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HersheyArchives@30-5 Maroon and Silver

The  familiar Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper.


The maroon and silver package, sometimes described as brown and silver, is identifiable at a glance. You can imagine the many versions and proofs Milton Hershey must have considered before settling on the now iconic wrapper design; the “face” of his new brand and his new product. Yet the process of designing the wrapper was not so straightforward. Within the Archives’ collections, documentation reveals a particular set of circumstances that transpired as to why maroon and silver came to symbolize the Hershey brand.


Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. 1900

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. 1900


Milton Hershey, after years of experimentation, began marketing Hershey’s Milk Chocolate in 1900. The bar retailed for $0.05 and was wrapped in a white wrapper with gold lettering.


The wrapper featured Hershey’s two trademarks, a cow’s head enclosed in a wreath of wheat and the cocoa bean baby.  The gold lettering was similar to that used on Hershey’s earlier semi-sweet or dark chocolate products.  Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars were immediately successful and distributed nationally, but there was one problem.  The white wrapper had a tendency to become soiled and stained during the summer months as heat influenced the product.


Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper, gold and maroon. Hershey marketed bars in a variety of sizes, including a 8 ounce bar, retailing for 40 cents. 1902

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper, gold and maroon. Hershey marketed bars in a variety of sizes, including a 8 ounce bar, retailing for 40 cents. 1902


In 1902, Hershey instructed that a brown wrapper, printed with the same trademarks and lettering, should replace the problematic white wrapper.  According to Milton Hershey, “The brown color of paper was selected by me for its wearing qualities, durability, cleanliness, and not being liable to soil.”[i]


Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper, designed by Ketterlinus Lithographic Manufacturing Company. 1903



In 1903, Hershey visited Ketterlinus Lithographic Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and had an additional wrapper designed.


Hershey was not the only manufacturer of milk chocolate in the United States.  He was however, the only manufacturer to use fresh milk; other manufacturers used milk powder or condensed milk.  In 1905, the Societe Generale Suisse De Chocolats, manufacturers of Peter’s Chocolate, took notice of Hershey’s activities.


Peter's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. ca1903-1905

Peter’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. ca1903-1905



Peter’s argued that Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar wrapper was too similar to Peter’s Chocolate and caused consumer confusion and brought suit against Hershey.  A judge agreed with Peter’s and ordered Hershey to discontinue use of the wrapper.


Hershey complied with the judge’s order and to differentiate his wrapper from that of Peter’s began using silver lettering in place of the gold.


Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. 1906-1911

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrapper. 1906-1911


Peter’s continued to protest Hershey’s use of the maroon, or brown, color citing that other manufacturers began to utilize the color as well causing market saturation.[ii]  Milton Hershey was satisfied with the new wrapper design of maroon and silver and was not swayed by Peter’s arguments.


In one way, the familiar maroon and silver wrapper is the product of legal action.  Perhaps though, Milton Hershey saw the change as an unexpected improvement. Had he not been satisfied with the new design he would have returned to the Ketterlinus offices.  The experience had an additional positive impact on Milton Hershey.  It introduced him to the value of intellectual property and trademarks in the development and protection of a brand.  Hershey would recall this experience and use the lessons he learned in the future to protect his next product: Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates.


[i] Milton Hershey affidavit, 1905.  Accession 200945 Box 1 Folder 42.

[ii] Correspondence, Frederick Duncan to John Snyder, 01/21/1908.  Accession 200945 Box 1 Folder 41.


HersheyArchives@30-4 Selling the Lancaster Caramel Company

150 shares of American Caramel Company stock owned by Milton S. Hershey.

150 shares of American Caramel Company stock owned by Milton S. Hershey.


What’s the story behind this American Caramel Company stock certificate?  Milton Hershey’s caramel business was called the Lancaster Caramel Company.  So why did Milton Hershey own stock in a rival company?


The Lancaster Caramel Company dominated the United States confectionery market.  Lancaster Caramel products were distributed nationally and internationally. Even though Lancaster Caramel Company dominated the market, there were competing firms.   The American Caramel Company had been organized in 1898 following the merger of three smaller caramel businesses.  It had offices in Philadelphia and New York and its managers were very aggressive businessmen.


