BROOKLYN FOOTPRINTS IN FLORIDA
Complied, Edited, and Written by Palmer Hasty
Alexander D. Henderson, Jr.
Alexander D. Henderson Jr. is another one of those Brooklyn natives who eventually moved to Florida, and while maintaining a successful career, he made the community he lived in a better place through leadership and generous philanthropy. Alexander Henderson was born in Brooklyn in 1895. According to the U.S. census that year, the Henderson family lived at 174 Pulaski Street in Brooklyn.
After retiring from Avon, in 1951, Henderson moved to Broward Beach, Florida. He served as Mayor of Broward Beach for six consecutive terms (from 1958-64). Also while in Florida, Henderson gave a generous amount of his stock in Avon to a mental clinic for emotionally disturbed children in Fort Lauderdale. The sale of that stock provided enough to build the structures and all the furnishings. In 1961 the clinic was renamed Henderson Clinic of Broward County.
Two years earlier in 1959 Henderson and his wife Lucy had founded the A.D. Henderson Foundation; “…dedicated to improving the lives of children through education.”
In 1965 Henderson’s wife Lucy donated $750,000 to the Florida Atlantic University Endowment Corporation, to memorialize her husband. That school became a legislated school district as a public elementary and middle school, serving as an educational laboratory on the Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton campus. Henderson was also instrumental in establishing the Hillsboro Country Day School in Hillsboro Beach, Florida.
In 1968, four years after Henderson’s death, the A.D. Henderson University School at the Florida Atlantic University College of Education was dedicated in Henderson’s honor.
We found in the Henderson Family Tree archive a mention of when Henderson’s father, Alexander D. Henderson Sr., who was working at the time for the California Perfume Company, took his family (when Alexander D. Henderson Jr. would have been 19 years old) on a two-week working vacation trip to Paris to purchase essential oils from France and to see the massive fields of French flowers. That particular trip was mentioned in the society pages of the July 11, 1914 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. (See graphic).
When Henerson was 21 his father invested $25,000 in the California Perfume Company (CPC) and acquired a quarter of the entire stock of Avon Products. In 1924 he became mangaer of the Purchasing Department of CPC. After only a year Henderson became VP and and Director of CPC and held that position until 1951.
By 1933 the Henderson family was spending the winter months in Palm Beach, Florida. In 1939 CPC became Avon Products with Henderson as VP in charge of merchandising.
When Henderson retired he moved to Florida and lived in Hillsboro Beach with an ocean view at 1011 Hillsboro Mile. In 2004 the Henerson School on the Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University was officially recognized as one of 239 Blue Ribbon schools in the United States and one of only 5 in Florida.