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Archive for the ‘Milton Hershey’ Category

Hershey Improvement Company: Build or Buy a Home in Hershey

Beginning construction for the Hershey Chocolate factory, 1903

Beginning construction for the Hershey Chocolate factory, 1903


In 1903, when Milton Hershey broke ground for the Hershey Chocolate factory in Derry Township his plans far exceeded the construction of one building. Mr. Hershey envisioned the development of a new community; a community that featured modern facilities and residences with the objective of being an “ideal twentieth century town.”[i]


Hershey Improvement Company, an unincorporated organization that operated under the auspices of the Hershey Chocolate Company, was responsible for building the infrastructure for Mr. Hershey’s model industrial town. The Improvement Company laid out roads, sidewalks, and all of the utilities including: water, sewer, electric, and gas. The company oversaw the construction of public buildings and homes as well as all real estate transactions.


Surveyors with Herr’s Engineers. ca.1910-1912

Surveyors with Herr’s Engineers. ca.1910-1912


Potential residents had the choice of purchasing a lot from the Improvement Company and building their own home or purchasing a home constructed by the company. Between 1911 and 1915, the company constructed 150 homes. The benefits and convenience of indoor plumbing and electricity were advertised to homeowners however an emphasis was placed on the community’s amenities.


“It is the town of health; it is a paradise for children. Its great public school with everything free is a wonderful asset. It has free libraries, playgrounds, gymnasiums, clubs and all the merits of a place many times its size. These give value that mean dollars and cents to the home investment. The man who buys or builds a home not only gets the full value of that property but the additional value of the town improvement and equipment.” Hershey Press, Advertisement, 11/5/1914.


Areba Avenue looking east from Cocoa Avenue. 1912-1915

Areba Avenue looking east from Cocoa Avenue. 1912-1915


The company’s investment in the community’s infrastructure was the homeowner’s advantage. This idea exemplified the progressive ideal of capitalism and wealth being used to raise the standard of living for all.


The economic value of home-ownership, to the individual, was also emphasized in the Improvement Company’s real estate advertisements. “Property owners in Hershey are enabled to sell their property, if they so desire, making quick sales, and selling at a considerable price over their original investment….We can cite you several instances of property holders in Hershey that have sold their properties recently and pocketed a nice profit.” In this respect, Hershey’s model industrial community was unlike those that preceded it.


Hershey Press advertisement promoting the benefits of homeownership. 11/02/1911]

Hershey Press; advertisement promoting the benefits of home-ownership. 11/02/1911


For comparison, consider another celebrated company town, Pullman, Illinois.


In 1881, the first residents moved into Pullman, Illinois, a community just outside of Chicago founded by railroad car manufacturer George M. Pullman. Pullman was considered to be an ideal town that offered many of the amenities that would later be available in Hershey, Pennsylvania. An important difference between the two communities was home ownership.


In Pullman, residents were unable to buy their homes, they could only rent. Following the economic depression of 1893, the Pullman Company laid off workers and reduced wages but refused to lower rents. Workers went on strike and the community became associated with industrial strife, far short of the ideal. By 1900, the municipal functions of the community had been assumed by the city of Chicago.[i]


It is likely Milton Hershey was aware of the downfall of Pullman and planned and organized his businesses and community with these lessons in mind. He planned for a model industrial community that would remain an ideal.  “Hershey’s future is clearly established….Hershey is the model industrial town that is developing into the model home town, and in the course of another decade it will attract thousands of people.”[iii]


Hershey Press advertisement. 11/09/1911

Hershey Press; Hershey Improvement Company advertisement. 11/09/1911


Hershey Improvement Company continued to oversee the development and expansion of the Hershey community until Hershey Chocolate Company was reorganized in 1927. After the reorganization, responsibility for the management and development of the community’s infrastructure was placed under the newly created Hershey Estates.


[i]“Big Building Boom in the Chocolate Town.” Hershey Press, 31 August 1911.

[ii] Green, Hardy. The Company Town: The Industrial Edens and Satanic Mills That Shaped the American Economy.  Basic Books: New York, 2010.

[iii] “Advertisement.” Hershey Press, 5 November 1914.


Accession 200608: Snavely Family Papers

While the Archives is best known for managing the archival records of Milton Hershey’s corporations, we also collect and care for the records of  many individuals and local organizations.  The finding aids for these collections are available online on the Archives’ website:


These collections contain a wealth of materials documenting many different aspects of Hershey’s past.


