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HersheyArchives@30-9: Hershey Zoo: From Angora Goats to Zebus

Pages from Hershey Improvement Company, Transfer Ledger #1. ca1906-1916

Pages from Hershey Improvement Company, Transfer Ledger #1. ca1906-1916

 

Within five years of Hershey Park’s official opening additional attractions were introduced in the Park to supplement and enhance the guest experience.   An amphitheatre, bandstand, dance hall, photograph gallery, and bowling alley were part of the Park’s expansion; and in 1910, Hershey Zoo.

 

Postcard: Herd of Zebus graze in Hershey Zoo.  ca1915

Postcard: Herd of Zebus graze in Hershey Zoo. ca1915

 

Franz and Louise Zinner, who moved to Lebanon, Pennsylvania from Heisenberg, Germany in 1899, persuaded Milton Hershey to open the Zoo as a community and visitor attraction.  Franz had at one time worked with Carl Hagenbeck, a German collector and trainer of exotic animals, who later founded a privately-owned zoo in Hamburg, Germany.  Aware of Franz’s interest in animals, friends of the Zinners who had moved to the western United States, shipped them twelve prairie dogs.  Unable to keep them in their backyard, Franz Zinner contacted Milton Hershey about keeping the prairie dogs as a park attraction.  The two men eventually decided to open a zoo, and Zinner and his family soon moved to Hershey to oversee the facility.

 

Prairie dogs are entertaining but they are a burrowing rodent and spend part of their lives out of view and underground.   Just as Hershey Park expanded to offer a variety of attractions, Hershey Zoo needed to acquire additional animals.

 

Detail of Hershey Improvement Company Transfer Ledger, #1. ca1906-1916

Detail of Hershey Improvement Company Transfer Ledger, #1. ca1906-1916

 

A ledger in the Archives’ collection details the first menagerie acquired for the Zoo.  Wenz & Mackensen was a firm based in Yardley, Pennsylvania that specialized in selling birds but at times dealt in more exotic animals.  Wenz & Mackensen supplied the Zoo with bears, zebus, angora goats, and pheasants.  Zinner supplied prairie dogs and H.E. Cudney, a New Jersey dealer, supplied deer.  By the 4th of July holiday in 1910, the Zoo was a featured attraction.

 

The weekly newspaper, the Hershey Press, promoted the zoo in its advertisement for the Hershey Park's July 4th celebration. 6/24/1910

The weekly newspaper, the Hershey Press, promoted the zoo in its advertisement for the Hershey Park’s July 4th celebration. 6/24/1910

 

The Zoo continued to expand over the years with animals that ranged from the mundane to the exotic.  By 1940, the Zoo covered forty acres and contained individual houses for primates, carnivores, small mammals, antelopes, tropical birds, pheasants, and fish as well as outdoor cages and enclosures.

 

In the era before television, zoos played an important role educating the public about unfamiliar animals and environments.  Hershey Zoo was the first attraction Milton Hershey introduced to the community that exposed residents and visitors to opportunities and experiences outside of those normally available in a rural Pennsylvania community.  Many more would follow.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

HersheyArchives@30-8 DESTINATION: Hershey, PA

Throughout its history, Hershey has been a well-known destination for entertainment.

 

Each summer,crowds of people traveled to Hershey to enjoy its many amenities. 1915

Each summer,crowds of people traveled to Hershey to enjoy its many amenities. 1915

 

After the Hershey Chocolate Factory opened in 1905, the town soon emerged as a popular regional destination. Visitors came to explore the model town and enjoy Hershey Park and its growing number of amenities.

 

In 1914, Hershey’s weekly newspaper, The Hershey Press, announced that a convention hall was going to be erected in Hershey Park. In developing plans for the hall, Milton Hershey was inspired by a well-known assembly hall in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and sent his builder, James K. Putt, to visit the structure to learn more about it and what might be incorporated in the Hershey building.

 

Convention Hall, longitudinal section.  Architect: C. Emlen Urban. 1/8/1915

Convention Hall, longitudinal section. Architect: C. Emlen Urban. 1/8/1915

 

The new facility was built specifically to attract large events and big crowds to Hershey.  Its first function was the Triennial Convention of the Brethren Church.  Milton Hershey was very interested in hosting this major event and promised the meeting planners that the Convention Hall would be completed in time for their conference scheduled for June 1915.  Construction began in March 1915.

