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Mignot-Boucher face powder box marked Rachel with a Star of David label

Object | Accession Number: 2004.237.4

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    Mignot-Boucher face powder box marked Rachel with a Star of David label

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Unused, Germandrée brand face powder with a Jewish product stamp manufactured by Mignot-Boucher in Sofia, Bulgaria, between 1942 and 1943. Mignot-Boucher was a French company founded in 1818, and bought in 1916, by the Jewish Bulgarian Arié family. The company became a driving economic force, growing the family’s prestige and wealth as it improved the nation’s manufacturing power. In 1941, Bulgaria joined the Axis alliance and increased the systematic persecution of Jews, including an official boycott of Jewish goods. In 1942, stamps indicating that an item was a Jewish product were added to merchandise like the powder. In 1943, the owners of the company were arrested under the pretense of stealing from the state. The arrest was driven by anti-Semitism, and once they were hanged for their false crimes the company passed into Bulgarian control. The powder color, Rachel, is stamped on the bottom and likely references Eliza Rachel Felix (1821- 1858), a popular Jewish, French stage actress from the mid-1800s who performed under the stage name Rachel. At the time, most proper woman did not wear cosmetics, but it was common practice for actresses. Mass produced cosmetics came in 3 colors, rose, white, and a darker crème color. This was likely the color used by the dark haired Rachel, and her name quickly became synonymous with the creamier powder color. At the end of the 1800s, theatrical cosmetics became popular and were used by respectable women in all parts of society. During the first half of the 1900s, Rachel was maintained as a color and eventually expanded to include a range of associated shades.
    Date
    manufacture:  1942-1943
    Geography
    manufacture: Sofia (Bulgaria)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Barbara Rein
    Markings
    lid exterior, top center, printed, black ink : ЖЕРМАНДРЕ / (?) / ТАЙНА НА КРАСОТАТА / ИЗБЪЛВА И ИЗРААЖДА КОЖАТА НА ЛХЦЕТО / МИНЬО-БУШЕ / СОФИЯ / ПАРФЮМЕРИЯ / ОСНОВ ВЬ ПАРИЖЪ [GERMANDRE / (?) / THE SECRET OF BEAUTY / LIGHTENS AND SOOTHES FACIAL SKIN / MIGNOT-BOUCHER / SOFIA / PARFUMERY / FOUNDED IN PARIS / 1818]
    base exterior, bottom, printed, black ink : ТАЗИ КУТИЯ / СЪДЪРЖА ИСТИНСКАТА / ПУДРА ЗА ЛИЦЕ / ЖЕРМАНДРЕ / RACHEL / МИНЬО-БУШЕ / ПАРИЖЪ / ПАЗЕТЕ СЕ ОТЪ МНОГОБРОЙНИТЬ / ИМИТАЦИИ / ПРОИЗВ ВЪ БЪЛГАРИЯ [THIS BOX / CONTAINS THE / GENUINE FACE POWDER / GERMANDRE / RACHEL / MIGNOT-BOUCHET / PARIS / BE MINDFUL OF MANY / IMITATIONS / MADE IN BULGARIA]
    Contributor
    Manufacturer: Mignot-Boucher
    Subject: Rachel Felix
    Biography
    Eliza Rachel Félix was born on February 28, 1821, near Mumpf in the Swiss canton of Aargau, to Jacques and Thérèse-Esther-Chaya Félix. Her parents were itinerant Jewish peddlers of second-hand clothing. Eliza had 5 siblings: Sophie-Sarah, Raphaël, Rébecca, Adelaïde-Lia, and Mélanie-Dinah. The family lived in a wagon that also doubled as a storehouse for their goods. While performing on the streets of Lyon, France, Eliza Rachel and Sophie-Sarah were discovered by Etienne Choron, a Parisian musician and educator. He invited the girls to attend his school for musical and theatrical training, so their family settled in the Jewish quarter of Paris in 1831. During the 1830s, Eliza Rachel continued to receive private training as an actress and in 1838, she debuted at the Comédie Française under the name Rachel. Her performance was met with critical acclaim that praised her talent, technique, and passion as an actress. Her career grew steadily and focused on her skills at portraying classical French, historical, and patriotic characters. During the 1840s and early 1850s Rachel toured all over Europe, traveling from Great Britain to Moscow, Russia. In 1855 she went as far as the United States. She was widely known for her talent, but also for her grace and distinctive beauty. She was very close with her family, and supported the acting careers of her sisters. At different points in her career, both her father and brother served as her manager. She never married, but was known for having affairs with prominent and powerful men, and bore two illegitimate sons. She remained a member of the Jewish faith, but had her children baptized as Christians. On January 4, 1858, Rachel, aged 36, died of tuberculosis in Le Cannet, France. The Chief Rabbi of France, Lazard Isidor, presided over her funeral and she was buried in Paris.

    Physical Details

    Language
    Bulgarian
    Classification
    Containers
    Category
    Boxes
    Physical Description
    Circular, telescoping, cardboard box with a slightly domed lid. It is covered in gray paper with gold borders on the slightly protruding upper and lower rims. The lid has a circular, white paper label in the center with an offset, printed black double line border that runs off the edge, a germander sprig above a scroll, and a red signature superimposed over Bulgarian Cyrillic text. Adhered to the side is a rectangular blue paper label with a Star of David flanked by 2 letters. The stamp covers the lid/base seam. On the bottom of the base is a circular, white paper label with an offset, printed double lined black border and Bulgarian Cyrillic text. The box is sealed, but usually these containers have a sealed powder drum and powder.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Depth: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm)
    Materials
    overall : cardboard, paper, ink, adhesive, powder
    Inscription
    exterior side, paper label, flanking a Star of David, printed, black ink : E. П. [Еврейски продукт Jewish Product]
    base exterior, bottom center, white paper, printed, black ink : RACHEL

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The face powder container was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Barbara Rein.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-08-17 12:17:29
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn515252

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