Milton Hershey, 1887

Milton Hershey, 1887


There are very few materials that shed light on Milton Hershey’s early adult years. Milton Hershey spent his early adult years struggling to make a living. While his life and accomplishments are well documented once he achieved business success, little remains to tell the story of those early years.


We are very fortunate that the Snavely Family papers are part of the Archives’ collection.  This collection includes several letters from Milton Hershey to his Uncle Abraham Snavely, written between 1880 and 1882.


Sometimes personal letters paint a different picture than the one presented in published sources.


In 1894, Lancaster County (PA) published the Portrait and Biographical Record of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens. . .Together with Biographies and Portraits of All the Presidents of the United States.


I’m not certain who was responsible for researching and writing the brief biography of Milton Hershey. The entry begins with a brief genealogy, since both of his parents were born and raised in Lancaster County. The entry then continues:


 In 1876 our subject went to Philadelphia, where he engaged in the manufacture of confectionery, and there continued six years, after which he traveled in different states in the Union, and finally engaged in business in New York as a caramel manufacturer. He deemed it wise to remove his plant to Lancaster, where he has increased his business and employs a large number of men.


If this was the only documentation that existed for Milton Hershey’s early business years, we might have a very different understanding of his early life.


Business card; 1879-5/1881

Business card; 1879-5/1881

Business card; 1879-5/1881

Business card; 1879-5/1881



Fortunately for the historian, the Snavely Family Papers provides a slightly different view of those early years. As the finding aid notes, the collection is:


Largely comprised of correspondence and land records. The correspondence contains several hand written letters from Milton S. Hershey to his uncle, Abraham B. Snavely, requesting financial assistance.


The letters were written between 1880 and 1882, during the time that Milton Hershey operated a candy shop in Philadelphia. The letters reveal that Milton Hershey’s business was struggling at that time, and cash flow was not sufficient to support the business. Hershey turned to his Snavely relatives for financial loans, unfortunately, without much success. You can read more about these struggles here.


Interested in learning more? Visit the Archives and review all of the letters in the collection to gain a better understanding of Milton Hershey’s early business struggles.

Creating a Legacy: Milton S. Hershey’s trust fund for Derry Township public schools

Mourners paid their respects at Milton Hershey's gravesite, Hershey Cemetery. 10/16/1945

Mourners paid their respects at Milton Hershey’s gravesite, Hershey Cemetery. 10/16/1945


Milton Hershey passed away on October 13, 1945 in Hershey Hospital. While he had placed the bulk of his fortune into a trust for the Milton Hershey School in 1918, his continued financial success during the rest of his life created an estate valued at almost $900,000. Mr. Hershey’s will directed that his estate be used to create another trust fund.  This one would benefit Derry Township’s public schools.


Rarely sentimental, Milton Hershey’s will will directed that all his personal belongings be sold at auction, with the proceeds to be added to his estate. To comply with his wishes, an auction was held at the Community Building on Monday and Tuesday, December 17-18, 1945.


Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945, reverse side

Flyer: M.S. Hershey Estate Auction, December 17 & 18, 1945, reverse side


Many protested the sale, wanting to keep his personal belongings intact. They argued that his possessions, which included furniture, rugs, linens, draperies, framed photographs, books, paintings, multiple sets of flatware and dinnerware, and his personal jewelry, belonged in the Hershey Museum. Apparently his executors, William F.R. Murrie, Ezra Hershey, and William H. Earnest, agreed. While the bulk of his personal belongings were sold at auction, the furniture that had filled Milton Hershey’s second floor apartment at the Hershey Country Club (High Point) was removed from the sale and Hershey Estates purchased these items. For many years the furniture was exhibited at the Hershey Museum as a memorial to Milton Hershey.


Some of the items from Milton S. Hershey's estate that were sold at auction on December 17-18, 1945.

Some of the items from Milton S. Hershey’s estate that were sold at auction on December 17 & 18, 1945.


The Milton S. Hershey Estate auction was held in the Community Building Social Room. There were afternoon and evening sessions with a large attendance of buyers and the simply curious. It appears that there was something for everyone. The auction flyer highlighted large collections of Cauldron, Coalport and Dresden china, rare ivory pieces, cut glass, bronze statuary, silverware, oil paintings, linens and fine furniture. The Auction was handled by L.J. Gilbert and Son, Lebanon, PA auctioneers.


The sale raised just over $17,000 helping to create an Testamentary Trust Fund endowment of about $900,000. Since its creation the trust fund has made semi-annual payments to the Derry Township School District with the goal of helping to mitigate public taxes paid in support of Hershey’s public schools.

