty years ago by Ruth Campbell Bigelow, is lovingly tended by generations of Bigelows. We embrace our employees and their families as part of the extended Bigelow family, and are deeply committed to strengthening family ties — by sharing traditional activities as simple as a return to the family picnic on a lovely Sunday afternoon!  We’re also dedicated to that larger family — the community. Enthusiastic participants in our community, we organize events like the annual Bigelow Tea Community Challenge — which benefits many organizations, such as the Fairfield YMCA. The entire Bigelow team is also active in dynamic family-oriented programs like Habitat for Humanity. So please join us in commemorating the single most important unit — the family!

Women’s History Month: Reflection and Celebration

March is National Women’s History Month, a distinctive time for celebrating the women who have achieved so much, but perhaps more importantly an opportunity to savor and reflect on their gifts and lives. No one understands “savor and reflection” like Bigelow Tea, and what better way to move beyond the facts and connect with people than with tea and conversation. We know that there is a grand history of women’s achievement through the centuries: from Anne Bradstreet, the first published American author in 1650, to Eileen Collins, the first commander of a space shuttle 350 years later. But facts alone don’t tell the story, so National Women’s History Month is an opportunity to move beyond facts and figures, and reflect on the bonds within ourselves to these notable women and their lives.

Ms. Ruth Campbell Bigelow
Ms. Ruth Campbell Bigelow

We at Bigelow Tea have many women to thank. Of course, every time you sit down with a cup of our tea, remember that Ms. Ruth Campbell Bigelow started the company over 60 years ago. Her love of tea (and appreciation of the history of women in Colonial America) helped her create Constant Comment, and the rest, as they say, is history. A delicious history indeed. Being the son of such a visionary woman was a privilege for David C. Bigelow, and he wrote about it in his recently published book My Mother Loved Tea. And with upholding connections to the past, Cindi Bigelow, daughter of David C. Bigelow and granddaughter of Ms. Ruth Campbell Bigelow, is President of Bigelow Tea. An extremely hands-on and genuine President, Cindi has brought something intrinsically female to her position as she boosts appreciation for Bigelow Tea. A salute to all, in recognizing National Women’s History Month.

Cindi Bigelow
Cindi Bigelow