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HersheyArchives@30-31: West Hershey

Well, our anniversary year has past, but we have one more story to share that highlights the Archives’ oral history collection.  Enjoy!

 

West Hershey manufacturing plant under construction. ca.1990-1991

West Hershey manufacturing plant under construction. ca.1990-1991

 

West Hershey, The Hershey Company’s manufacturing facility located on the west end of Hershey, Pennsylvania, began operating in 1993. However, the need for the facility was first recognized in the 1970s. Richard A. Zimmerman, who was then Chief Operating Officer and later Chief Executive Officer, understood the challenges Hershey Chocolate faced in the last quarter of the 20th century and began implementing changes that would lead to the company’s success in the coming century.

 

 

 

Aerial view of West Hershey.  08/06/2003

Aerial view of West Hershey. 08/06/2003

 

Zimmerman was aware that Mr. Hershey’s original factory, which opened in 1905, was nearing obsolescence and that the company needed to reexamine its manufacturing processes.  He recognized that in order to modernize the manufacturing process the company needed to start with its milk processing technique.  Fresh milk is a critical ingredient in Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. How the milk is processed is essential to the development of the “Hershey flavor.”

 

[W]e were working on Hershey West in 1976….I knew we had a very obsolescent, if not obsolete, processing technique. Literally, our processing of milk, the condensation of that product, was circa 1920….So we began to work hard on the milk aspect, because so much of our flavor is developed through the milk process, that we knew that we had to find a new way to do that. So we began to work pretty diligently, and kept working at it and working at it and working at it for over ten years.  [Oral history interview with Richard A. Zimmerman, 11/07/1995.  95OH08.]

 

Richard A. Zimmerman.  CEO, Hershey Foods Corporation. 04/1991

Richard A. Zimmerman. CEO, Hershey Foods Corporation. 04/1991

 

Craig Moyer, a process engineer hired by Hershey Chocolate in 1973, became involved in modernizing the manufacturing process.  A significant portion of his career was focused on modernizing milk processing and planning the West Hershey facility.  He acknowledged Zimmerman’s contribution to Hershey’s continued success.

I don’t know this for a fact because [Mr. Zimmerman] never really told me, but he had to have realized that The Hershey Company couldn’t move forward based on the [original/19 East] Hershey plant….he had the courage and he had the vision to allow us to move forward…that would let the company move forward. [Oral history interview with Craig Moyer, 03/10/2014.  2014OH02.]

 

Upon his retirement in 1993, Zimmerman’s tenure as CEO was noted for his commitment to modernization, manufacturing capacity expansion, quality and productivity improvement, an expanded international presence, increased efforts in new product development, and an emphasis on innovative training opportunities for employees.

 

 

B-Roll of West Hershey factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Milk processing and factory exteriors. 09/2012

 

In 2012, a new 340,000 sq. ft. expansion to the West Hershey facility was completed.  The $300 million investment features the latest manufacturing technology and equipment that speeds production, delivers consistent high quality, and provides the opportunity to produce new products in the future.  In the tradition of Mr. Zimmerman, approximately 700 employees were trained to prepare them to work in the facility’s high-tech manufacturing environment.

HersheyArchives@30-30: Hershey Chocolate-the Great American Chocolate Bar

Remember your first Hershey Bar? Print advertisement, 1980

Remember your first Hershey Bar? Print advertisement, 1980

 

It is an advertising industry legend that Hershey Chocolate did not advertise. The advertising industry marveled at Hershey’s success without the use of advertising. During the company’s first fifty years, Hershey Chocolate succeeded without media advertising because it had few competitors in the solid chocolate confectionery market.

 

Hershey Chocolate offered a variety of promotional displays to stores to help them promote Hershey products. ca1936

Hershey Chocolate offered a variety of promotional displays to stores to help them promote Hershey products. ca1936

 

 

Window display, 1930-1932

Window display, 1930-1932

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image of Hershey as a company that succeeded without advertising stretches the truth.  It is true that Hershey did not use media advertising (newspaper ads, radio, television) until 1970. However, Hershey did make extensive use of trade and point of purchasing advertisements throughout its history.  Unlike most companies that directed advertising dollars to consumers as well as customers, Hershey concentrated all its advertising budget towards the trade, placing ads in trade publications, offering cut sheets to customers to use in their own newspaper ads and promoting its products with shelf talkers and window displays.

 

In the 1960s, market changes and the growth of the Mars Candy Company under Forrest Mars challenged Hershey’s control of the market. During the 1960s, Mars steadily gained market share and Hershey realized that it would have to change how it conducted business.

