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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.”

 

#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

What a way to make a living! Working at the Hershey Chocolate factory

The wrapping department poses in front of Hershey Chocolate factory offices.  1915

The wrapping department poses in front of Hershey Chocolate factory offices. 1915

The original Hershey Chocolate factory closed this spring after 107 years of service. Chocolate making is still in Hershey as operations were moved down the street to the newly expanded West Hershey plant. The original factory and its iconic smokestacks will remain part of the Hershey landscape. Over the next several years the building will be repurposed.

During its life as a chocolate factory, the Hershey Chocolate factory defined the community, providing steady work for residents of the town and surrounding area while adding a sweet, chocolatey scent to the air.

Who were these workers and what was it like to work at the original chocolate factory? The Archives recently created a case exhibit in The Hershey Story lobby to showcase some of the archival materials in the collection that provide insight into worker lives. In particular the Archive’s oral history and photograph collections help us to better understand what working in the factory was like.

Women with gingham aprons label and pack cocoa tins.  ca.1925-1935

Women with gingham aprons label and pack cocoa tins. ca.1925-1935

I was new.  I was scared of getting lost.  I didn’t know the way around, you know.  You had to go through two long corridors, five flights of steps, and you went in there.  Those days we had aprons, gingham aprons, and white caps we wore.  You went in and went to your machine.  You had to be there.  When your machine started up, there was no waiting.  You’d better be there, you know.  One time I was reprimanded.  You only were reprimanded once.  You didn’t want to be reprimanded again. (Interview with Mary Bonawitz, 1996)

Employee "stick" almonds to make sure the almonds are completely coated in chocolate.  1950

Employee "stick" almonds to make sure the almonds are completely coated in chocolate. 1950

When you stuck almonds, you got bored.  It was hot and you had to fight sleep sometimes.  You start in work at ten minutes of six, coming up to your department, you know.  You had to be there.  And it was so hot.  And in one position for five hours, there was a tendency to get drowsy.  And if you wanted to talk to your partner, it was all lip reading.  But we caught on very well.  We had fun. (Interview with Mary Bonawitz, 1996)

To learn more about Hershey Chocolate workers and what it was like to work in the chocolate factory, stop by The Hershey Story and check out our exhibit case.  To learn more about the Archives’ photograph and oral history collections, visit the Archives’ website.

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.

The Past is Prologue: Hershey Museum

Visitors explore the Hershey Museum's extensive collection of American Indian artifacts.  ca.1933-1938

Visitors explore the Hershey Museum's extensive collection of American Indian artifacts. ca.1933-1938

The newest incarnation of the Hershey Museum, The Hershey Story  was dedicated on January 30.  But having a museum in our community is not new.

 

Milton Hershey intended to make his community an interesting and enjoyable place to live, work, and visit. In addition to endowing a school for orphaned boys, Hershey contributed millions of dollars for the creation of first-class amenities, including a community center, hotel, botanical garden, zoo, theater, arena, stadium and museum. Milton Hershey wanted to offer the community opportunities for a wider range of experiences than might typically be available in Central Pennsylvania.

 

The first Hershey Museum, founded in 1933, was established when Milton Hershey purchased a significant collection of Native North American artifacts assembled by John G. Worth of Philadelphia. Worth, a knowledgeable collector of Native American material culture, spent many years in the American West, and served as a civilian scout during the last of the Indian Wars. The museum, known as the Hershey American Indian Museum, was housed in Dr. Martin Hershey’s former Derry Road residence, adjacent to the chocolate factory. The Museum offered visitors an opportunity to explore how different American Indian tribes lived through a varied collection of clothing, tools, baskets and containers. In an era before television, the Museum offered visitors a window to peoples and cultures very different from Hershey and helped visitors to understand that the world was a large and varied place.

 

c. Hershey Community Archives, 2009