HENDLERS: The Velvet Kind, An Image Gallery Part 2

Posted on July 16th, 2018 by

Article by Rachel Kassman. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways.  Information on how to purchase your own copy here. 


What’s a Kewpie?

These cherubic characters, inspired by the Roman god of desire Cupid, first appeared in the Ladies Home Journal in 1909. Created by illustrator Rose O’Neill, the Kewpie has graced everything from books to pianos to ice cream advertisements.  Hendler Creamery Company used the Kewpie as its mascot for many years – Manuel Hendler even had a few ties with Kewpies hand-painted on the silk by Ms. O’Neill.

Advertising cards featuring Rose O’Neill’s “kewpies” for Hendler’s Ice Cream. All are signed by the artist. Gift of Maxine A. Cohen, 1990.180.01, 4

Rose O’Neill (1874-1944) was a prolific artist, inventor and suffragette. She produced art and illustrations for Harper’sLife, Collier’s, and Puck, among many others, published four novels and a poetry collection (all of which she illustrated) and exhibited her work both in the United States and abroad. She even inspired a song, “Rose of Washington Square! You can learn more about Rose HERE and HERE.

Left: Rose O’Neill, photo by Gertrude Kasebier, c. 1907. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, CP 65.2012.001. Right: Illustration by Rose O’Neill. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, CP 65.2012.002.

Pint box with Kewpie.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.15.2.

Billboards with Kewpies. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.4.114, 163.

Sennett Bathing Beauties

Mack Sennett girls promoting Hendler’s – their holiday-themed costumes let viewers know that Hendler’s Ice Cream is for every season! Museum purchase with assistance from Jack and Ellen Kahan Zager, 1996.148.7.

These Sennett Bathing Beauties demonstrate that ice cream is for all seasons, from Christmas to the Fourth of July! Beginning in 1915, Mack Sennett, the “innovator of slapstick comedy in film,” brought together a group of girls known as the Sennett Bathing Beauties to appear in comedy shorts, promotional material, and at promotional events. The somewhat risqué nature of the group – being photographed in bathing costumes – proved a popular marketing device. Hendler Creamery Company clearly decided to capitalize on the phenomenon.

Mack Sennet, 1910. CP 66.2012.001. The Sennett Girls at work. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, CP 65.2012.006

Continue to Part III of HENDLERS: The Velvet Kind, An Image Gallery

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HENDLER’S: The Velvet Kind, An Image Gallery Part 1

Posted on July 2nd, 2018 by

Article by Rachel Kassman. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways.  Information on how to purchase your own copy here. 


The Hendler Creamery Company is Born

Hendler’s Ice Cream was an iconic Baltimore treat for 60 years. The Hendler Creamery Company began as “Miller & Hendler” in 1905, founded by Louis Miller and L. Manuel Hendler. Hendler quickly moved to the forefront, purchasing Miller’s interest in the business in 1907 and, in 1912, incorporating it as “The Hendler Creamery Company.” Shortly thereafter Hendler purchased the former power house of the Baltimore City Passenger Railway Company, transforming the building into a state-of-the-art ice cream manufacturing plant.

The Hendler Creamery Company building on East Baltimore Street, adorned with patriotic red, white and blue banners for the company’s 50th, or “Golden” Anniversary, 1955.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.21.2.

In 1929 Hendler’s was purchased by the Borden Company. Manuel, and later his son Albert, became executives with the Borden Company, continuing to manufacture and distribute ice cream under the Hendler Creamery name until Albert’s retirement in 1965. At one point, Hendler’s had 400 stores and a fleet of 120 delivery trucks, selling its ice cream in numerous neighborhood groceries and drugstores. Known as “The Velvet Kind,” Hendler’s Ice Cream is fondly remembered for its 60 years of cool and tasty treats.

Manuel Hendler, hard at work at his office desk. Anonymous Gift, 1998.047.4.24.

Albert Hendler outside the manufacturing plant, c. 1955. Anonymous Gift, 1998.047.4.21.4.