 

It was not a simple matter to begin media and print advertising. Hershey first needed to build the infrastructure that would enable them to develop a modern marketing program and support an advertising campaign.  That took several years.

 

Jack Dowd, hired in 1965 to help Hershey establish its first marketing department, recalled in his 1991 oral history interview, the chocolate company’s reluctance to move towards implementing a media advertising campaign, in spite of the company’s trend toward losing market share.

 

Incidentally, my interview, the first day I met a number of people, including Harold Mohler [Hershey Chocolate Corporation president].  He said, “They seem to like you here, but a couple of things you should know about Hershey.  One is, we don’t advertise.”

I said, “I’m vividly aware of that.  Everybody in marketing is aware of that.  But I have a couple of hypotheses about your company because I’ve done a lot of reading about it, and if they’re true, you’re going to be advertising.”

He said, “What are they?”

I said, “I think your share of market has been declining.”

And he said, “Yes, it has.”

I said, “I think your new products are not as successful as your old products.”

He said, “That’s true.  They’re not.” 

And I said, “I don’t think that your products are as popular with children as they are with adults.”

And he said, “That’s true.” 

And I said, “Given those three, you’re going to start to advertise.” 

He said, “Well, we haven’t decided yet.”

 

It was not until 1969 that the company was ready to launch a national media advertising campaign.

 

When Hershey Foods Corporation began the process of searching for an advertising agency, it was particularly interested in the agency’s skills in producing television ads. After interviewing six firms, Hershey hired Ogilvy and Mather, who were based in New York City.

 

In sharing the news of hiring Ogilvy & Mather with their employees, Hershey noted the growing competition for shelf space in the grocery store, the changing demographics of the country’s population with the emergence of the baby boom generation and the need to connect with a more youthful audience. The July 21, 1969 memo stated:

 

With the competition getting keener for the consumers sweet tooth – and the fact that almost half of the people in the United States today are under 25 years of age, we felt it prudent to introduce this marketing tool to acquaint this younger generation with our items and to maintain our position with the over 25 group.

 

Hershey selected three brands with which to test the advertising waters: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Hershey’s Instant, a milk chocolate powder. At first tests were done in seven cities for several months before launching a national campaign in September, 1970.

 

Hershey Foods Corporation used both television and print media ads to promote its products. 1980

Hershey Foods Corporation used both television and print media ads to promote its products. 1980

 

Ogilvy & Mather’s creative director for the Hershey Milk Chocolate team was Billings Fuess.  He developed the “Hershey. The Great American Chocolate Bar” ad campaign.

 

Billings Fuess was inspired by his love of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, believing that it was superior to European milk chocolate. He explained his reasoning and inspiration in a 2010 oral history interview.:

 

I had the idea for “The Great American Chocolate Bar” because I knew there was a lot of wonderful history behind Hershey.  I also liked Hershey bars and they were a heck of a lot better than their competition from Switzerland.  And I wanted to give them a dig and say the great AMERICAN chocolate bar.

 

Storyboard for Hershey's Milk Chocolate commercial, "Montage." 5/1970

Storyboard for Hershey’s Milk Chocolate commercial, “Montage.” 5/1970

 

Along with the slogan, Fuess also developed the concept for the first television commercials.  He wanted the commercials to express the personal relationships nurtured by the shared enjoyment of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate.  His strategy was to “build upon the marvelous reminisces of people and what the Hershey bar means to most people and the fact that it’s American and it tastes so good and there’s something wondrous about a little child eating it and sharing it with his parents . . . The idea of a father with his son on his shoulders and the son tears open the Hershey bar, eats some and give some to his father as he’s walking down the street.”

 

The Great American Chocolate Bar campaign served the company well. It continued to serve as the basis of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate marketing from 1970 until 1994.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-29: What’s New?

Occasionally, someone asks: “What is the oldest item in the archival collection?” But no one has asked, “What is the most contemporary item in the collection?” Researchers often equate archives with pre-twentieth century materials such as handwritten deeds or manuscripts written on parchment. However, Hershey Community Archives’ holdings are largely comprised of twentieth century records and, increasingly, twenty-first century records.

 

The Archives regularly receives sales and marketing materials from The Hershey Company announcing new product launches.

The Archives regularly receives sales and marketing materials from The Hershey Company announcing new product launches.