HersheyArchives@30-26: Why Did Hershey Sell Its Cuban Assets?

List of Hershey Cuban assets acquired by the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company. Page from Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company Notice of Stockholders meeting, 3/5/1946

List of Hershey Cuban assets acquired by the Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company. Page from Cuban Atlantic Sugar Company Notice of Stockholders meeting, 3/5/1946


In 1921, Milton Hershey hired Percy Alexander (P.A.) Staples to manage his Cuban operations. For the next 23 years Staples resided in Cuba. As part of his work, he became very knowledgeable about Cuba: not only its sugar industry, but also with its people, culture, economy, and politics.


In 1944, Milton Hershey selected Staples to succeed him as president and chairman of all of the Hershey Entities. Staples relocated to Hershey and quickly settled into his new responsibilities. Though Hershey’s Cuban properties had been consistently profitable, Staples recommended to Mr. Hershey that the Cuban properties should be sold. Staples’ long residence in Cuba provided him with a unique understanding of the country and perhaps created some concerns about its future.


P.A. Staples wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission to explain some of the details of the sale of Hershey’s Cuban assets. 4/6/1946

P.A. Staples wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission to explain some of the details of the sale of Hershey’s Cuban assets. 4/6/1946



Staples to SEC, page 2. 4/6/1946


Selling such a sizeable asset required months of due diligence and documenting all aspects of the business. Naturally, there were questions about why Hershey might want to sell a business that had expanded and been profitable for years.


Staples outlined his reasons for selling Hershey's Cuban properties. 4/6/1946

Staples outlined his reasons for selling Hershey’s Cuban properties. 4/6/1946


Mr. Staples outlined some of the reasons for selling Hershey’s Cuban properties in an April 6, 1946 letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):


“The desire of the Trustee to change its position from that of 100 percent owner of the Hershey Cuban enterprises to that of an owner of only half of the Preferred Stock, and less than 100 percent of the Common Stock, of the Company arises from the fact that, except for the Hershey Cuban enterprises, the only operating properties controlled by the Trustee are located in or near Hershey, Pennsylvania. The individual members of the board of trustees of Hershey Trust Company are men living in and around Hershey, Pennsylvania. Of them the writer (P.A. Staples) is the only one experienced in the operation and supervision of properties in Cuba and the only one having the specialized knowledge required for such purpose.


In the light of these circumstances, the late Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey Industrial School, explored the possibilities of a transaction of the general character which is about to be effected and the proposed transaction with the Company is one which was approved in principle by Mr. Hershey before his death last fall.”








HersheyArchives@30-25: Hear Mr. Hershey


Milton Hershey poses  with a kitchen employee at a Hershey Industrial School picnic held at Hershey Park. 1938

Milton Hershey poses with a kitchen employee at a Hershey Industrial School picnic held at Hershey Park. 1938


In the 1920s, American households had a new choice in home entertainment—the radio. The first commercial radio station was established in 1920 and by 1922 over 600 stations were on the air. Radio programs in a variety of formats and genres were broadcast including radio plays, variety shows, news, and interview programs. One such program was “It Can Be Done” hosted by Edgar A. Guest, an English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the twentieth century.


On June 8, 1938, “Milton S. Hershey, ‘The Builder,’” was featured on the radio show, “It Can Be Done.” At the time of the interview, Mr. Hershey was eighty years old. His voice had aged and his speech was slow as he was inexperienced with public speaking and was reading from a script. At the end of the interview, Guest read his poem, “Compensation,” in tribute to Mr. Hershey.


The audio below is the only known recording of Mr. Hershey’s voice. Click on the link to listen to Milton Hershey.



[Transcript of audio]


Announcer:      So Milton S. Hershey, the builder of an ideal town continues to build, to build happiness into the hearts of boys, happiness that is the foundation for sturdy, worthy, useful citizenship. The unconquerable, unselfish spirit of Milton S. Hershey has brought fulfillment of his most fantastic dreams. And proves once more, “It can be done.”  We present now, ladies and gentlemen, Milton S. Hershey,” the builder.”


Mr. Hershey:   Thank you, Eddie Guest. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.


Mr. Guest:       Mr. Hershey, how many years have you been in the candy business?


Mr. Hershey:   Sixty years.


Mr. Guest:       Are you still active in the business?


Mr. Hershey:   Indeed I am.


Mr. Guest:       You know, it seems to me that as long as I can remember I’ve seen your chocolate bar on candy counters.


Mr. Hershey:   Yes, the Hershey Bar has been on the market thirty odd years and we were the first to introduce the almond bar.