American Caramel felt that Lancaster Caramel was their only serious rival and the owners tried to persuade Milton Hershey to merge with them. American Caramel Company knew that a merger would allow them to control 95 per cent of the caramel market.


However, Milton Hershey was not interested in the idea of the merger. At first, American Caramel threatened to put Milton Hershey out of business, but Hershey was not intimidated.


Finally, the owners of the American Caramel Company approached Milton Hershey with an offer to buy his business. Milton Hershey responded with interest. Though caramels were a very popular confectionery product, Hershey believed that the caramel market was reaching the end of its popularity. “Caramels are just a fad,” he said.


Negotiations to sell the Lancaster Caramel Company stretched on for months. Finally, in Spring, 1900, the price was finally agreed on: Milton Hershey would sell the company for one million dollars.


John Snyder, legal counsel to Milton S. Hershey. ca.1915-1930

John Snyder, legal counsel to Milton S. Hershey. ca.1915-1930


Negotiations were not yet concluded.  The matter of how the price would be paid needed to be resolved.  Milton Hershey’s representative, his lawyer John Snyder, wanted an all cash transaction. Daniel Lafean, the American Caramel Company representative, had other ideas.


Throughout the spring, representatives of the two companies held negotiations.


Our knowledge of the negotiations comes from a 1955 oral history interview with John Myers, who was the stenographer during the talks. John Myers related:


The negotiations took place in Mr. Snyder’s office, 120 East King Street [Lancaster, PA]. There were present Mr. Hershey, and John Snyder; representing the other people was Congressman Lafean of York [PA] and a representative of the Providence Trust Company of Providence, Rhode Island.

                The first offer of the [American Caramel Company] people was $500,000 in cash and an equal amount in stock.  The agreed on price was a million dollars. The price was understood.  I know. I was there. I was the stenographer.

                The second offer was $750,000 in cash and $250,000 in stock.

                The third offer was $900,000 in cash and $100,000 in stock.

                Hershey had left it to Mr. Snyder because he trusted him with anything at all. But when Snyder refused that last offer, Mr. Hershey became quite angry.


Milton Hershey wanted to sell and he felt that $900,000 cash and $100,000 in stock was a good offer. He didn’t want the American Caramel Company to pull out at this point. And he also wanted to keep the good will of Lafean whose company might very well be customers in buying Hershey Chocolate coatings for their caramels. However, he knew that Snyder had set his heart on receiving one million dollars in cash and he wanted somehow to save Snyder’s pride.


So the discussion between Milton Hershey and his lawyer lasted a long time and when it was over Snyder had his way. Lafean’s third offer was refused, and the American Caramel Company agreed to pay cash for the full amount.


150 shares of American Caramel Company stock owned by Milton S. Hershey.  Sold 10/4/1900

150 shares of American Caramel Company stock owned by Milton S. Hershey. Sold 10/4/1900


But although it appeared that Hershey and John Snyder had driven a hard bargain, it was not Hershey’s way to let his opponents feel that they had been taken advantage of. Quietly, he agreed that after the one million dollar check had been handed him, he would spend a large part of it to purchase American Caramel Company stocks and bonds.


The sale of the Lancaster Caramel Company was finally completed on August 10, 1900. Milton Hershey surrendered the factory, the machinery, the stock in hand, his formulas, and the “Crystal A” trademark. He also agreed not to make caramels in Lancaster. But he retained the ownership of the Hershey Chocolate Company and he kept all his chocolate-making machinery. He also rented a wing of the caramel factory from the new owners in which he continued to make chocolate.


On October 10, 1900, Milton Hershey sold 150 shares of his American Caramel Company stock to Weeden & Co.

Reverse side of stock certificate. On October 10, 1900, Milton Hershey sold 150 shares of his American Caramel Company stock to Weeden & Co.


While Milton Hershey agreed to purchase American Caramel Company stock with sale monies, he had no intention of keeping the stock as a long term investment.  He directed John Snyder to sell the American Caramel stock as soon as was prudent.  Just a few months later, the first of Milton Hershey’s American Caramel Company stock was sold.*


*It turned out Milton Hershey was right in his assessment of the future of caramels in the confectionery market.  By the 1920s, the American Caramel Company was faltering and a few years later collapsed in bankruptcy.