 

The Archives receives regular transfers of records from the corporations and organizations whose historical records we manage, such as The Hershey Company, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, Hershey Area AARP, and the Derry Township Senior Citizen’s Council. Contemporary records, yes even those that date from 2015, are currently held by the Archives.

 

Hershey Area AARP newsletter from March-April 2015.

Hershey Area AARP newsletter from March-April 2015.

 

These selected contemporary records have what is called “archival value,” meaning the records have enduring value based on their historical usefulness or significance, that justifies their continued preservation. The records are collected quickly after they are produced so that they are less likely to be lost, causing a break in the documentary record.

 

Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper chronology. Regular transfer of records helps lessen the likelihood of breaks in the documentary record.

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper chronology. Regular transfer of records helps lessen the likelihood of breaks in the documentary record.

 

By collecting contemporary records, the Archives can provide a comprehensive institutional history or document the development of a particular event.

 

Contemporary records illustrate how ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night has evolved since its beginning.

Contemporary records illustrate how ZooAmerica’s Creatures of the Night has evolved since its beginning.

 

Archivists have an obligation to future researchers and the organizations they serve to collect and preserve contemporary records so they are available when a need arises. The records produced in 2015 and transferred to the Archives are already “archival” and have historical value. The records will help tell or illustrate an institution’s history 50 years from now or perhaps just a few years from now.

 

HersheyArchives@30-28: The Wonderful World of Chocolate: Hershey’s Chocolate World

Hershey’s Chocolate World brochure, ca1973

Hershey’s Chocolate World brochure, ca1973

 

Hershey began offering tours of its chocolate factory shortly after the factory opened.  By 1915, visitors could register for a tour at the town’s Visitor Bureau, located in the Cocoa House, on Chocolate Avenue.

 

In 1928, the factory began keeping formal statistics about factory tours.  A factory tour was a popular part of a visit to Hershey.

 

Hershey Chocolate factory tour. At the end of the tour, visitors received free samples of chocolate and cocoa milk. ca1950-1960

Hershey Chocolate factory tour. At the end of the tour, visitors received free samples of chocolate and cocoa milk. ca1950-1960

 

By 1970, almost one million people were touring the factory each year.  The factory was not designed to handle so many people.  So many visitors were causing traffic jams downtown, overwhelming the building capacity and creating risks for product safety.

 

Ken Bowers, who came to Hershey Foods Corporation in 1970 to head up the public relations department, remembered that a task force had been assembled to determine how best to address the challenge of a factory tour that had outgrown its capacity.  He recalled that the committee considered three options:

 

One, to simply terminate the tour program, because it had gotten to the point where it was creating problems for the plant.  It was creating problems traffic-wise, congestion-wise for downtown Hershey.  And there were plenty of other corporations who had had tours that were beginning to lop them off and close them and it would not have been setting a new precedent.  So that was a very real possibility. 

A second big possibility was to do rather extensive renovation in order to keep that tour program, by putting it, perhaps, into the ceiling of certain of the rooms so it would not interfere with production, with glass-enclosed walkways or something where people could not potentially throw things into the vats of chocolate, etc. 

And, of course, the third basic choice was to develop something new, different elsewhere, a mini factory kind of thing.  Those were the three things that were discussed at great length, with a considerable amount of research attached to each one.

 

While the option to simply discontinue the factory tour was one of the options, it was not seriously considered.  Hershey Foods Corporation recognized the great value the tour offered in terms of consumer relations and it was particularly important in a town like Hershey, which had a strong orientation towards tourism. Likewise, it was quickly realized that the factory would not lend itself to being remodeled to accommodate touring guests.

 

Even after deciding to build a new facility a number of decisions remained.  Should it be a model factory, actually producing product or should Hershey build a facility that would lend itself to longer hours of operation and be attractive to a broader audience. Deciding between these two options was not a simple matter.  The task force spent considerable energy debating the pros and cons of building a model factory versus visitor center that could explain how Hershey produced its milk chocolate.

 

Visitor Tour Task Team Final Recommendation Report, 5/21/1970.

Visitor Tour Task Team Final Recommendation Report, 5/21/1970.

 

The task team’s final recommendation was to “establish [a] Visitors Tour Facility in the general area of the existing Park/Stadium complex.” Acting on the task team’s recommendation, Hershey Foods decided to build Hershey’s Chocolate World, a corporate visitor center that could welcome the millions of people visiting Hershey each year and would teach visitors how Hershey’s milk chocolate is made in a fun and informative way.

