Bette (McMurray) Graham

Bette Clair (McMurray) Graham (1924 - 1980)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Bette Clair Graham formerly McMurray aka Nesmith
Born in Dallas, Texasmap
Sister of [private sister (1920s - unknown)]
Wife of — married 1942 (to 1946) [location unknown]
Wife of [private husband (1910s - unknown)]
Mother of [private son (1940s - unknown)]
Died in Richardson, Collin, Texas, United Statesmap
Profile last modified 9 May 2019 | Created 24 Feb 2009
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Biography

Bette Clair McMurray Nesmith Graham of Texas developed the product known as "liquid paper". She was also the mother of Michael Nesmith, a member of the band The Monkees in the 1960s.

She was born in Dallas, Texas. She dropped out of high school at the age of 17. At the age of 19, she married Warren Nesmith. While he was away at World War 2, Bette had a baby Michael. Warren and Bette later divorced.

In the 1950s, Bette worked as a secretary in a bank using the new IBM typewriter. When she tried to erase her mistakes, the ink left nasty smudges on the paper. With a lot of hard work and determination, she worked her way up from the typing pool to becoming an executive secretary. Graham found her work appeared messy when she tried to erase her mistakes with a pencil eraser. She thought she could paint over the smudges, so she started using tempera paint to cover her mistakes. She referred to it as "Mistake Out", for the removal of typographical errors.

By 1956, she was mixing her special paint and bottling it at home and selling it. By 1958, a general office trade magazine did an article about her product and referred to it as "liquid paper". Suddenly she had hundreds of orders at once. From there she developed her own company, called "Liquid Paper Company". By 1975, the company had 200 employees and sold 25 million bottles in that one year.

In 1962, Bette met and married Robert M "Bob" Graham (born circa 1918). They were divorced Jul 29, 1975 in Dallas County. In 1979 she sold her Liquid Paper company to the Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million plus royalties on every bottle until the year 2000.

Bette died in 1980, age 56, leaving half her fortune to charity and the other half to her only child Michael.

Sources

"Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VDSS-DFB : 1 January 2015), Jesa Thomas Mcmurray in entry for MM9.1.1/VDSS-DF1:, 23 Mar 1924; from "Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997," database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2005); citing Texas Department of State Health Services.

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:HK7L-JT2 : accessed 30 September 2017), Betty Clair Mcmurray in household of Jess T Mcmurray, Fort Worth, Tarrant, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 81, sheet 46B, line 77, family 731, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 2397; FHL microfilm 2,342,131.

"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KWNV-9HY : accessed 30 September 2017), Betty Mcmurray in household of Jess T Mcmurray, Alamo Heights, Justice Precinct 1, Bexar, Texas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 15-3, sheet 7A, line 6, family 155, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 3985.

"Texas Divorce Index, 1968-2010," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VY6G-12G : 12 December 2014), Robert M Graham and Bette C Graham, 29 Jul 1975; from "Texas, Divorce Index, 1968-2011," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2005); citing Dallas, Texas, United States, certificate number 043276, Texas Department of State Health Services.

"Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VD9W-NK6 : 1 January 2015), Bette Clair Mcmurray in entry for Robert Micheal Nesmith, 30 Dec 1942; from "Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997," database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2005); citing Texas Department of State Health Services.

  • U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.


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