HersheyArchives@30-3 “I am going to make chocolate.”


Milton Hershey ordered four pieces of equipment from the J.M. Lehmann Company's New York office. January 11, 1894

Milton Hershey ordered four pieces of equipment from the J.M. Lehmann Company’s New York office. January 11, 1894


Milton Hershey made his fortune with caramels but he made history with chocolate. In 1893, while attending the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Hershey told Frank Snavely, “Caramels are a fad but chocolate is permanent. I am going to make chocolate.”


Milton Hershey was a reader of newspapers and an astute businessman. The increasing demand for chocolate in the United States would not have escaped his notice. In 1883, the United States imported 9,000,000 pounds of cocoa beans; in 1893, 24,000,000 pounds.


After examining the J. M. Lehmann exhibit of chocolate making machinery at Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition, Hershey made up his mind to invest in chocolate. After the exposition closed, two pieces of Lehmann machinery from the exhibit were shipped to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This document, an order for additional chocolate making machinery, details Hershey’s subsequent purchases and signifies the beginning of Hershey manufacturing chocolate in 1894.


The principal machines required to manufacture chocolate are roasters, hullers, mills to crush the beans, melangeurs (chocolate grinding machine) to mix the chocolate paste and sugar, cocoa butter presses to separate cocoa butter from cocoa solids, and steel rollers to refine the chocolate. Having acquired the melangeur and steel roller from the exhibit at the exposition, this purchase of equipment fulfilled Hershey’s needs. By 1895, the Hershey Chocolate Company was producing cocoa and semi-sweet or dark chocolate for retail sale.


Catalog; page 4. Image of a J.M. Lehmann Roasting Machine; Roaster; Catalog; J.M. Lehmann Dresden-Loebtau, 1902 edition

Catalog; page 4. Image of a J.M. Lehmann Roasting Machine; Roaster; Catalog; J.M. Lehmann Dresden-Loebtau, 1902 edition


When Hershey decided to make chocolate, he committed to the idea fully. Comparing the invoice found at the top of this story to a slightly newer (1902) J. M. Lehmann catalog indicates Hershey purchased machinery capable of producing large quantities of chocolate. The purchased roaster had a capacity of 9oo pounds. The local newspaper reported that Hershey’s melangeur was the second-largest in the United States, second only to one used by Walter Baker & Company. From the start, Hershey intended to transform and dominate the chocolate market in the United States.

HersheyArchives@30 – 1 Where would we be without family?

This is part of a series celebrating the 30th anniversary of Hershey Community Archives by highlighting 30 items from the collection.


Letter: Milton Hershey to his Uncle Abraham Snavely, 1/13/1882

Letter: Milton Hershey to his Uncle Abraham Snavely, 1/13/1882


While Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is an iconic symbol of the United States, its creator, Milton Hershey, is less well-known.  And even if you know that Milton Hershey built a town and funded a school for disadvantaged children with the profits from that chocolate bar, you may not know that Milton Hershey came by his success the hard way:  he tried and failed and tried again until he achieved success.


It is very easy to overlook or dismiss the years of struggle when someone like Milton Hershey ultimately achieves such tremendous success.  Fortunately, the Archives holds evidence of his struggles and his early failures.  These artifacts help us to better understand Milton Hershey and the events that shaped him.


Milton Hershey's first business card.  ca.1876

Milton Hershey’s first business card. ca.1876


Milton Hershey opened his first confectionery shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1876. He was 18 years old. The business got off to a good start, sales buoyed by the crowds who flocked to Philadelphia to visit the Centennial Exposition.


Business grew and a few years later, needing more space, Milton Hershey moved his shop down the street to larger quarters at 925 & 927 Spring Garden Street and operated a wholesale business from 532 Linden Street (just around the corner). But by 1880 the business was beginning to falter.


