Developed to be a personification of a Software Toolworks instructional typing program, Mavis Beacon debuted as simply a photo of a model on the software's packaging in 1987.
The model chosen to be the face of Mavis was Haitian-born Renée L'Espérance, who was discovered working behind the perfume counter at Saks 5th Avenue Beverly Hills by one of the software developers in 1985.
Mavis's name comes from a combination of Mavis Staples (one of the software developer's favorite singers) and the word beacon (an allusion to her role as a guide to typing)
There have been several models chosen to represent the confident efficiency of Mavis Beacon; her image changes to represent a "modern professional typing instructor."
Because of Mavis Beacon's race, some retailers were initially reluctant to display the product. However, once the popularity of the program became evident, many of these distributors reversed their decision and began to display the line of software bearing Mavis Beacon's image.
Since its introduction, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing has been the best-selling instructional typing software.
Mavis Beacon has been seen as groundbreaking for being one of the first computer instruction characters and for being a female African-American embodiment of computer software. Throughout the 1990s, Mavis Beacon served as the virtual typing instructor at numerous American schools.
As of 1998, she had instructed 6,000,000 school children. Mavis has been compared to American cultural icon Betty Crocker and has been called "the Betty Crocker of cyberspace".
(S): 8.5x11 in
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(XL) 60x40 in
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