Posted on July 26th, 2016 by Rachel
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.
As seen above, the celebration had a huge turn out!
Many local ice cream companies participated in distributing free ice cream…
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!
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.
Post by Exhibitions Intern Emilia Halvorsen. To read more posts by and about interns click HERE.
Posted on February 4th, 2016 by Rachel
For Thursday’s #ColorOurCollections we’ve continued with a flight of fancy with this fabulous fairies!
Download as a PDF here: Fairies Coloring Page
And here’s an example to get your creative juices flowing!
Posted on September 1st, 2015 by Rachel
The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church at 410.732.6400 x236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: January 2, 2015
PastPerfect Accession #: 1998.047.031.001
Status: Hendler Creamery employees, c.1925 – Unidentified!