Records from Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Company, manufacturers of chocolate and cocoa products, including well-known candies such as Snocaps, Raisinets, and Goobers. They were located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company was sold to Ward Foods Incorporated in 1969. This collection also includes material collected by and about the Blumenthal family and from M.L. Blumenthal, noted illustrator of the early 20th century.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Company (B*B) business from its founding in 1900. The collection also documents Blumenthal family history and contains material collected by them pertaining to the Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Company. Family papers also include land indenture and real estate documents; photographs; letters, writings and ephemera relating to various family members, including papers relating to M.L. Blumenthal's (Moses Lawrence Blumenthal) career as an illustrator during the early 20th century.
The collection is organized in two series.
Series 1: Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Company Records, 1856-2009, undated. This series contains historical writings about the company; advertising; photographs of employees, packaging, machinery, and display of the products and the production process. There are also photographs of the company's buildings. This series also includes business papers such as correspondence, contracts, legal and financial documents; reports and papers relating to production; annual reports; account books, bound volumes of the company's newsletter, "Chocolate Chat"; news clippings, and deeds. There are also annual reports for Ward Foods Incorporated, the successor to Blumenthal Brothers after its purchase of the company in 1969. The series is arranged chronologically.
Series 2: Blumenthal Family Papers, 1902-2010, undated. This series includes material collected by various family members pertaining to Blumenthal Brothers as well as family history. These items include correspondence, photographs, advertising, e-mails, and family information in many forms. This series includes copies of formal histories compiled by Mike Blumenthal. This series also includes material relating to the career of Moses Lawrence (M.L.) Blumenthal as an illustrator, including correspondence with major publications of the early 20th century, travel writings, personal correspondence, and a letter from James Montgomery Flagg, creator of one of the iconic depictions of "Uncle Sam". The series is arranged chronologically.
The collection is organized in two series.
Series 1: Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Company, 1856-2007, undated
Series 2: Blumenthal Family Papers, 1902-2010, undated
Biographical / Historical:
According to family research, Samuel Blumenthal entered the United States from Bavaria, Germany in 1849 and his future wife, Henrietta Sternberger, entered the United States in 1859. They married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1864 and settled in Wilmington, North Carolina where they began a family. They moved to Philadelphia in 1887.
Samuel and Henrietta's son, Joseph, founded the Peerless Extract Company in 1895, and by 1900 the business has become Blumenthal Brothers Extract Company. Brothers Joseph, Abraham, Aaron, Jacob, and Moses signed a partnership agreement in 1905. By 1909 they began cocoa cake and powder production. In 1910 they purchased land in the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia for a new factory and by 1911 the building was in use. This site was expanded over the years and was the main office and plant for the company.
Over the course of the next fifty years, the company developed and introduced well-known chocolate candies such as Goobers (1925), Raisinets (1926) and later Snocaps and Buddy Bars. Blumenthal Brothers products and their logo B*B became familiar to the chocolate-buying public. The brothers ran the company collectively with Joseph Sr. as president and material buyer, Aaron as factory manager, Jacob as coating department sales manager, Meyer as the New York City sales manager, Abraham as the southern states salesman, and Moses as a part-time employee. Moses' primary career was as the illustrator, M.L. Blumenthal, doing work for such publications as The Saturday Evening Post, The National Magazine, Collier's, the Associated Press, and others.
Blumenthal Brothers candies took advantage of the burgeoning motion picture business. One of their early molded chocolates was in the shape of Jackie Coogan who had become famous playing "the Kid". The B*B candies were boxed and portioned perfectly for the sale to and enjoyment of the movie going public. They also produced cocoa and coating products for the industrial and home markets.
In the late 1930s and 1940s the second generation of Blumenthals joined the company, sons of the founding brothers. These were Bernhard "Bud", Samuel, Joseph Jr., Lawrence, Mike, J. Robert, and Jack. Joseph Jr., Bud, and Larry joined the armed forces during World War II. Additional real estate was purchased in 1948 as the company expanded and sales grew. By 1950, the company's Golden Jubilee, sales topped $10,000,000. They began producing holiday specific candies in 1951 and issued public bonds for investors beginning in 1958.
The 1960s saw the company employing television advertisements beginning in 1961 on the National Broadcasting Network (NBC). In 1968 papers for a merger with Ward Foods Incorporated were signed and as of January 30, 1969 the sale was finalized. By May 1969 the company name was changed to Ward Chocolate Company and was out of Blumenthal family control.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
The Division of Work and Industry holds the following objects: one metal tin stamped "Sweet Milk Chocolate Raisinets"; one small pasteboard box marked, "Raisinets", circa 1960; and one metal tin stamped, "Sunny South Sweet Milk Chocoate Peanuts", circa 1930. See accession 2015.0112.
Donated to the Archives Center in 2015, by Joseph and Barbara B. Blumenthal.
The collection is open for research use. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.