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Archive for April, 2012

Getting started: Hershey Trust Company

 How do we know what we know about the past?  Historians, researchers and students study the materials cared for in an archives to learn more about the past.  Photographs, newspapers, business reports, and other documents provide clues.  When pieced together, the history of a time or organization emerges.  The more clues, the fuller our understanding of the past.

 

While today the main focus of the Hershey Trust Company  is managing the Milton Hershey School trust fund, that was not its original purpose.  At the Hershey Community Archives, there are a variety of documents that can help us understand the early history of this business.

 

Documents such as the Hershey Trust Company’s by-laws:

 

 

 

 

htc-by-laws-trust001b105f12-2thb

Pamphlet: Hershey Trust Company By-Laws. April 27. 1905

 

 

 

 

 offer information about the legal organization of the new business as well as its established operating hours: 

 

ARTICLE XV

Hours of Business.

The Hershey Trust Company shall be open for              

 the transaction of business every day from 9 o’clock

a.m. to 3 o’clock p.m., except Sundays and legal           

holidays.                                                                                                     

 

Other documents in the Archives’ collections provide information about its funding, financial transactions and annual audits of its assets.  The Archives collection includes ledgers and cash books, annual statements and a variety of emphera that helps us understand how Hershey Trust Company servied the public.  For example, a pamphlet printed by the Trust Company provide information about its early operations:

 

 

 

Pamphlet:  Hershey Trust Company announcement of its new location.  September 30, 1905

Pamphlet: Hershey Trust Company announcement of its new location. September 30, 1905

 

 

 

This pamphlet was created to announce its move to a new location (Cocoa House).  Included in its pages is a list of the Hershey Trust Company functions:

 

                             POWERS OF THE COMPANY

Receives money on deposit, subject to check.

Issues time certificates of deposit for money left

with the Company for six months or longer, on which

interest will be paid at the rate of three per cent, per annum.

 

Acts as executor, administrator, trustee, guardian,

assignee, receiver, and buys and sells securities suitable

for trust estates.

 

Collects incomes and rents, and takes general

charge of real and personal estate.

 

Buys and sells notes, bonds, mortgages, commercial

paper and approved securities.

 

Acts as financial agent fo individuals and corporations.

 

Loans money on mortgages and other approved

collateral securities.

 

Receives for safe keeping securities and valuables

of every description.

 

Transacts a general trust business.

 

Other sources of information about  the early operations of the Hershey Trust Company include can be found in the Paul A. Wallace Collection and the Archives photograph collection, The Hershey Press  (a weekly newspaper in publication from 1909-1926) contains news stories about the early Trust Company and is filled with advertisements such as this one:

 

 

 

 

Advertisement for Hershey Trust Company; Hershey's Progressive Weekly.  October 17, 1912

Advertisement for Hershey Trust Company; Hershey's Progressive Weekly. October 17, 1912

 

 

 

 

 

providing information to reseachers about how Hershey Trust Company presented itself to the public.  Archives contain the keys to learning about the past.  It is up to the researcher to study the clues and organize them so that we can better understand the past.

Touring the Hershey chocolate factory

Hershey Chocolate Factory visitors department; Tour Director Lloyd Shoap and hostesses.  ca.1936-1940

Hershey Chocolate Factory visitors department; Tour Director Lloyd Shoap and hostesses. ca.1936-1940

 

Almost as soon as the Hershey Chocolate Factory began operating in 1905, visitors wanted to tour the facility to see how Hershey’s milk chocolate was made.  The Company began offering formal tours as early as 1910.  In 1915 the Hershey Visitors Bureau opened in the Cocoa House as an information center for Hershey’s rapidly growing tourist market.  The Visitors Bureau provided information about Hershey’s attractions and provided Admission cards to visitors wishing to tour the factory.  Opening in July 1915, the Bureau distributed over 10,000 factory tour admission cards during its first three months.

 

In 1928 the factory began keeping formal statistics about factory tours.  A Factory tour was a popular part of a visit to Hershey.  Whether you were coming to Hershey to visit the Park, swim at the pool, enjoy the flowers at the Hershey Gardens or to shop at the Department Store, many people made a factory tour part of their visit to Hershey.

 

Visitors receive free cup of cocoa at the end of the chocolate factory tour.  ca.1950-1960

Visitors receive free cup of cocoa at the end of the chocolate factory tour. ca.1950-1960

 

 

Factory tours were not just for visitors.  Many people have fond memories of growing up in Hershey and taking the tour just to get the chocolate provided to visitors at the end of the tour.  Frank Simione shared these fond memories in his 1993 oral history interview:

 

We used to go through the chocolate plant, through the main entrance on Chocolate Avenue.  As we entered the main entrance there, they would give you a small cup of chocolate drink, and when you came back [from the tour], they would give you a pack with five bars, which says “Five Famous Hershey Bars.”  We used to go over there to get the chocolate drink and get those five little famous bars.  They were very little, in a small pack, and sometimes we used to go two and three times in a day, just to receive the chocolate drinks and the chocolate bars.  Now, this was done practically every day.

 

By 1970 almost one million people were touring the factory each year.  The factory had never been designed to handle so many people.  So many visitors were causing traffic jams downtown, overwhelming the building capacity and creating risks for product safety.  Hershey Foods Corporation’s solution was to build Hershey’s Chocolate World, a corporate visitor center that could welcome the millions of people visiting Hershey each year and would teach how Hershey’s milk chocolate is made in a fun and informative way.  The last public Chocolate factory tour was held June 29, 1973 and Hershey’s Chocolate World opened the next day.