Mr. Guest:       Now, you must use an unbelievable amount of cocoa beans.


Mr. Hershey:   We use as much cocoa, raw cocoa beans, as France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain put together.


Mr. Guest:       Hmmm.


Mr. Guest:       How large is your town Hershey, Pennsylvania?


Mr. Hershey:   Hershey, Pennsylvania, has a population of 2500. In that total of 2500 we have 3200 students. The Hershey Township High School is the largest township high school in the United States.


Mr. Guest:       How long has the Hershey Industrial School been in operation?


Mr. Hershey:   Since 1909.


Mr. Guest:       Can you tell me what has happened to some of the boys you’ve trained there?


Mr. Hershey:   Well, one is treasurer of the Trust Company, two are in the bank, and there are others in responsible positions. You see, we follow the boys through until we see that they have jobs.


Mr. Guest:       Tell me, just how do the opportunities for the boys today compare with those of your day? That is, these boys coming out of your school?


Mr. Hershey:   Most of them have better chances for character building and education than ever before. Perhaps they don’t have the chance to make as much money as some individuals have made, but they will lead to happier lives.


Mr. Guest:        Milton S. Hershey, Household Finance and I humbly salute you and your courage which carried you through to success and we add our tribute to that of thousands of others for the great work you are doing with boys. Congratulations, Milton S. Hershey.


Mr. Guest:       Mr. Hershey, I’d like to think, when life is done,

That I had filled some needed post,

That here and there I’d paid my fare

With something more than idle boast.

That I had taken gifts divine,

The breath of life and manhood fine,

And tried to use them now and then

In service for my fellowman.


I’d hate to think when life is through

That I had lived my round of years

A useless time that leaves behind

No record in its vale of tears;

That I had wasted all my days

By treading only selfish ways

And that this world would be the same

If it had never heard my name.


I’d like to think when life is done

That here and there, there shall remain

A happier spot which might have not

Existed had I toiled for gain,

That someone’s cheery voice and smile

Shall prove that I had been worthwhile

That I had paid with something fine,

My debt to God for life divine.



HersheyArchives@30-21: Insight into Mr. Hershey: The Wallace Research Collection

Milton Hershey, unlike his contemporary Henry Ford, never wrote a memoir and did not court attention from the public or the press.  Hershey was rarely interviewed and as he preferred to communicate via telephone and telegraph rather than through letters or memorandums he leaves little of a paper-trail.  So without an extensive written record to document Mr. Hershey’s decisions and motivations what evidence do we, as researchers, use to understand him and his decision-making process?


Fortunately, oral history interviews assist archivists and researchers in filling documentary gaps.  Hershey Community Archives has an active oral history program, however for information about Milton Hershey’s personal life and character we often refer to the papers of Paul A.W. Wallace.  Wallace was a professor at Lebanon Valley College who was hired to research and write a biography of Mr. Hershey in the 1950s.  Although Wallace’s manuscript was never published it and his research files are a rich historical archive.


Paul Wallace, ca1954

Paul A. Wallace, ca1954


Wallace, working in the 1950s, was able to interview Mr. Hershey’s contemporaries; his business associates, those he employed, and those who interacted with him in the community.  Oral history interviews with Mr. Hershey’s employees reveal he was interested in big picture ideas and did not concern himself with the details of a project.


Hershey’s horticulturist, Harry Erdman, provided a typical example of Mr. Hershey’s decision-making process in his interview with Wallace.  In 1935 and 1936, J. Horace McFarland, a nationally known leader in the city beautiful movement who was active in the American Rose Society invited Mr. Hershey to meet with him.  McFarland wanted to persuade Mr. Hershey to assist in funding a public rose garden in Washington D.C.  The two men made plans to meet when the Pennsylvania State Federation of Garden Clubs would meet in Hershey in April of 1936.


After McFarland and Milton Hershey’s initial meeting, Mr. Hershey attended the Garden Federation dinner meeting as a guest of McFarland who was the keynote speaker.  McFarland took the opportunity to publicly ask Milton Hershey for financial support of a National Rose Garden.  According to Erdman, he and Mr. Hershey had previously discussed establishing a garden on a piece of land just south of The Hotel Hershey.  Milton Hershey’s reply to McFarland’s request was:


Well, we have been planning a Garden of our own; and, before we give that amount of money for the politicians to play with, we better spend some of it at our own place and see what interest people take in it.


Erdman learned all of this the next day when Milton Hershey called him to a meeting at his apartment in High Point.  In his interview, Erdman related how quickly Mr. Hershey made the decision to establish the Hershey Rose Garden.


