The Design Company.

You can change this area in header.php

Special Sidebar

You can add any content in this area by go to

Archive for May, 2013

“To Serve, Not to be Served”

Monthly newsletters provided information about upcoming programs, trips and committee reports as well as personal updates about members.


While most people think of Hershey in terms of chocolate or amusement parks or even resort hotels, Hershey is also a community filled with people who live and work and go to school.  It is a vibrant community whose residents contribute their time and expertise to a variety of social and service organizations.


In 1980, opportunities for Hershey’s retired residents were limited.  That year several Hershey Foods retirees got together and organized a group of retired men to have breakfast together on Thursday mornings.  They christened themselves “T.O.G.” an acronym for “That Other Group,” “Other” standing for “over the hill executives in retirement.”  The original organizers included Howard Phillippy, Sam Tancredi and Howard Gabriel.


Remarkably, the impetus for “T.O.G.” also led to the establishment of the Hershey Area Chapter of the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons).


AARP organizational meeting flyer, 12/4/1980

AARP organizational meeting flyer, 12/4/1980


By the end of 1980 several of the “T.O.G.” members had established the foundation for a new A.A.R.P. chapter.  Interim officers were selected and the first meeting of the new group was held on January 15, 1981 at Derry Presbyterian Church.  The purpose of the group was “to serve others thru community service and share in travel and social experiences.”


AARP members Virgil Alexander and Packy Payne entertain at a monthly meeting.  1997

AARP members Virgil Alexander and Packy Payne entertain at a monthly meeting. 1997


The group proved to be enormously popular.  343 people joined as charter members and membership grew every year to a peak of 1254 members in 1987. 


 Records in the Archives document A.A.R.P.’s history as a vibrant group that offers its members fellowship, informative presentations, travel opportunities and service projects to community organizations.  The collection is an important part of the Archives’ efforts to capture of the history of our community and its non-chocolate life.


Hershey Community Archives actively collects the records of local businesses and organizations.  Please contact the Archives for more information.

Looking for the Truth: Hershey’s Chewing Gum

You know how it goes.  An event occurs and time passes.  The people involved are no longer around.  The details of the event become hazy and faulty memories create new, false details about the how and why of the event. 

An archives is a wonderful resource for confirming the facts of an event and correcting the stories and myths that often grow up around a historic event.


Box label; Hershey's Chewing Gum.  ca.1916-1924

Box label; Hershey’s Chewing Gum. ca.1916-1924


Here is a fact:  Milton Hershey manufactured and marketed chewing gum from 1915 to 1924.  We know this because of records found in the Hershey Community Archives.  These records include financial statements, packaging samples, sales materials and oral histories with people directly involved with the manufacture of chewing gum.


There are lots of questions about Hershey’s chewing gum.  What was its name?  What flavors of chewing gum did Hershey produce?  Why did Milton Hershey want to manufacture chewing gum? Why did Hershey stop manufacturing chewing gum?


Hershey's "Easy Chew" chewing gum.  ca.1915-1917

Hershey’s “Easy Chew” chewing gum. ca.1915-1917


Some of these questions are easily answered, with the help of the Archives’ collections.  Manufacturing and sales files provide answers to the when and what of Hershey producing chewing gum. 


The ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions are more difficult.  For example, one popular story told regarding why Milton Hershey decided to manufacture chewing gum includes a cross-Atlantic crossing where Milton Hershey met William Wrigley, Jr.  According to the story, the two men took an instant dislike to each other and Milton Hershey returned with a burning desire to best Wrigley.  He first tried to do it by purchasing Philadelphia’s baseball team.  When that plan didn’t work out, he decided to compete with Wrigley by manufacturing chewing gum.


While this is a great story, a close examination of the story reveals some holes.  Hershey’s chewing gum was introduced in 1915.  Wrigley didn’t begin his ownership of the Chicago Cubs until 1916.  Plus there is no documentation placing Wrigley and Hershey on the same cross-Atlantic ship.


A more reliable source can be found in the Archives.  In 1954 Clayton Snavely was interviewed for a planned biography of Milton Hershey.  Clayton Snavely* began working for the Hershey Chocolate Company in 1911 as a salesman.   In January 1915, he was called to a meeting with Milton Hershey.   His oral history interview describes those initial meetings with Mr. Hershey and includes his memory of why Milton Hershey wanted to make chewing gum.


According to Snavely, Milton Hershey’s venture into chewing gum was inspired by a number of factors.  At the turn of the 20th century, chewing gum was growing in popularity following several developments in manufacturing equipment.


Rather than wanting to best William Wrigley, Jr.  Clayton Snavely related in his interview that Milton Hershey wanted to respond to the Beech Nut Company’s efforts to market chocolate and cocoa. 


            This was in January [1915].  As I previously mention, I spent a week-end with Mr. and Mrs. Hershey at the Dennis Hotel, Atlantic City [New Jersey].  And after breakfast Sunday morning, Mr. Hershey and I were walking down the boardwalk, and Wrigley, the chewing-gum people, had a large advertisement on the boardwalk of their product.

             He said, “Clayton, Beech Nut Gum has been a phenomenal success.  It has gone to their heads, and they think they’re goingto put the name Beech Nut on chocolate and put Hershey out of business.  Well, there’s only one way to meet fire.  It’s to fight it with fire.  I’m thinking about doing something in the chewing gum line.”


From this interview, it’s easy to understand how Wrigley got mixed up in the story, particularly, since Wrigley may be a better known brand.


To learn more about Hershey’s venture into chewing gum, click here.


*Clayton Snavely was a son of Frank Snavely (12/28/1854- (who was Milton Hershey’s mother’s nephew and Milton Hershey’s 1st cousin))