The Archives holds several  letters from Milton Hershey to his Uncle Abraham Snavely that were written over the between December 1880 and January 1882.  Each letter is much like the same, pleas for loans of money or requests for patience because Milton Hershey has not repaid the previous loans.  The Archives does not hold any letters from Uncle Abraham.  We can imagine that as Milton Hershey continued to beg for more and more financial support, Abraham became exasperated and disillusioned with his nephew.  Milton’s last letters to his Uncle indicate that Abraham Snavely was dragging his feet (and wallet) about sending any more money.


The last letter in the Archives’ collection suggests just how desperate Milton Hershey had become.


Letter: Milton Hershey to his Uncle Christian Snavely, 1/13/1882

Letter: Milton Hershey to his Uncle Christian Snavely, 1/13/1882




Office of




 Sole Manufacturer of the Celebrated H.H. Cough Drops

 1217 TO 1225 BEACH ST.,


                                                                                                              Philadelphia, Jan 13, 1882

Dear Uncle

You letter of the 12 inst

at hand , and I canot do anny longer than

Tuesday 17th or aunt Martha will have to come

up so do try to save her the trouble as she wishes

to stay a few weeks longer I Paid the note of

wisemans & Mcgill but it made me so short I can

[n]ot Pay my Bills. And Martha would of come up

then but she thought You would do this much for the

last time. So do Possitively send it by

Tuesday 17inst if I would of [if I] not had father

to Pay the 350.00 I would not of had to trouble

You or Martha and she was Perfectly willing

that I got Clear of him and I feel better my-


Your Truly,


Aunt Martha wish to [k]now if you Recd that

Pacye of h?? Tr J.Ohoh at Lancaster


The letter’s reference to having to pay his father reveals another layer to Milton Hershey’s financial struggles. Henry Hershey had arrived to “help” his son in in late 1880. Full of ideas and vision, Henry designed a candy display cabinet (pictured on Milton Hershey’s stationery letterhead) that Henry was certain would benefit his son’s business.


Milton’s mother and his Aunt Mattie were not pleased with Henry Hershey’s involvement with the business. The women viewed him as a distraction and a disruption. They urged Milton to pay his father for the candy cabinet so that his father would leave Philadelphia. Yet Milton didn’t have enough money to invest in another venture.  While he agreed to pay his father, that payment was the final blow to Milton Hershey’s first candy business.


After struggling for six years to make his first business a success, Milton Hershey closed his shop in the spring of 1882. While the end of this business was not a happy conclusion, Milton Hershey learned many lessons about supply and demand, credit, cash flow and the importance of limiting your product line. These were all lessons that he would put to use more profitably in future business ventures.







Archivesat30 headerl


2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the Hershey Community Archives.  It’s a personal anniversary for me as well.  On February 2, 2015, I arrived in Hershey to start my first day of work creating an archives for the corporations and community of Hershey.  I remember feeling pretty overwhelmed by this challenge to start an archives from scratch.  I was young, just a couple years out of graduate school, and with limited experience.


I didn’t know much about the history of this community.  As records were collected, I was also building a knowledge base about Milton Hershey and his sizable legacy.  Because so little had been written about Hershey, much of what I learned about Hershey came from studying the documents I was charged with organizing and preserving.


Today the Hershey Community Archives’ collections occupies over 6,000 cubic feet of shelf space.  Our collections contain business records, packaging samples, photographs, maps, plans, film, various video formats, slides, oral histories and a growing collection of electronic records. It is a rich resource for understanding Milton Hershey and the history of everything he established.


In recognition of the Archives’ 30th anniversary, we will be highlighting 30 items from the collections that help us tell important stories of Hershey’s past.  They’ll be posted throughout the year.


I’ve also spent some time compiling a timeline of the Archives’ history.  The timeline highlights significant moments in the Archives’ growth and evolution.  You can see the timeline here.


If at first you don’t succeed, try a new name

Hershey Chocolate used point of purchase placards to market its products in stores. 1933-1936

Hershey Chocolate used point of purchase placards to market its products in stores. 1933-1936


While Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is the United States most iconic confectionery product, not all Hershey products have been so successful.  Sometimes when Hershey introduced a new product, the company was not satisfied with its sales and quickly removed the product from production.  Other times, Hershey continued to market the product, tweaking the recipe, the packaging and even the name.