 

2C109-3thb

Hershey’s Chocolate World original design featured a tour ride, retail area, café, and an historical display. 1970

 

Hershey Foods Corporation hired R. Duell & Associates to develop concept and design plans for the new visitor center. The firm was already working on design development plans for Hershey Park’s modernization and expansion. By employing the same firm, Hershey Foods Corporation was able to benefit from R. Duell & Associates already acquired understanding and knowledge of the general site and better coordinate how the two facilities might best interact with each other. R. Duell & Associates played a significant role shaping the direction and scope of Hershey Foods’ new visitor center.

 

Hershey’s Chocolate World, ca1973

Hershey’s Chocolate World, ca1973

 

The new visitor center was located near Hersheypark’s newly constructed “tram circle.”

 

Chocolate World’s tour ride showed visitors how Hershey’s milk chocolate was manufactured. 1973

Chocolate World’s tour ride showed visitors how Hershey’s milk chocolate was manufactured. 1973

 

Hershey’s Chocolate World also included displays devoted to company history. 1973

Hershey’s Chocolate World also included displays devoted to company history. 1973

 

Hershey Chocolate World’s retail area was themed to suggest a village in a tropical jungle. 1973

Hershey Chocolate World’s retail area was themed to suggest a village in a tropical jungle. 1973

 

Plans called for the visitor’s center to illustrate the steps necessary for manufacturing chocolate, from growing and harvesting cocoa beans, through the manufacturing steps to produce Hershey’s milk chocolate. Plans also called for an enlarged retail area, a small café and gift shop, and a company history display.

 

The last public Hershey Chocolate factory tour was held June 29, 1973 and the new Hershey’s Chocolate World opened the next day.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-27 Hershey’s Kiss Streetlights

Hershey’s unique Kiss shaped streetlights can be found all along Chocolate Avenue. ca1970-1973

Hershey’s unique Kiss shaped streetlights can be found all along Chocolate Avenue. ca1970-1973

 

Each year millions of people visit Hershey, drawn by Hershey’s many attractions, including its streetlights.  Seriously!

 

Hershey’s streetlights are unique. The lights along Chocolate Avenue, Hershey’s main street, are shaped like wrapped and unwrapped Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates. They’ve been a part of the community’s landscape since 1963, when Hershey Chocolate Corporation president, Samuel Hinkle, suggested that the town improve its downtown lighting with a unique style of streetlights.

 

Hershey News, 12/26/1963

Hershey News, 12/26/1963

 

Sam Hinkle realized that Hershey’s street lighting was not adequate. During his travels he took note of how other towns were lit and he directed the chocolate corporation’s electrical engineer, Don Chubb, to study the problem and make some recommendations. Sam Hinkle added an additional condition to the project: he wanted the streetlights to be uniquely “Hershey.”

 

It was an unusual project and Don Chubb had vivid memories that he related in his 1999 oral history interview. Chubb recalled a meeting that Hinkle called to discuss new lighting for the town:

 

Mr. Hinkle made the statement that he wanted his town relighted . . . I said, “Well, the only way you can have street lighting like that is to get some manufacturers to come up with some prototype fixtures.”

 

[Hinkle asked] “How do we do that?” 

 

Well, the three major manufacturers were Westinghouse, General Electric, and Line Material.  So we talked to all three of them and asked if they would make up a prototype fixture, and in the process, I told each of them that the only thing that lends itself at all toward a streetlight is the chocolate Kiss, the Hershey Kiss, mainly because of the shape and it’s like a globe overtop of an incandescent bulb.

 

The three manufacturers each submitted a prototype lighting fixture and Chubb had them set up in a field near the Hershey Stadium. The light selected was designed by Line Material. As Chubb recalled:

 

The one from Line Material is basically the one that we have today.  They took the whole idea of a chocolate, or a wrapped Kiss, and made molds for it, made forms to spin them, and made them out of aluminum. Everyone, as soon as they saw it, [said] “Hey, that’s what we want.” 

 

Sam Hinkle was very pleased, except he said, “Can’t you take that [Kiss plume] and have it rotate like a weathervane?”  “Sure, probably no problem.”  Contacted them [Line Material], they said, “Oh yeah.” 

 

 

Once the final designs were approved, Chubb and his team developed a lighting plan for all of Chocolate Avenue and a portion of Park Avenue.

 

The new Kiss-shaped streetlights were officially lit and dedicated on December 23, 1963.

The new Kiss-shaped streetlights were officially lit and dedicated on December 23, 1963.