[Please note the audio has not been restored.  A transcript of the audio is below.]



The decision was then before 9 o’clock the following morning, after this dinner, I’d stake it out and let him know when I had it staked out and then look it over with him to see if it was too large or wasn’t large enough.  Several days later, I had started to plot with stakes what I thought should be the proper size to start with and asked Mr. Hershey to go up and look it over and he immediately agreed it was alright to go ahead with it. 


The Rose Garden was expanded gradually over the next few years and in early 1941 Milton Hershey was considering how to develop the adjacent land east of the garden.  After 20 minutes of heated onsite consultation between Erdman, engineers, real estate developers, and farmers the land was deemed inappropriate for farming or a housing development.  Mr. Hershey then turned to Harry Erdman and said “All right, Erdman, Go ahead, make a garden out of it. We’ll make an awful lot of other people happy.”


Erdman asked if Mr. Hershey wanted to see a plan or cost estimates.


[Please note the audio has not been restored.  A transcript of the audio is below.]



I asked him at that time if he wanted an estimate of what the cost was going to be – if he was giving me the entire plot?

    ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘it’s no good for farming so take it all.’

    ‘Do you want an estimate of what the cost is going to be?’

    ‘No, go ahead,’ he said, ‘if it gets too big I’ll stop you, but I haven’t stopped you yet have I?’

     I said, ‘no you haven’t.’


This anecdote illustrates how Mr. Hershey developed the goals and relied on others to execute his vision.  He was a leader who relied on capable, talented individuals who operated independently of his influence.  While he oversaw all of the operations and had ultimate authority, he placed a great deal of faith in others to execute the day-to-day operations.  As Erdman explained to Wallace with regard to the initial landscaping of the community:



Question: What about Mr. Hershey’s influence? Did [landscape architect Oglesby] Paul draw up the plans according to Hershey’s specifications or did he just say he wanted everything landscaped, go to it?

Erdman: From my experiences with Mr. Hershey of course this is 25 years later, I doubt very much if Mr. Hershey made any specific plans or gave any specific details. It looked very much as if he told them he wanted nice planting and something of that sort and what he wanted done and it wasn’t specifying any particular names of plants or any particular location. He left that up to the architect to do so.


The oral history interviews in the Paul Wallace Research Collection contain details about Mr. Hershey that would otherwise be unknowable; providing insights into Mr. Hershey’s personality and character.  Mr. Hershey chose not to tell his own story, but fortunately others told stories about him.



Audio clips courtesy of Milton Hershey School Department of School History.

HersheyArchives@30-18 Only Hershey’s Kisses are Kisses

Consumers associate a trademark with their experiences with the service or product the trademark represents. Milton Hershey prided himself on manufacturing quality products believing quality was “the best advertising in the world.” Hershey Chocolate Company trademarks and trade dress were consistent across the product line so a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar was easily identifiable as being from the same company as Hershey’s Cocoa. “Hershey’s” meant quality to consumers and it has always been important to the company to maintain the positive association that Milton Hershey established.


Early Trademark Action




In 1905, the Societe Generale Suisse De Chocolats, manufacturers of Peter’s Chocolate brought suit against Hershey Chocolate Company arguing that Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar wrappers were too similar to those of Peter’s and caused consumer confusion.  Milton Hershey was ordered to change his design and subsequently adopted the now iconic maroon and silver wrapper.  Although he lost the case, Peter’s legal action introduced Mr. Hershey to the value of intellectual property and brand protection.  When his next product, Hershey’s Kisses, was introduced in 1907, Hershey diligently surveyed the marketplace for products too similar to his own.


Hershey Chocolate Company sold Hershey's Kisses by weight.  The pail was a unique way of packing bulk Kisses. ca1920

Hershey Chocolate Company sold Hershey’s Kisses by weight. The pail was a unique way of packing bulk Kisses. ca1920


Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses were initially available for purchase in bulk and later in 10 cent boxes.  From 1907 until 1921, Kisses that were sold in bulk (meaning sold either by a specified number of Kisses or by weight) were identified by their display container and with nearby point-of-purchase placards.  A square piece of tissue-paper, printed with the company trademark, placed underneath the chocolate and wrapped inside the foil wrapper was the only other means of identifying the product as Hershey’s.  Since the buyer could not see that identification until after the chocolate was unwrapped, it encouraged many imitations.