In 1927, Hershey Chocolate introduced Hershey’s Honey bar.  The bulletin distributed to the sales force announced the product this way:

 Bulletin No. 9 February 22, 1927

Within the current week Hershey Chocolate Company will go into big production of Hershey’s 5-cent HONEY BAR.  We use those descriptive words in alluding to this new bar because the principal ingredients beig sweet milk chocolate, borken almonds, and broken honey nugget, the prinitng on the labels emphasizes the words “HERSHEY’S” and “HONEY” in this manner:

“HERSHEY’S Sweet Milk Chocolate with Almonds and HONEY”


Hershey's HONEY bar. 1927-1930

Hershey’s HONEY bar. 1927-1930


In spite of what I am sure were the company’s best efforts to distribute and market the new candy bar, the product faltered.  Instead of giving up, however, Hershey sought to improve its marketing efforts tweaking the name, so that it would be clear that this was a candy bar.


Hershey's HONEYBAR, 1930-1935

Hershey’s HONEYBAR, 1930-1935


And yet the sales remained sluggish.  Though the “Hershey’s” name was prominent on the package, perhaps the yellow wrapper did not encourage consumers to recognize that this was a Hershey product. So in 1935, Hershey again renamed the product “Hershey’s Honey-Almond Milk Chocolate” and redesigned the wrapper to make it more obviously a Hershey product.


Hershey's Honey-Almond Milk Chocolate. 1935-8/1939

Hershey’s Honey-Almond Milk Chocolate. 1935-8/1939


And still product sales lagged.  Maybe no one knew what honey-almond milk chocolate tasted like?


So Hershey tried one more time, reintroducing the product in 1939 as Hershey’s Nougat-Almond bar.


Point of purchase advertising placard for Hershey's Nougat-Almond Milk Chocolate. 1939-1941

Point of purchase advertising placard for Hershey’s Nougat-Almond Milk Chocolate. 1939-1941


With this new name, Hershey replaced the familiar maroon and silver packaging with blue and white. To promote the product, Hershey’s Nougat-Almond bars were one of the five products included in Hershey’s Miniatures (the other products were milk chocolate, Mr. Goodbar, Krackel, and Bitter-Sweet) when it was introduced in 1939.


Hershey’s Nougat-Almond bars were discontinued in 1942, as part of Hershey’s product line consolidation in response to wartime restrictions.

Looking back: Hershey Chocolate products

In-store advertising placard for Hershey's Chocolate.  1955

In-store advertising placard for Hershey’s Chocolate. 1955


Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is one of the great iconic American products.  Introduced in 1900, it has delighted generations of candy lovers.


Not all products are so successful. This week’s blog post takes a look at some of Hershey’s less successful products that were introduced with high hopes, only to be discontinued a few years (or months!) later because the public didn’t embrace the new confection, or manufacturing costs were too high or the product turned out to have some other challenge.


During the 1930s, Hershey Chocolate introduced a number of new products, including Krackel, Not-So-Sweet (a forerunner of Hershey’s Special Dark) and Hershey’s Miniatures.  Other products were not so successful.


Hershey's Mild and Mellow milk chocolate bar was introduced in January 1934.

Hershey’s Mild and Mellow milk chocolate bar was introduced in January 1934.


Hershey’s Mild and Mellow milk chocolate was introduced in early 1934. Developed to appeal to people who enjoyed a more milky, European style chocolate, it remained in production until the end of 1941. The United States’ entry in to World War II and Hershey’s need to reduce its product line because of sugar rationing forced the elimination of the Mild and Mellow bar. It was not reintroduced after the end of the war. However, in 1989 Hershey Chocolate introduced Hershey’s Symphony. The new product featured a milder, more milky style of milk chocolate. Twenty-five years later,  Hershey’s Symphony milk chocolate is an important part of the company’s product line.


During the 1930s, Hershey Chocolate Corporation experimented with a partnership with the British confectionery firm, Rowntree.  In 1934 Hershey acquired the right to manufacture and market a new Rowntree products:  the Aero bar.