 

The lights were officially lit and dedicated in a brief ceremony on December 23, 1963. Sam Hinkle was so closely associated with the project that the lights were soon christened “Hinkle’s Twinkles.”

 

Today there are 107 streetlights (55 wrapped, 52 unwrapped) on Chocolate Avenue, and eight Kiss streetlights on Park Avenue between Chocolate Avenue and the railroad bridge. The Hershey Company has also installed them at each of their manufacturing plants.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-26: Why Did Hershey Sell Its Cuban Assets?

List of Hershey Cuban assets acquired by the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company. Page from Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company Notice of Stockholders meeting, 3/5/1946

List of Hershey Cuban assets acquired by the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company. Page from Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company Notice of Stockholders meeting, 3/5/1946

 

In 1921, Milton Hershey hired Percy Alexander (P.A.) Staples to manage his Cuban operations. For the next 23 years Staples resided in Cuba. As part of his work, he became very knowledgeable about Cuba: not only its sugar industry, but also with its people, culture, economy, and politics.

 

In 1944, Milton Hershey selected Staples to succeed him as president and chairman of all of the Hershey Entities. Staples relocated to Hershey and quickly settled into his new responsibilities. Though Hershey’s Cuban properties had been consistently profitable, Staples recommended to Mr. Hershey that the Cuban properties should be sold. Staples’ long residence in Cuba provided him with a unique understanding of the country and perhaps created some concerns about its future.

 

P.A. Staples wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission to explain some of the details of the sale of Hershey’s Cuban assets. 4/6/1946

P.A. Staples wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission to explain some of the details of the sale of Hershey’s Cuban assets. 4/6/1946

 

Trust001B44F23.1B

Staples to SEC, page 2. 4/6/1946

 

Selling such a sizeable asset required months of due diligence and documenting all aspects of the business. Naturally, there were questions about why Hershey might want to sell a business that had expanded and been profitable for years.

 

Staples outlined his reasons for selling Hershey's Cuban properties. 4/6/1946

Staples outlined his reasons for selling Hershey’s Cuban properties. 4/6/1946

 

Mr. Staples outlined some of the reasons for selling Hershey’s Cuban properties in an April 6, 1946 letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):

 

“The desire of the Trustee to change its position from that of 100 percent owner of the Hershey Cuban enterprises to that of an owner of only half of the Preferred Stock, and less than 100 percent of the Common Stock, of the Company arises from the fact that, except for the Hershey Cuban enterprises, the only operating properties controlled by the Trustee are located in or near Hershey, Pennsylvania. The individual members of the board of trustees of Hershey Trust Company are men living in and around Hershey, Pennsylvania. Of them the writer (P.A. Staples) is the only one experienced in the operation and supervision of properties in Cuba and the only one having the specialized knowledge required for such purpose.

 

In the light of these circumstances, the late Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey Industrial School, explored the possibilities of a transaction of the general character which is about to be effected and the proposed transaction with the Company is one which was approved in principle by Mr. Hershey before his death last fall.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30

 

 

 

 

 

HersheyArchives@30-25: Hear Mr. Hershey

 

Milton Hershey poses  with a kitchen employee at a Hershey Industrial School picnic held at Hershey Park. 1938

Milton Hershey poses with a kitchen employee at a Hershey Industrial School picnic held at Hershey Park. 1938

 

In the 1920s, American households had a new choice in home entertainment—the radio. The first commercial radio station was established in 1920 and by 1922 over 600 stations were on the air. Radio programs in a variety of formats and genres were broadcast including radio plays, variety shows, news, and interview programs. One such program was “It Can Be Done” hosted by Edgar A. Guest, an English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the twentieth century.

 

On June 8, 1938, “Milton S. Hershey, ‘The Builder,’” was featured on the radio show, “It Can Be Done.” At the time of the interview, Mr. Hershey was eighty years old. His voice had aged and his speech was slow as he was inexperienced with public speaking and was reading from a script. At the end of the interview, Guest read his poem, “Compensation,” in tribute to Mr. Hershey.

 

The audio below is the only known recording of Mr. Hershey’s voice. Click on the link to listen to Milton Hershey.

 

 

[Transcript of audio]

 

Announcer:      So Milton S. Hershey, the builder of an ideal town continues to build, to build happiness into the hearts of boys, happiness that is the foundation for sturdy, worthy, useful citizenship. The unconquerable, unselfish spirit of Milton S. Hershey has brought fulfillment of his most fantastic dreams. And proves once more, “It can be done.”  We present now, ladies and gentlemen, Milton S. Hershey,” the builder.”