One of Hershey's many competitors, Klein Chocolate Company marketed their conical pieces of chocolate as "Silver Bells." ca1930

One of Hershey’s many competitors, Klein Chocolate Company marketed their conical pieces of chocolate as “Silver Bells.” ca1930


To counteract the many competitors, Hershey Chocolate Company developed wrapping machinery that could insert a visual product marker, the plume or tag, in 1921.  Hershey began advertising its new wrapping technology and asking consumers to look for the identification tag.



In-store poster promoting Hershey’s Kisses with its trademark plume. 1921



An Employee becomes a Competitor


In 1910, Milton Hershey hired James B. Leithiser, the husband of one of his cousins, to serve as general manager of all the non-chocolate businesses—what would later be consolidated as Hershey Estates.  Leithiser was responsible for overseeing the majority of the town’s building initiatives and the community’s development over the next ten years.


As Milton Hershey began to expand his operations in Cuba, he asked Leithiser to move to Cuba and oversee its operations.  Rather than move, in 1921 Leithiser resigned from his position and relocated to Berks County in Pennsylvania to open a confectionery business, Fleetwood Chocolate Company.


Rumors that former officials of the Hershey chocolate company who in the last few months have severed their connections with the chocolate king were about to organize a new company in Berks county have been confirmed… J.B. Leithiser….who grew up with the Hershey plant as one of the executive managers is named as president of the Fleetwood organization. [Lebanon Daily News, 01/06/1922]


A year later Fleetwood was in direct competition with Hershey’s.  One item in particular caught the attention of William F.R. Murrie, president of Hershey Chocolate Company.


Fleetwood Milk Chocolate Kisses box. 1923

Fleetwood Milk Chocolate Kisses box. 1923


Protecting the Brand


When Hershey Chocolate Company began including a plume with each wrapped Hershey’s Kiss, the company also filed a federal trademark registration, registering the mark “Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses” in 1923.  Fleetwood’s Milk Chocolate Kisses prompted Hershey to consider the value of the term “Kisses” in general.  Hershey Chocolate Company president William F.R. Murrie brought the Fleetwood product to the attention of Mr. Hershey’s attorney, John E. Snyder.  Murrie thought it was imperative to protect the Kisses brand.  “It seems to me that we should not surrender what rights we may have in the use of the words, ‘Kisses,’ or ‘Milk Chocolate Kisses.’”



Correspondence  from Hershey Chocolate Company President William F.R. Murrie to John E. Snyder, Mr. Hershey's attorney. 3/17/1923

Correspondence from Hershey Chocolate Company President William F.R. Murrie to John E. Snyder, Mr. Hershey’s attorney. 3/17/1923


Additional federal trademark registrations protecting the name, and unique conical shape of Kisses, both wrapped and unwrapped, were later obtained.  Today, The Hershey Company continues to proactively protect the Kisses brand.  One reason is to avoid a generic or “genericized” trademark.  Trademarks can become “genericized” when the associated product or service acquires substantial market dominance or “mind space” and the trademark becomes a term for the product or service itself instead of a brand.  Genericized trademarks include: aspirin; escalator; trampoline; and laundromat.  A company risks losing its trademark and associated rights if a trademark becomes genericized and it also enables competitors to use the trademark.


Hershey Chocolate Company executives recognized the value of the Kisses brand early in the product’s history.  Early and continued brand protection ensures that Kisses chocolates and confections are still only associated with Hershey.



HersheyArchives@30-17 Meet you at the movies: Seeing Wonders


Specially sized postcards promoting the town of Hershey were included with Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars. ca1915-1920

Specially sized postcards promoting the town of Hershey were included with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars. ca1915-1920


While he did not make use of print or radio media advertising, Milton Hershey was interested in promoting his model town and its amenities and attractions. He believed that the town and the chocolate business were intertwined and promoting one benefited the other.


Milton Hershey was an innovator and was inspired by new ideas and methods.


The immense popularity of movies in the 1930s encouraged Milton Hershey to experiment with them to promote his model community, and his chocolate business.


Hershey hired Don Malkames, a successful filmmaker from Hazelton, Pennsylvania, to create a film about Hershey.


In 1932, “The Gift of Montezuma” was released.  Distributed to public schools and community groups across the United States, this film told the story of Milton Hershey’s model town, the process of making milk chocolate and the beneficiary of Hershey’s success, Hershey Industrial School (today Milton Hershey School).


The following year, buoyed by the success of his first film, Milton Hershey decided to make a second film.  Once again directed by Malkames.