 

Brethren gather to meet in Hershey's Convention Hall. 6/1915

Brethren gather to meet in Hershey’s Convention Hall. 6/1915

Hershey Convention Hall ready for its first meeting.  Note that the ceiling has not yet been plastered.  6/1915

Hershey Convention Hall ready for its first meeting. Note that the ceiling has not yet been plastered. 6/1915

 

The building was dedicated on Memorial Day weekend, May 30, 1915.  Hershey Park opened for the season the following day, Memorial Day (Monday, May 31).  The dedication program included a 40 piece band, the combined church choirs of Hershey, several vocal and instrumental soloists, as well as several speakers.

 

The Convention Hall was not simply a large assembly hall.  Milton Hershey’s plans for the building incorporated many of his goals and vision for his community.  The Hershey Press carried this announcement about the building’s dedication in its June 3, 1915 issue:

 

Dedication

Hershey Convention Hall is dedicated to the service of the people.  May they meet often within its walls and by their proceedings and discussions find wisdom.  May they listen to words that will guide them in the paths of peace and righteousness.  May they hear music that will uplift them.  May they gather the products of their fields and factories and stimulate one another to higher achievements in agriculture, manufacture, commerce and the arts.  May they learn more of the great principles of consolidation and co-operation.  May they be imbued with the spirit of brotherhood, of courtesy and of helpfulness.  May the services on Memorial Day exalting the patriotism of our heroes be a true dedication of this Hall to the welfare of a free people, the cause of liberty, the love of the Flag and the glory of God.

 

The Convention Hall hosted a variety of musical and theatrical performers. ca1915-1920

The Convention Hall hosted a variety of musical and theatrical performers. ca1915-1920

 

True to Milton Hershey’s vision, the 1915 addition of the Convention Hall transformed Hershey, Pennsylvania into a destination capable of hosting large conventions and national performers. The Convention Hall quickly became a popular destination for both nationally celebrated performers and as a meeting venue for large organizations. The building would host a variety of events over its years of service including concerts by New York Metropolitan Opera singers, the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, the Sistine Chapel Choir during its first American tour, and nationally recognized marching bands.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

Hershey Archives@30-7 To Build a Town – Step One: houses

Plan 'A' Trinidad Avenue, ca1903

Plan ‘A’ Trinidad Avenue, ca1903

 

Visitors to Hershey today are often impressed by the community’s well-kept homes with tidy green lawns and sidewalks.  Building attractive and comfortable homes for his workers was part of Milton Hershey’s vision for his model industrial town.

 

Cocoa Avenue, ca1920

Cocoa Avenue, ca1920

 

26 E. Areba Avenue, 1912

26 E. Areba Avenue, 1912

 

Most of Hershey’s residential area is located on the south side of Chocolate Avenue.  The layout for these streets and lots can be seen on this 1903 map.

 

However, when Milton Hershey first started building his model town, the first homes were not built there.

 

Aerial view of Derry Church, looking north.  Note location of Derry Presbyterian Church in right hand corner. ca1924

Aerial view of Derry Church, looking north. Note location of Derry Presbyterian Church in right hand corner. ca1924

 

When Milton Hershey broke ground for his chocolate factory in March 1903, he was building in the midst of farm fields and dairy pasture. He planned to build a town from scratch. Fortunately, the area that Milton Hershey selected to build his chocolate factory and model town was next to the small community of Derry Church.  Though small, Derry Church included a tavern, post office, railroad station, a Presbyterian Church, a grain mill, a few small businesses and a number of houses, all located along Derry Road.

 

Haefner House tavern, Derry Church, PA. ca1910

Haefner House tavern, Derry Church, PA. ca1910

 

Some of Hershey’s first construction workers found lodging in Derry Church and the tavern was a popular destination after work.

 

Map of Milton Hershey's land acquisitions, ca1903. Detail showing Trinidad Avenue

Map of Milton Hershey’s land acquisitions, ca1903. Detail showing Trinidad Avenue

 

Since Hershey, the town, was more of an idea than a reality in 1903, it probably made sense to build new housing for his workers adjacent to the existing town of Derry Church.

 

Topographical map of future Trinidad Avenue housing construction, 7/1903

Topographical map of future Trinidad Avenue housing construction, 7/1903

 

In July 1903, a piece of land located north of the future chocolate factory and adjacent to Derry Church was surveyed. Building lots for new worker homes were located on the rolling terrain. Soon ground was broken for 25 new homes.  Like future residential streets that would be constructed on the south side of Chocolate Avenue, this new residential street was named Trinidad Avenue, in  honor of one of the cacao growing regions in the world.