Hershey Chocolate acquired the rights to manufacture and market the Aero bar in the United States from the Rowntree Company.

Hershey Chocolate acquired the rights to manufacture and market the Aero bar in the United States from the Rowntree Company.


Unfortunately, manufacturing the Aero bar was not easy. It involved placing the still liquid chocolate bars into a chamber where the air could be vacuumed out. The process caused the chocolate to form tiny air bubbles that gave the bar its characteristic wafer appearance. Too many problems with manufacturing and not enough sales resulted in the bar being discontinued in May 1939.


In 1938 Hershey again entered an agreeement with Rowntree to produce and market another bar: the Biscrisp bar.


Hershey's Biscrisp bars were introduced in 1938.

Hershey’s Biscrisp bars were introduced in 1938.


The Biscrisp bar also presented several manufacturing challenges for Hershey. It was difficult to make the wafers that were enrobed by chocolate. American wheat flour is different than British flour and that affected the quality of the wafers. Even though Americans loved the product, it was discontinued the following year.


If the image of the Biscrisp bar looks familiar, that is because, in England, the bar was called Kit Kat.  In 1969, Hershey again entered into a licensing agreement with Rowntree (now Rowntree Macintosh, Ltd.) to manufacture and market the candy bar. This time, Rowntree supplied technical support to help Hershey learn the intricacies of wafer baking and bar production. Today Hershey’s Kit Kat bar continue to be a popular confection in the company’s product line.

It Can Be Done: Milton Hershey and the Edgar Guest Show

In Hershey, we like to think that all roads lead to our special town. And it is pretty amazing the people who show up here. And if they don’t show up here, they want Hershey to come to them.


Correspondence regarding unused Travelers Cheques in the name of M.S. Hall.  11/15/1945

Correspondence regarding unused Travelers Cheques in the name of M.S. Hall. 11/15/1945


Milton Hershey was not someone to seek the limelight.  In fact, at times he traveled under an assumed name, just to avoid attention. But, at times, he was enticed to share his life and success with others, if only to promote awareness of his home and school for orphan boys.


Edgar Guest, host of the "It Can Be Done" radio show.

Edgar Guest, host of the “It Can Be Done” radio show.


Edgar A. Guest was one of the most popular verse writers in early 20th century America. Born in England, Guest was a naturalized citizen who spoke on the air with an accent cultivated from the heartland of America. He was unpretentious and projected a “down home” appeal, and Americans rewarded him with commercial success.


During his years on the radio, Edgar Guest presented several different shows. Musical Memories, his earliest series, was 30 minutes of music, readings, and drama. His next show, Welcome Valley, was straight drama. His show featured a distinguished cast that included many who were already or would become radio stars.


His next show, It Can Be Done, was a dramatic departure from the previous formats. Edgar Guest as host, the time-slot, and the sponsor remained, but almost everything else about the show was changed.


It Can Be Done featured inspirational stories and interviews with people who had triumphed in their chosen fields despite hardship and adversity.


Milton Hershey, seated in his apartment living room in High Point. 5/1937

Milton Hershey, seated in his apartment living room in High Point. 5/1937


Milton Hershey was a natural subject for such a show. On June 8, 1938, Milton Hershey traveled to Chicago to be the focus of that night’s episode of It Can Be Done. The episode opened with a dramatization of Milton Hershey’s life, with its financial struggles and ultimate success. The last portion of the show featured an interview with Milton Hershey himself.  Milton Hershey answered questions with prepared answers. The interview focused on the work of the Hershey Industrial School (Milton Hershey School) and lauded Milton Hershey’s achievements.


While the content of the interview doesn’t offer much new, in terms of information, it is a rare opportunity to actually hear Milton Hershey’s voice. You can listen to an excerpt from the interview for yourself.



Want to know more? The partial transcript of the interview can be found here. The full transcript is available at the Archives.


Making a difference: Hershey Optimist Club

Hershey is fortunate to have several service organizations. While clubs have come and gone, they all exist to provide opportunities for individuals to make a difference in their community.


