Jane Plitt’s recently published children’s book, “Martha’s Magical Hair,” brings to life the true story of Martha Matilda Harper and her revolutionary business endeavors. Plitt, a former executive director for the National Organization of Women, also wrote a biography on Harper. The public is invited to meet Plitt at a children’s book reading and signing at 10 a.m., and a reading of her biography on Harper, “Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream” at 7 p.m.

(Sarasota-Manatee, FL) The new children’s book “Martha’s Magical Hair” tells the true story of Martha Matilda Harper, who, despite being bound into servitude at the age of seven, became a groundbreaking pioneer in the franchise beauty industry. The book’s author, Jane R. Plitt, a Bradenton resident, also wrote a biography of Harper entitled “Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream.” The Women’s Resource Center in Bradenton is presenting two readings with Plitt on Tuesday, May 16. A launch party for “Martha’s Magical Hair” is at 10-11:30 a.m. That evening, 7-8:30 p.m., Plitt will read from “Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream” followed by a discussion on contemporary business and franchising. Both events are free, family friendly and at the Women’s Resource Center’s Bradenton office, 1926 Manatee Avenue W., Bradenton. Plitt’s books will be available for purchase and autographs at both events. Light refreshments will be served at each event. For more information, call 941-747-6797 or visit thewomensresourcecenter.org/events.

“Martha’s Magical Hair” and “Martha Matilda and the American Dream” tell the true story of Martha Matilda Harper, a Canadian-American businesswoman, entrepreneur, and inventor who built an international network of franchised hair salons that emphasized healthy hair care. Born in Canada, Harper was sent away by her father when she was seven to work as a domestic servant. She worked for 25 years before she saved enough money to start working full-time producing a hair tonic she invented. The product, and the creation of special hair salons that utilized it, was successful. Harper began franchising the salon model to low-income women, and by its peak the company included more than 500 franchises and an entire line of hair care products.

“Martha’s Magical Hair” captures “Harper’s remarkable life in a way that is profoundly meaningful to young children—regardless of gender and economic background,” says Plitt. In her lengthy career, Plitt has run several successful businesses and also served as executive director of the National Organization for Women.

Ashley Brown, president and CEO of the Women’s Resource Center, adds that “Martha Matilda Harper is a shining example of empowerment during a time when women, especially those born into poverty, had few rights. She incorporated the goals of the suffragists to empower poor factory and servant girls to transform their lives through private enterprise. As we near the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, it’s an ideal time to discuss the growing role of women entrepreneurs in today’s economy. Harper was a trailblazer and we’re thrilled get the word out about her life through this wonderful new book.”  

About the Women’s Resource Center

The Women’s Resource Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering and supporting women during all life stages and circumstances. Ongoing programs are offered in Bradenton, Sarasota and Venice and include career coaching and development, mental health counseling, peer resource advising, mentoring, health and wellness workshops, yoga, guided meditation, and family law consultations. To learn more, visit: www.thewomensresourcecenter.org. or www.wrcmanatee.org.