The Ice Cream Centennial: Baltimore’s Coolest History

Posted on July 26th, 2016 by

As an exhibitions intern, much of my time here at the JMM has been spent digging through artifacts on PastPerfect, the digital database of the museum’s collections. While usually my searches are geared towards certain subjects, often I’ll come across unrelated items of interest. One such instance was coming across a collection of fabulous photographs celebrating the Ice Cream Centennial in Baltimore. As a hardcore ice cream lover (as well as a professional scooper) I needed to know more about this special celebration- and learned that Baltimore, believe it or not, is the birthplace of commercial ice cream production!

The hero behind this phenomenon was a Baltimore milkman named Jacob Fussell, a Quaker born in Hartford County. Fussell found that unlike milk, cream had a more unpredictable supply and demand, often leaving him with a surplus of the stuff. So he decided that, instead of disposing of the leftover cream as he’d been doing, he’d rather turn the cream into more profit by turning it into a new product: ice cream!

And so in 1851 Fussell opened the first commercial ice cream factory in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, shipping the sweet stuff to Baltimore via train. He became so successful that he opened more factories. The mass production lead to a cut in costs, making ice cream more easily affordable to the lower classes and establishing its popularity across class lines.

One hundred years later, and ice cream had become not just popular but beloved. A huge celebration was held to celebrate the anniversary, featuring a speech by Governor Theodore McKeldin, the unveiling of a plaque honoring Fussell, and ten thousand free cups of ice cream!!

That morning, Governor McKeldin signed the Ice Cream Proclamation, which declared June 15, 1951 to be National Ice Cream Day.

That morning, Governor McKeldin signed the Ice Cream Proclamation, which declared June 15, 1951 to be National Ice Cream Day.

As seen above, the celebration had a huge turn out!

As seen above, the celebration had a huge turn out!

Many local ice cream companies participated in distributing free ice cream…

Many local ice cream companies participated in distributing free ice cream…

…including Hendlers!

…including Hendlers!

Movie stars Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie were also special guests at the event, here pictured with Carrie Fussell Craft, Jacob Fussell’s then-84 year old daughter. They co-starred in the movie The Prince Who Was a Thief, which was released later that month.

Movie stars Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie were also special guests at the event, here pictured with Carrie Fussell Craft, Jacob Fussell’s then-84 year old daughter. They co-starred in the movie The Prince Who Was a Thief, which was released later that month.

As a person with a passion for ice cream, I am happy to know that its wholesaling got the party it deserved, and hope that come 2051, the bicentennial will be celebrated with just as much fervor- and, of course, free ice cream!

While ice cream goes back way further than 1851, without Jacob Fussell and his Baltimore business, ice cream may not have become the world’s favorite dessert!

While ice cream goes back way further than 1851, without Jacob Fussell and his Baltimore business, ice cream may not have become the world’s favorite dessert!

Sources:

Funderburg, Anne Cooper. Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: A History of American Ice Cream. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State U Popular, 1995. Print.

“Ice Cream Centennial Observed in Baltimore.” Reading Eagle 15 June 1951: 19. Print.

Thomas, Robert Bailey. “The History of Ice Cream.” The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2004. Boston: Jenks, Palmer, 1984. N. pag. Print.

All photos courtesy of the JMM.

emilia blog 2 picPost by Exhibitions Intern Emilia Halvorsen. To read  more posts by and about interns click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




“Mazel” cufflinks, 1950s

Posted on October 13th, 2014 by

Thanks to our online database, much of our collections can be investigated from the comfort of your own home.  Hopefully, you’ve already read and tested our earlier posts on researching in the database (here are parts one, two, and three). But you may not have tried out the “random images” feature, which chooses an assortment of photos, artifacts, and archival records for your enjoyment. You don’t need a specific research query to spend some quality time with our stuff!

The “random” function proved useful this week, as I went looking for something to feature on the blog.  My eye was caught by this pair of silver-colored metal cufflinks, each with a bold Hebrew “Mazel” on the front (and, for good measure, “LUCK” in English on the back).

2010.62.1a-b

2010.62.1a-b

Maryland Governor Theodore R. McKeldin was the owner of these cufflinks.  McKeldin is an important figure in Maryland politics – he was Baltimore’s mayor in the 1940s and again in the 1960s, as well as serving two terms as governor from 1951 to 1959 – and he was a strong supporter of Baltimore’s diverse communities. To paraphrase an often-repeated story, McKeldin (an Episcopalian) was said to ‘carry a cross in one pocket and a yarmulke in the other.’  That line is sometimes used negatively, hinting he was too much of a people-pleaser, but it can also be taken as a sign of his willingness to engage and work with the Jewish community. Further evidence for this can be found in our museum, thanks in part to a small collection of personal tokens given to McKeldin by Jewish Marylanders over the years. These items were saved by McKeldin, and eventually donated to the JMM by his granddaughter Caroline Wayner.

2010.62.1 full set

2010.62.1 full set

These cufflinks, and the matching tie clip, were part of that donation. We don’t know who gave the set to McKeldin, but we do have a clue as to its origins: The pieces are in their original velvet box, marked “The Concord Men’s Shop, Kiamesha Lake N.Y.” The Concord Resort Hotel in Kiamesha Lake was one of the largest resorts in the Catskills in the mid 20th century; evidently someone from Maryland was vacationing there, spotted these in one of the shops catering to resort visitors, and thought kindly enough of their Governor to make the purchase.

JoannaA blog post by Collections Manager Joanna Church. To read more posts from Joanna click HERE.

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Once Upon a Time Photos: 10.31.08

Posted on October 31st, 2008 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. Click here to see the most recent photo on their website. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or jzink@jewishmuseummd.org.

Date(s) run in Baltimore Jewish Times: 10/31/08

PastPerfect Accession #: 1985.159.032


Status: Identified! Sponsors Dinner to dedicate Study Hall at Talmudical Academy of Baltimore in honor of Governor Theodore R. McKeldin at Governor’s Mansion in Annapolis, July 8, 1957. L-R: 1. Paul Huddles 2.Robert Stofberg 3.Rabbi Albert Pattaschnick4.Judge Edgar Silver5. Albert A. Sugar 6. Mrs. McKeldin7.Governor McKeldin 8. Mayor Philip Goodman 9. ? Rosenbaum or Alvin Cohen 10. Solomon Rogers 11. Rabbi Hirsch Heiman

Thanks to Babette Goldschmidt, Selma Frank, Stan Heyman, Mark Rosenfield, Phil Shapiro, Jane Kaufman, Jerry Shavrick, Rina Levy, Judge Edgar Silver, Jerry Esterson, Gloria Kolker Hack, Andrew Cohen, Marian Block, Gordon Salganik, Sheila Manson, Marilyn Silverstein, Rabbi Moses Shevalsky, Edna Hendler, Barbara Ravitz, Carl Kupfer, and Robin I. Cushner

Posted in jewish museum of maryland