Hershey YMCA and the Busy Men's Doggy Bow-Wow at a dinner held at the Hershey Cafe. 3/1913

Hershey YMCA and the Busy Men’s Doggy Bow-Wow at a dinner held at the Hershey Cafe. 3/1913


The Archives is fortunate to have the records of a number of different service organizations that have operated in Hershey. Some are still going strong, while others have passed away.  To learn more about the community collections held by the Archives, follow this link.


Hershey Optimist Club members practice for an upcoming event at the Little Theater in the Community Building. ca1962-1963

Hershey Optimist Club members practice for an upcoming event at the Little Theater in the Community Building. ca1962-1963


The Hershey Optimist Club was founded in 1954, when it was sponsored by the Lebanon Optimist Club. An initial organizational dinner was held on May 5, 1954 with 13 prospective members in attendance. On May 19, 16 charter members attended the organizational meeting and elected officers.  By the time the charter closed on June 2, Hershey Optimist Club had 40 members. The Club held its Charter Party on September 25, 1954 at the Hershey Park Golf Club.  Regular meetings thereafter were held in the Community Building dining room.


Junior hockey team sponsored by the Hershey Optimist Club.  Coach Arnie Kullman is pictured on right. ca1960-1970

Junior hockey team sponsored by the Hershey Optimist Club. Coach Arnie Kullman is pictured on right. ca1960-1970


The Club has always focused its efforts towards helping and supporting the youth of the community. During its long years of operation, the Hershey Optimist Club sponsored youth athletic teams and programs promoting safety, education, respect for the law, and civic duty in Hershey’s youth. Over the years, Hershey Optimists sponsored a variety of programs including Bike Safety Week, the Oratorical Contest, the Respect for Law program, Boys Work projects, and Youth Appreciation Week.


In recent years the Hershey Optimist Club struggled to attract new members. In 2007 the club’s charter was revoked and the chapter was officially closed.


The Hershey Idea

Milton Hershey envisioned building a community in which all the parts were interwoven.  He built a model town for the workers of chocolate factory AND the workers in the businesses he established to provide services to make the town an attractive and functional place to live.


His desire to share his approach to business was communicated in recurring articles in the local weekly newspaper, The Hershey Press


Hershey's Progressive Weekly, July 10, 1913.  page 10

Hershey’s Progressive Weekly, July 10, 1913. page 10


For a short while, Milton Hershey even considered publishing a monthly magazine, to be titled, “The Hershey Idea.” Plans for the magazine were laid out in a full page ad that appeared in the Hershey Press.


The magazine promised to “attach the oppressions of dishonest Capitalism and the unjust assaults of Labor upon Capital. . .” It would include political and economic news in an “absolutely unbiased and judicial manner.”  It would also have a short story section.  The advertisement noted that the magazine’s first issue would be published in September 1913.


We don’t know why, but the magazine never materialized.


However, “The Hershey Idea” continued as an important philosophy of how Milton Hershey conducted business.


Team Work Sells the Hershey Idea.  Memo issued to all Hershey employees.  1938

Team Work Sells the Hershey Idea. Memo issued to all Hershey employees. 1938


The 1938 memo outlined Milton Hershey’s vision for his community and how he hoped all the different businesses would recognize that they were part of a larger whole.  What is fascinating about the memo today is that it continues to reflect how Milton Hershey’s businesses continue to try to work together for the benefit of consumers and visitors to the town today.


The text of the memo follows:



     Visitors coming to Hershey should readily be sold on the HERSHEY IDEA as our facilities and attractions are not to be excelled.

      The public and our customers regard all our enterprises as one institution. This places a real responsibility on all enterprises alike because any lack of courtesy or efficiency in any one enterprise almost certainly reflects into every other enterprise in the customers mind and patronage. This applies impressively to customers and residents of Hershey.

     This element means greatly accumulated results for good or bad. Any customer lost by one enterprise for any reason of times produces a total loss of patronage for all other enterprises of the whole institution.

     We must depend almost entirely for creating the proper atmosphere by real efficient service and the co-operation of all enterprises.

Signed M.S. Hershey


A Neat Folder.
This can be made effective if you will sign and distribute to every clerk in the Hershey Department Store, down the line, including the Hershey National Bank.