Guide to the Whitman's Chocolates Collection of Print Advertisements

Collection ID:
Whitman Chocolates
1878 - 1954
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
0.6 Cubic Feet
2 boxes
Materials trace the evolution of product packaging and advertising of Whitman's Chocolates. Includes business records and photographs of early product displays.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection primarily documents the packaging and display of Whitman's Chocolates. There is a pen and ink sketch from a New York newspaper dated from 1878 which is an image of the Whitman exhibit in Paris, France. Also included are advertisements clipped from newspapers and magazines dated1898 and 1934 as well as undated advertisiements. A scrapbook labeled as Mr. Greenwood's advertising and merchandising portfolio consists primarily of photographs of window displays and products. The window displays are from stores across the United States, including Burlington, Vermont; Louisville, Kentucky; Wichita Falls, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Huntington, West Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; Burlingame, California; Beverly, Massachusetts; Mobile, Alabama; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Atlantic City, New Jersey and Albany, New York. There are some materials relating to Mother's Day, including a short paper on the history of the holiday which states that the first observance was in Philadelphia in 1908. In addition, there are candy wraps, point of purchase displays, correspondence and a Good Housekeeping Bureau of Foods Sanitation and Health certificate from 1932. A second scrapbook of correspondence, advertisements, order forms, newsletters, and newspaper clippings dates from 1950-1952. There is also a fact book dated 1954 and an undated product book. Lastly, there is an undated photograph of Stephen Whitman.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
From a small Philadelphia waterfront shop, known as a "confectionery and fruiterer shoppe," grew the longest continuously operating confectioner, Whitman's Chocolates. Stephen F. Whitman, the founder, wanted to create a boxed chocolate that could rival expensive imports in taste and quality. He got the idea from traveling sailors who often brought to the shop imported fruits, nuts and cocoa obtained during voyages. The sailors wanted the company to create confections similar to those in Europe. Whitman's produced the first pre-packaged candy in 1854. Shortly before the Civil War the company began advertising in newspapers. In 1877, Whitman's introduced Instantaneous Chocolates in tin boxes. The Whitman's Sampler was introduced in 1912 and used cellophane as part of the packaging. In 1946, Whitman's and General Electric created a refrigerated display case to store products at cooler temperatures and to extend the selling season.
With slogans like, "A Woman Never Forgets the Man Who Remembers," Whitman's became one of the first American businesses to promote nationally the romantic notion of gift giving. In the 1950s, Hollywood celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor and Bob Hope, began appearing in the advertisements for Whitman's products. Whitman's Chocolates was purchased by Pet Incorporated in the early 1960s in an attempt to expand its food business. Pet Incorporated sold the Whitman's brand to Russell Stover Candies in 1993.

Separated Materials
The Division of Home and Community holds artifacts related to this collection, including packaging for some of its products. See Accession #1992.0017.
Processing Information
Collection processed by Stacy Coates, 1991.
Stacey Coates
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Whitman's Chocolates, through Robert J. Dizutti, 1991, November 13.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Whitman's Chocolates Collection of Print Advertisements, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Reproduction fees for commercial use. Copyright status of items varies.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.

Related Materials
Materials related to Stephen F. Whitman & Son are located in the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana (AC0060).

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
advertising -- Food Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chocolate processing Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business records -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chocolates -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
advertising -- Confectionery Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chocolate industry -- History -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012