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Syma Busiel (Cohen)

Birthplace: Russia
Death: June 20, 1990 (99)
Chicago, Cook, IL, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Aaron Cohen and Miriam Cohen
Sister of Simon Cohen Coates; Esther Wallace; Ida Patten (Padnos, Cohen); Otto (Abraham) Jay Cohen; Florence Hamburg and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Syma Busiel

Syma Cohen (*1891 +1990) had registered as early as July 1st, 1913 a cosmetic label in her and her siblings name. “Esther” was the name of her sister, who got married soon after and left the new company. Courage and entrepreneurial spirit of her younger brother Alfred (*1900 +1951) lead to an enormous success of the enterprise in the 1920ies, the company shares belonged equally to him and Syma then. In only 20 years Lady Esther was the leading brand in the United States.

Purchased house designed by David Adler overlooking Lake MI built in 1911 for the Stonehill family (see book called Houses of David Adler (Pierremont) which had been lost to the bank after the crash, form 1930s - to 1960s, and sold it to be the site of a temple. It was torn down in 1962.

Can see correspondance with Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., records, General Correspondence 1935-1958

Corresponded in 1957-59 with Alfred Barr (Director at MoMA NYC)

Donated art works to National Gallery of Art - Sir Peter Paul Rubens (artist) Flemish, 1577 - 1640

The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek, c. 1626

and Diana sculpture Dated 1778 Marble

She donated $$ while residing in Paris in 1980 for th John Anderson Unity Party presidential campaign

She lived in the Drake Hotel in her later years.

She sued her brother's third wife Suzette when Alfred died to invalidate the Will.

From "North Shore Congregation Israel Newsletter June 24, 2005 - History of the Comgregation

We woudl like any photos of the house sometimes known as the Lady Esther Estate that previously occupied the property. Dan already has a

photo from about 1912 when the house was new. The prior owner of the property was a woman named Syma Busiel (formerly Syma Cohen). There are lots of stories about her prior to 1961, but thereafter she drops from sight. Dan has discovered that in the late ‘60’s she spent time in Athens and that in 1979, she had an address of 28 East 70th Street, New York City. anyone have any knowledge about this company? Feel free to contact Dan directly at 847-835-2743 or

Here is a Chicago Tribune article about the disposition of the furniture from her estate: FEATURES Wood Tale By Lindsey Novak, a free-lance writer | April 16, 1995 Answering an ad in the Chicago Tribune, Scott A. Brainerd, a Chicago attorney with no engineering, architectural or design experience, decided to take a chance. For $2,000, he bought two tons of English walnut originally imported from Europe by Syma Busiel (former owner of Lady Esther Cosmetics) for her estate in Glencoe. The estate, which was designed by architect David Adler, was built in 1910 and torn down in 1962. The nearly unidentifiable wood lay in storage for almost 80 years, scattered in hundreds of pieces.

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Syma Busiel's Timeline

February 21, 1891
June 20, 1990
Age 99
Chicago, Cook, IL, United States