Unlike “Gift of Montezuma,” this short (less than 11 minutes) film, “Seeing Wonders,” was more like a travelogue. The film promoted Hershey as a model town and a destination. Significantly, Lowell Thomas, a nationally known broadcaster, was tapped to narrate the film.


“Seeing Wonders” celebrated Hershey’s continued growth and success during a period of national economic collapse. The film was designed to inform, inspire and encourage viewers to visit Milton Hershey’s model town.



The movie takes viewers on a tour of the model town’s comfortable homes and happy children.  The newly built Hershey Community Building, with its extensive recreational facilities is highlighted.



Hershey Park’s extensive recreational facilities were also featured including the zoo, amusement rides, entertainment, and recently built swimming pool.



The movie was filmed just after The Hotel Hershey opened.  In his narration, Lowell Thomas referred to The Hotel Hershey as “a palace, a palace that out-palaces the palaces of the maharajas of India.”



Throughout the movie, there are continual references to the Hershey Industrial School and the boys that are being cared for there.  As Lowell Thomas notes, the school “is the real meaning of the city that is a dream come true.”



HersheyArchives@30-13 “Hire the Forty Men”

Over thirty men carry a single wooden support structure during the construction of the Arena. 1936

Over thirty men carry a single wooden support structure during the construction of the Arena. 1936


Milton Hershey launched  his “Great Building Campaign” to bolster the local economy during the Great Depression. Townspeople found work building the structures that would eventually become some of the major tourist attractions in town, (Hershey Community Building and Hershey Theatre, The Hotel Hershey, Hersheypark Arena and Stadium) and the result was a town that offered facilities and features unheard of for a community of its size.


The October 1929 stock market crash launched a long economic decline that grew into the worldwide Depression of the 1930s. But the town of Hershey stood in sharp contrast to much of the United States during these years. While most industries struggled to keep from shutting down, throughout the Depression Mr. Hershey’s affordable chocolate products enabled his company to enjoy sustainable sales and profits.


There were good business reasons for Mr. Hershey to pursue a construction campaign when he did. Prices for building supplies were at an all-time low, and the labor force was certainly available. It seemed an ideal time to revisit building projects he had delayed for years. The Hershey Community Building was originally conceived in 1915, for example, and putting a hotel up on Pat’s Hill had been planned as early as 1909.


Detail view of the Hotel Hershey first floor plan. Note the support column placed in the center of the circular dining room. As the plan indicates, Mr. Hershey ordered its removal. 1932

Detail view of the Hotel Hershey first floor plan. Note the support column placed in the center of the circular dining room. As the plan indicates, Mr. Hershey ordered its removal. 1932


But there was another driving force behind the campaign – a more altruistic one. Throughout his life, the community Mr. Hershey built around his factory remained an enduring passion. He cared deeply for “his” town and the people who lived and worked there. When the Depression threatened to bring economic disaster right to his doorstep, Milton Hershey met the challenge with his unique brand of benevolent paternalism.


“We have about 600 construction workers in this town,” Mr. Hershey is reported to have said. “If I don’t provide work for them, I’ll have to feed them. And since building materials are now at their lowest cost levels, I’m going to build and give them jobs.”


Mr. Hershey kept close tabs on these construction projects. It’s said that when the excavation began atop Pat’s Hill as the first step for building the Hotel, Mr. Hershey watched intently as two huge steam shovels tore apart the earth. His foreman told him, “These machines do the work of 40 men.” And Mr. Hershey simply replied, “Take them off. Hire 40 men.”


Group portrait, Hershey Community Buildilng construction crew. 1932

Group portrait, Hershey Community Buildilng construction crew. 1932


In addition to the major buildings, Mr. Hershey also initiated smaller projects to provide employment while developing the community, including Hershey Gardens, new rides and attractions for Hersheypark and new facilities for the Zoo were also completed during these years.


Mr. Hershey also used the Great Building Campaign as a time to further promote the sports of golf and hockey in town. In 1930, he started the Hershey Country Club and retained golf architect Maurice McCarthy to design what is now known as the West Course. He also opened Parkview Golf Course for the public and a nine-hole course at the Hotel. And he introduced the first golf course in the nation dedicated to junior golfers, now called Spring Creek Golf Course. The Hershey Ice Palace began hosting hockey games in 1931, and in 1936 the Arena opened. It was the first home to the Hershey Bears, now the oldest club in American Hockey League history.


The addition of these attractions built on the community’s image as a center for entertainment and relaxation. By the end of the decade, the town of Hershey had emerged as a nationally known tourist destination and was called “Pennsylvania’s Summer Playground.” Today the majority of the projects that began as part of the Great Building Campaign continue to exist and stand as memorials to Mr. Hershey’s vision, generosity and dedication to his town and its residents.