 

Trinidad Avenue, ca1906

Trinidad Avenue, ca1906

 

These houses were completed by the end of 1904, in time for the start-up of the chocolate factory. The Trinidad houses were built using two different floor plans and featured small front yards and porches.  The repetitive designs of the houses displeased Milton Hershey.  When the next houses were constructed, he made sure that the homes featured more architectural variety.

 

Though Milton Hershey owned other land on the north side of the railroad tracks, these were the only houses that would be built in that location. In 1905, house construction shifted to the south side of Chocolate Avenue as workers began building homes on Caracas, Granada, Cocoa and Chocolate Avenues.

HersheyArchives@30-6 Planning a town

By the late 1890s, Milton Hershey was convinced that his future lay in producing chocolate rather than caramels. In 1900, the same year Hershey introduced Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, he sold his Lancaster Caramel Company to competitors for $1 million to devote all his energies to his quickly expanding chocolate business.

 

Derry Township farm land, ca1900

Derry Township farm land, ca1900

 

By 1902 it was obvious that a new, larger factory was needed to produce milk chocolate.  After inspecting possible sites for his new chocolate factory in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, Hershey was soon convinced that the central Pennsylvania countryside would provide everything he needed for a factory: a plentiful water supply, access to rail lines, fresh milk and industrious workers.

 

Since Hershey planned to build his factory in the middle of farmland, not in a town, it was clear from the start that he would have to provide a place for at least some of his workers, as well as his managerial staff, to live.

 

In 1902, working with a real estate broker, Milton Hershey began acquiring land in Derry Township.

 

 

Map of Milton Hershey's land purchases in Derry Township, ca1903-1904

Map of Milton Hershey’s land purchases in Derry Township, ca1903-1904

 

 

By the time Hershey broke ground for his new chocolate factory in 1903, he had acquired over 1200 acres of land in Derry Township and the surrounding area. Clearly, Milton Hershey had bigger plans than simply building a chocolate factory.

 

The Archives is fortunate to hold this hand-drawn map in its collections.  Individual land purchases are identified by a colored outline. It is apparent that Hershey made several different land acquisitions that were pieced together to form a significant land mass.

 

Superimposed on the map’s outline of land purchases is a pen and ink drawing that reveals the outlines of the future town of Hershey, Pennsylvania.

 

Detail of map of Milton Hershey's land purchases and proposed layout of new community. ca1903

Detail of map of Milton Hershey’s land purchases and proposed layout of new community. ca1903

 

 

A closer look reveals the location of the new chocolate factory, residential streets, a car barn for the new trolley system and trolley tracks, a new schoolhouse and the location for a new building on the north side of the Berks & Dauphin Turnpike. Proposed street names have been recorded in pencil:  Chocolate Avenue for the Turnpike, Cocoa Avenue for a main street coming from the south.  Streets for the residential area will carry names of cocoa growing regions: Ceylon, Caracas, Granada, Trinidad.

 

Milton Hershey’s vision and desire to build a model industrial new town, as revealed with this map, are confirmed with articles that were published locally and in business trade journals.

 

On February 19, 1903, the Harrisburg Independent published an article describing Milton Hershey’s plans:

 

“A New Town Near Derry Church to Cost a Million”

“To Be Built By M.S. Hershey the Chocolate Man”

“Is Leaving His Lancaster Plant and Will Build Up

a Modern Laboring Community

for Benefit of 600 Employees”

 

                A new town which will have a population of 1500 will be built midway between Derry Church and Swatara, this county, along the line of the Philadelphia and Reading railway, by M.S. Hershey, the Lancaster chocolate manufacturer, who has large manufacturing interests in various parts of the State.

                He has already begun work there on the erection of a new factory, which will employ 600 men, to supersede the plant at Lancaster, and his purpose in building the new town is to form a modern dwelling community for his employees and their families.  Mr. Hershey has planned an expenditure of $1,000,000 to further his enterprise.

                                                                . . .

               The town will be laid out along plans of modern manufacturing communities which are now springing up, all over this country, patterned after those in England.  It will contain grass plots for pleasure parks in which there will be fountains and stone walks.  The street will be made of crushed stone taken from the quarries and stone crushing machinery has already been installed. 

 

 

The factory would be completed in 1905 and the town would develop along the lines revealed in the map.

 

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

 

[Transcript]

ESTABLISHED IN 1876

Office of

MILTON S. HERSHEY

MANUFACTURE OF

SPECIALTIES IN FINE CONFECTIONS

 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-

self,

Your Truly,

MSHershey

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.

 

#HersheyArchives@30

 

 

 

HersheyArchives@30

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.

#HersheyArchives@30

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.