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Outside View of the Indiana Historical Society Building
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Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Indiana Experience Admission $13 Adult$12 Seniors 60 and older$5 Youth ages 5 through 17$2 Access Pass HoldersFree Children under 5Free IHS MembersFree Educators and Military Free parking with admission in lot off New York.

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Canal level map of the History CenterFirst level map of the History CenterSecond level map of the History CenterFourth level map of the History Center

Walker Builds Her Business

While living in Saint Louis, Madam C. J. Walker had experienced increasing hair loss and developed bald spots because of severe scalp infections. Her pursuit of a cure led her to enter the beauty culture business. Once she was living in Denver and running her own company, Walker connected to potential clients through advertisements that emphasized the ability of her products to relieve her own hair issues. In September 1906, Walker set off on what became a year and a half of traveling to build her business. By the end of her travels, her business was making $400 a month—an extraordinary income for the time.

In 1908, Madam Walker made the decision to relocate to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to be close to a large African American population. She and A’Lelia established a full-service salon and a beauty college that provided vocational training.

After just two years in Pittsburgh, Walker was recognized as “one of the most successful businesswomen of the race in this community” in the Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory. Her grand ambitions led her to look for a new city better positioned to establish a permanent national headquarters. Walker found just that place when she visited Indianapolis in February 1910.

Package design of Madam C. J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, n.d.

Madam C. J. Walker demonstrating a hair care technique, n.d.

Madam C. J. Walker’s Wonderful Temple Salve, and Hair and Scalp Preparation, ca. 1920s

map of area around IHS location
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ExhibitsClosedWilliam H. Smith Memorial LibraryOpen 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through SaturdayHistory MarketOpen 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through SaturdayStardust Terrace Café HoursOpen 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday
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Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202(317) 232-1882
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