 

Mr. Hershey:   Thank you, Eddie Guest. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

 

Mr. Guest:       Mr. Hershey, how many years have you been in the candy business?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Sixty years.

 

Mr. Guest:       Are you still active in the business?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Indeed I am.

 

Mr. Guest:       You know, it seems to me that as long as I can remember I’ve seen your chocolate bar on candy counters.

 

Mr. Hershey:   Yes, the Hershey Bar has been on the market thirty odd years and we were the first to introduce the almond bar.

 

Mr. Guest:       Now, you must use an unbelievable amount of cocoa beans.

 

Mr. Hershey:   We use as much cocoa, raw cocoa beans, as France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain put together.

 

Mr. Guest:       Hmmm.

 

Mr. Guest:       How large is your town Hershey, Pennsylvania?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Hershey, Pennsylvania, has a population of 2500. In that total of 2500 we have 3200 students. The Hershey Township High School is the largest township high school in the United States.

 

Mr. Guest:       How long has the Hershey Industrial School been in operation?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Since 1909.

 

Mr. Guest:       Can you tell me what has happened to some of the boys you’ve trained there?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Well, one is treasurer of the Trust Company, two are in the bank, and there are others in responsible positions. You see, we follow the boys through until we see that they have jobs.

 

Mr. Guest:       Tell me, just how do the opportunities for the boys today compare with those of your day? That is, these boys coming out of your school?

 

Mr. Hershey:   Most of them have better chances for character building and education than ever before. Perhaps they don’t have the chance to make as much money as some individuals have made, but they will lead to happier lives.

 

Mr. Guest:        Milton S. Hershey, Household Finance and I humbly salute you and your courage which carried you through to success and we add our tribute to that of thousands of others for the great work you are doing with boys. Congratulations, Milton S. Hershey.

 

Mr. Guest:       Mr. Hershey, I’d like to think, when life is done,

That I had filled some needed post,

That here and there I’d paid my fare

With something more than idle boast.

That I had taken gifts divine,

The breath of life and manhood fine,

And tried to use them now and then

In service for my fellowman.

 

I’d hate to think when life is through

That I had lived my round of years

A useless time that leaves behind

No record in its vale of tears;

That I had wasted all my days

By treading only selfish ways

And that this world would be the same

If it had never heard my name.

 

I’d like to think when life is done

That here and there, there shall remain

A happier spot which might have not

Existed had I toiled for gain,

That someone’s cheery voice and smile

Shall prove that I had been worthwhile

That I had paid with something fine,

My debt to God for life divine.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-24: Made in Hershey, So It Must Be Good: H.B. Reese Candy Company

While most confectionery companies regard other candy-making businesses as their competitor, Milton Hershey was different.  Hershey Chocolate limited its definition of a confectionery competitor to those businesses that produced solid chocolate bars. In fact, Hershey Chocolate sold chocolate to a wide range of companies manufacturing enrobed, or chocolate-coated, candy.

 

Harry Burnett “H.B.”Reese, a one-time employee of the Hershey Chocolate factory shipping department, was inspired by Milton Hershey’s success and decided to start his own candy business.

 

In 1921, H.B. Reese began making candies in the basement of his home at 18 E. Areba Avenue in Hershey. Reese produced a wide range of confectionery products. During the company’s first 20 years, the product line featured a variety of candies made and sold by weight. Most of the candies consisted of different centers that were hand-dipped in chocolate. H.B. Reese’s son, Ralph remembered:

 

We used Hershey’s chocolate.  I guess we were a nuisance for a while, buying fifty pounds at a time.  But I remember the little express wagon I used for hauling papers.  [I’d] go down to the [Hershey Chocolate] office and buy fifty pounds of chocolate, haul it back to the house.

 

Day Book; H.B. Reese Candy Company, ingredients purchased. 1929

Day Book; H.B. Reese Candy Company, ingredients purchased. 1929

 

The Archives holds a number of ledgers related to the early years of the H.B. Reese Candy Company. The index page of a 1929 ledger lists a variety of ingredients, including cocoanut (coconut), peanuts, butter, raisins, cherry pieces, dates and chocolate. An early employee, Rena Renshaw recalled in a 1993 oral history interview:

 

I think [until] ’41 they made the assortment, maybe about twenty different kinds, sixteen to twenty different kinds of candy.  And after the war came along, of course, they couldn’t get the coconuts and some of the sugar and butter…[all of]the products that he used in the different kinds of candy. 