A Technological Leap

The Hendler Creamery Company was known for its technological advances. Between them, L. Manuel Hendler and his son Albert held 32 patents related to ice-cream making. Albert recalls that “my father, though he didn’t know it, designed the first air conditioning system. That was not his original intention. His purpose was to devise a method for protecting the ice cream plant from flies. To compensate for closing it off to the outside, he ventilated the building by blowing in air which traveled through ducts connected to coils. In wintertime heat was produced by steam, and in summer brine pumped through the coils cooled the interior. By the time we learned the significance of his invention the patent had expired.”

The photo set shown here, by photographer George C. Pace, highlights the company’s commitment to modernization and advancement. The photo captions were written by Hendler advertising executives to highlight the company’s status as the “cleanest and most modern plant in the world.”

Modern continuous freezers lined up for the production of the millions of gallons of ice cream sold each year by Handlers. Here are a few of the many such freezers. This production worker checks all equipment to make certain the ice cream is up to the exacting standards set by the laboratory. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.3.

This machine being filled by the young lady is an automatic fruit filling machine which adds so much of those delicious fresh fruits found in Hendlers Ice Cream.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.7

Taste testing milk or cream in the Hendler Creamery Company plant.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.8

Packaging the much-liked “dixie cup.”  We have the only “dixie cup” franchise in Baltimore.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.11

Beautiful all stainless steel lifetime refrigerated storage or holding tank. Hendler has many of these tanks to hold ice cream mix at a constant temperature to keep it sweet and fresh. Checking to see that the mix is being agitated properly to keep the blend of materials smooth. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.13

Stirring and flavoring ice cream mix as it flows from the refrigerated storage tanks to the continuous freezers.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.16

The testing, sampling and chemical work done in our laboratory is the most important phase of Hendlers’ plant operation. It is here where a tight control is kept over each phase of production making Hendler the best ice cream that can be purchased in Baltimore County.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.17

Cleaning, sterilizing and polishing of each piece of equipment and pipe used, ends a busy production day at Hendlers. Here a pipe is being thoroughly cleaned. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.20

Continue to Part II of HENDLER’S: The Velvet Kind, An Image Gallery

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A Slightly Belated Straw Hat Day Appreciation Post!

Posted on May 17th, 2018 by

Did you know, May 15th is Straw Hat Day?

Straw hat with black band made by the M.S. Levy Co. as a sample, n.d. The sample was sent to Harry Levinson in Indianapolis, in a brown cardboard box with internal components designed specifically for this hat and returned to the company at a later date. Gift of Ellen Levy Patz, JMM 1997.93.1a

Straw Hat Day is the traditional day to switch from felt hats to straw! You can read more about Straw Hat Day here (and about the Straw Hat Riot of 1922 here).

You should also check out this early blog post from JMM Director of Collections and Exhibits Joanna Church on some of the fabulous straw hats in our collections.

If that’s not enough for you, we’ve got two great titles on the Levy family, Baltimore’s premier straw hat manufacturers, for sale at Esther’s Place!

The Levys were active in leadership and volunteer roles in the Baltimore Jewish community and leaders and innovators of Baltimore’s once-thriving straw hat industry. Each book is authored by a member of the Levy family, one by Alfred H. Moses and the other by Lester S. Levy.

Betsey and Michael Simon Levy. Gifts of Mrs. Lester S. Levy, JMM 1972.15.4-5.

Michael Simon Levy, the founder of M.S. Levy & Sons, was born March 11, 1836, in Mur-Goslin, Germany. Early on, after running away from his tailoring apprenticeship, Michael met up with his brother Ralph in Manchester, England who was manufacturing hats. Michael joined the business and learned the trade quickly, opening his own shop by the age of 20. It was in Manchester that he also met Betsy Jacobs, and they were married in March of 1856.

After losing everything in 1860 due to a bad speculative investment, Michael emigrated to the United States. His family soon joined him in New York before all heading to Baltimore in 1866, where the opportunities for work were brighter. Baltimore proved to be a welcoming new home for the Levys and their hat business. (See the Maryland Historical Society’s Introduction to “M.S. Levy and Sons Account Books, Records, 1884-1958, MS 1091″ for more info.)

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