Brochure marketing Hershey as "Pennsylvania's Summer Playground." ca1940

Brochure marketing Hershey as “Pennsylvania’s Summer Playground.” ca1940


“As far as I know, no man was dropped by reason of the Depression,” Mr. Hershey is reported to have said. “And no salaries were cut.”



HersheyArchives@30-12 Designing a Course Fit for a Pro

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, 1st page.

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, to design 2 golf courses for Hershey. 1st of 2 pages.


In 1928 Milton Hershey hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy to design two golf courses for Hershey. page 2 of 2.


Hershey’s first golf course opened in 1909.


Hershey's first golf course was nine holes and was located along Chocolate Avenue. ca1915

Hershey’s first golf course was nine holes and was located along Chocolate Avenue. ca1915


Located along Chocolate Avenue, the 9-hole golf course was built near Milton Hershey’s home, High Point. However, the chocolate factory’s continual eastward development encroached on the golf course, shrinking its size to 5 or 6 holes. Local golfers were forced to go to Harrisburg or Lebanon to play a round.


In the late 1920s, Milton Hershey decided it was time to bring golf back to his community. He asked his engineer, Harry N. Herr, to develop a new 18-hole course on Pat’s Hill. The site was chosen because Mr. Hershey planned to build what would become The Hotel Hershey adjacent to the course. Though he was a golfer, Herr had never designed a golf course. Undaunted, he proceeded to lay out an exceeding difficult course for the steep and hilly terrain on Pat’s Hill.


Drive to Pat's Hill. ca1915-1924

Drive to Pat’s Hill. ca1915-1924


Before construction could commence, Milton Hershey met with Maurice McCarthy, a nationally known golf architect. Hershey took him to view the proposed course on Pat’s Hill. McCarthy discouraged its construction, suggesting that it was better suited for mountain goats rather than people.


In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, 1st page.

In 1928 Milton Hershey Hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, to design two golf courses for Hershey. 1st of 2 pages.


In 1928 Milton Hershey hired golf architect, Maurice McCarthy, to design two golf courses for Hershey. page 2 of 2.


Initially, McCarthy was hired to develop two courses. The first was for the soon to be established Hershey Country Club and incorporated the land of the original 9-hole course along Chocolate Avenue. The second course was the Hershey Park Golf Course along Park Boulevard.


Aerial, Hershey Country Club golf course. ca1930

Aerial, Hershey Country Club golf course. ca1930


The country club course was expected to surpass the National Golf Links of America in Southhampton, New York. The expectation was that the great tournaments would come here and Hershey would have the honor of hosting the United States Open Championship, commonly known as the U.S. Open. In 1930, Milton Hershey’s home, High Point, became the clubhouse for the new country club.


Aerial, Hershey Park (Parkview) golf course, 7/28/1932

Aerial, Hershey Park (Parkview) golf course, 7/28/1932


The second course designed by Maurice McCarthy was the Park Golf Course. Hershey Park Golf Course (later Parkview) was designed to serve as Hershey’s public course. A challenging course, incorporating Spring Creek and its surrounding hills, the Park Golf Course, was reasonably priced and popular with community residents and visitors alike. For $1.00 ($1.50 on weekends) a player was entitled to play all day. Greens fees also included swimming privileges in the Hershey Park Pool.


Children golfing on the links of the Juvenile Golf Course.  left to right: Virginia Phillips, watching; Helen Snavely, holding flag; Aimee Witmer, putting. 4/10/1937

Children golfing on the links of the Juvenile Golf Course. left to right: Virginia Phillips, watching; Helen Snavely, holding flag; Aimee Witmer, putting. 4/10/1937


The success of these courses sparked a demand for golf in Hershey. Encouraged by the public’s interest, Milton Hershey commissioned Maurice McCarthy to design and build two more courses for the community. In 1932, the 9-hole Juvenile Golf Course (today Spring Creek Golf Course) opened. This course, built around the meandering Spring Creek, was developed to serve boys and girls under the age of 18.


The Hotel Hershey's executive golf course. ca1935-1950

The Hotel Hershey’s executive golf course. ca1935-1950


The last course developed by McCarthy for Hershey was an executive 9-hole course for The Hotel Hershey. This course opened May 4, 1934.


With Maurice McCarthy’s help, Hershey became a mecca for golfers offering 54 holes of golf for every skill level and making Hershey the “Golf Capitol of Pennsylvania.”