 

Time Book; H.B. Reese Candy Company. 1932

Time Book; H.B. Reese Candy Company. 1932

 

For many years the number of employees remained small. Renshaw started working for the H.B. Reese Candy Company on September 1, 1926. She remembered:

 

I got paid twenty cents an hour for the first two weeks, and the next raise we got was twenty-five, about two weeks or so later. 

 

By 1932, she was making 30 cents an hour coating candy centers with chocolate.

 

H.B. Reese Candy Company; pounds of beans picked. July-August 1933.

H.B. Reese Candy Company; pounds of beans picked. July-August 1933

 

H.B. Reese’s path to success was not direct. The 1930s were filled with financial ups and downs. In summer months, when it was too hot to work with chocolate, Reese had his employees can beans and tomatoes that he had grown to generate income. Renshaw recalled her summer work at the factory:

I worked in the canning.  We snipped beans and we’d put labels on cans. That was when it was too warm and we didn’t work in the chocolate.  That they did down in the basement in the summertime.  Well, of course, when the beans came in, they had to can the beans.  We put the labels on the cans by hand. Well, then they canned tomatoes, too. Tomatoes and beans.  That was only in the summertime when it was hot. Didn’t have air-conditioning then, so it was too hot to make candy.

 

By the end of the 1930s, the H.B. Reese Candy Company was emerging as a successful candy company. One of the most popular items in its product line was the peanut butter cup. When sugar rationing was imposed during World War II, H.B. Reese made the decision to eliminate every item in the product line except for the peanut butter cup. The peanut butter filling took less sugar than most of the other Reese candy items and peanuts were readily available from southern states.

 

Customer Sales Brochure, H.B. Reese Candy Company. ca1950

Customer Sales Brochure, H.B. Reese Candy Company. ca1950

 

After the war, Reese continued to build his company based on the success of a single product: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Instead of selling the product by weight, peanut butter cups were packaged for retail sale. And every package carried the slogan: “Made in Chocolate Town, So They Must Be Good.”

 

#HersheyArchives@30

 

 

HersheyArchives@30-23 – Hershey Figure Skating Club

Milton Hershey’s letter to the Hershey Figure Skating Club thanking them for the honor of being made a member of the club. 1/22/1936

Milton Hershey’s letter to the Hershey Figure Skating Club thanking them for the honor of being made a member of the club. 1/22/1936

 

The Archives’ collections are a rich resource for understanding not just Milton Hershey and his legacy but also for the growth and development of the Hershey community. The Archives actively collections the records of local businesses and organizations to preserve the history of the community and its residents.

 

Milton Hershey took an active interest in everything that happened in his town. As  noted in last week’s blog post, when community business leaders established the Hershey Rotary Club, Mr. Hershey was made an honorary member.  Many other community groups, wishing to recognize Milton Hershey’s generosity and vision for his community, also recognized him as an honorary member.

 

Hershey Figure Skating Club members pause for a photograph in the Ice Palace. ca1934-1936

Hershey Figure Skating Club members pause for a photograph in the Ice Palace. ca1934-1936

 

Hershey’s Ice Palace opened in 1931. Ice skating and hockey quickly became very popular. By 1932, Hershey was sponsoring its own ice hockey team. Artificial ice rinks were unusual in central Pennsylvania and soon figure skaters began coming to Hershey from Lancaster, Harrisburg and Reading.

 

The idea for an established club grew out of the group’s desire to be able to rent the rink for sessions devoted to figure skating.  In November 1934, a small group of figure skaters held an organizational meeting for the Hershey Figure Skating Club . Milton Hershey was very supportive of the Hershey Figure Skating Club, providing facilities and the management support of Hershey Estates.

 

Hershey Figure Skating Club minutes, 11/14/1935

Hershey Figure Skating Club minutes, 11/14/1935

 

The following year the club formally recognized Milton Hershey’s support, making him an honorary member of the club.

 

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HersheyArchives@30:22 Service Above Self – Hershey Rotary Club

Charter for the Rotary Club of Hershey. 6/10/1943

Charter for the Rotary Club of Hershey. 6/10/1943

 

Community organizations are the lifeblood of a town. They provide residents with opportunities to meet and socialize with each other while working to enhance community life.  These groups enrich their communities while giving their members a sense of purpose and contributing to the community. The Archives actively collects the records of Hershey’s community businesses and organizations and is fortunate to hold the records of several community groups.

 

Y.M.C.A.’s Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow meets for a celebratory meal in the Hershey Café. 3/1913

Y.M.C.A.’s Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow meets for a celebratory meal in the Hershey Café. 3/1913

 

Community groups began to form shortly after the Hershey Chocolate factory began operations in 1905.  The organizations varied from the critically needed Hershey Volunteer Fire Company to the purely social Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow Club (?!).

 

Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1905.

Hershey Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1905.

 

Hershey’s community groups enhanced Hershey’s social life by creating community gatherings such as the annual Christmas tree lighting, presenting annual concerts, and organizing food and clothing collections for the less fortunate.

 

The Hershey Civic Club sponsored a variety of youth sports teams, including a junior ice hockey team.  This 1941 team included (left-right) 1st row: Irv Gonz, Bob Evans, Jack Bernard, Dick Brunner. 2nd row: Endo Corsetti, Sterling Sechrist, Bud Prowell, Herb Erdman, Dick Stover.

The Hershey Civic Club sponsored a variety of youth sports teams, including a junior ice hockey team. This 1941 team included (left-right) 1st row: Irv Gonz, Bob Evans, Jack Bernard, Dick Brunner. 2nd row: Endo Corsetti, Sterling Sechrist, Bud Prowell, Herb Erdman, Dick Stover.

 

Civic clubs in particular play an important role, working to improve neighborhoods through volunteer work by its members. During the 1930s, Hershey had a local Civic Club, which sponsored community clean-up days, organized various community celebrations, and raised money to help support other local organizations.

 

Since there was already a civic club in Hershey, initially there was little interest in starting a Rotary club, despite urging from Rotary clubs in Elizabethtown and Harrisburg. All that changed in 1943 when D. Paul Witmer, the head of Hershey Industrial School [Milton Hershey School], attended a Rotary meeting in Elizabethtown.  “Pop” Britton, manager of the Hershey Community Center and member of the Palmyra Rotary, also encouraged John B. Sollenberger, president of Hershey Estates, to consider starting a new Rotary club.  With interest from two of Hershey’s business leaders, a new Rotary club was soon in the works.  It was decided that the members of Hershey’s Civic Club would be invited to join the new Rotary club.

 

One of the Hershey Rotary Club’s first activities was to sponsor a local business expo. Pictured here are the club’s organizers. left-right: Carl Britton, Harry.N. Herr, T. Egan, Albert Schmidt, John.B. Sollenberger, Edwin Wagner, Harry Erdman, D. Paul Witmer, W. Allen Hammond.

One of the Hershey Rotary Club’s first activities was to sponsor a local business expo. Pictured here are the club’s organizers. left-right: Carl Britton, Harry.N. Herr, T. Egan, Albert Schmidt, John.B. Sollenberger, Edwin Wagner, Harry Erdman, D. Paul Witmer, W. Allen Hammond.

 

The first meeting was held June 2, 1943 in the Hershey Community Building dining room.  John B. Sollenberger was elected president, and the charter was presented to the club on June 14, 1943.

 

Leadership:

President                            John B. Sollenberger

Vice President                   Carl T. Britton

Secretary                             W. Allen Hammond

Treasurer                            D. Paul Witmer

Sargent at Arms                 Raymond H. Koch

Directors:                            Harry Erdman, Harry N. Herr, Edwin S. Wagner

 

There were 29 charter members and Milton S. Hershey was made an honorary member.  The first regular meeting was on June 21, 1943 also in the dining room of the Community Building.

 

In the beginning, the Hershey Rotary Club partnered with the Hershey Civic Club on a number of projects. The first joint project was the Cocoa Bean game, a football game pitting Milton Hershey School against Hershey’s public high school.  The competition was first held in 1943 to raise money for Memorial Field, Hershey’s local outdoor recreation center.

 

Children have always been a focus of Rotary support and beginning in 1958, the Hershey Rotary Club began an enduring program of sponsoring international student exchanges.

 

Founders Day drew the entire community together to celebrate the life and legacy of Milton Hershey. 9/12/1953

Founders Day drew the entire community together to celebrate the life and legacy of Milton Hershey. 9/12/1953

 

Hershey Rotary Club often took the lead in organizing community celebrations. In 1950, the club organized Founders Day, a day to remember Mr.Hershey.

 

The club’s biggest fund raiser, its annual auction, began in 1968. At first the entire proceeds of the auction were donated to the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company. Today, auction proceeds are shared with a wide variety of community and regional non-profit groups.

 

Today Hershey Rotary Club continues to serve the community of Hershey through its commitment to “Service Above Self.”

 

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