Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Charlotte Cramer Sachs Papers

Collection ID:
Sachs, Charlotte Cramer, 1907-2004
bulk 1940-2002
Physical Description:
4 Cubic feet
13 boxes
Papers relating to Charlotte Cramer Sachs's life and career as an inventor mainly of food and household-related products: correspondence, photographs, business papers, awards, patents, printed materials, notes, and miscellany. The collection primarily consists of invention-related marketing materials including invention samples and prototypes, notes, clippings, business correspondence, and customer account records.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The records are divided into two series. Series 2 is further divided into eight subseries.
Series 1 documents the inventor's creativity through her artistic, literary, and musical records. Also included are awards and certificates received and materials related to her childhood home. This series contains few photos of Cramer Sachs herself, although a print of one of her paintings, "Portrait of a Lady," circa 1953, seems to be a self-portrait. There are no photos of her husband or daughter in the collection. Also missing is any information related to the inventor's formal education, childhood, the circumstances of her departure from Berlin, marriage, and family life.
Materials in Series 2 constitute the bulk of the collection and are primarily comprised of marketing ephemera, with very few financial and production records. This series gives a broad outline of Cramer Sachs's many inventions documenting Joy Products and wine-related inventions in the most depth.
Series 1: Creative and Artistic Papers, 1933-2002
These records include sheet music, songbooks, stories, and poetry of the inventor's own creation; photographic prints of her artwork; art exhibition materials; publishing company (Crambruck Press) records and published materials; childhood residence ("Haus Cramer") materials, and awards and certificates unrelated to inventions. Artwork and songs make up the bulk of the materials, and are arranged alphabetically by subject. Records in this series provide a context for Cramer Sachs's career as an inventor, although they do not reveal extensive information regarding her personal life or history.
Records relating to artwork include press releases, exhibition photographic prints and negatives, promotional materials, newspaper clippings, notebooks compiled by Cramer Sachs, as well as donation records of artworks given by the inventor to The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.
Crambruck Press publishing company is a combined name which incorporates the inventor's surname, Cramer and mother's maiden name, Bruck. These records include a pre-publication notice and order form for a Crambruck Press publication, correspondence from a donor, as well as three Crambruck Press publications: From Boring Dinosaur to Passionate Computer by Livingston Welch, 1968; Poems by Helen H. Shotwell, 1970; and In Search of Harmony by Charlo, 1964.
Haus Cramer materials include photographs, newspaper clippings (many of them in German), correspondence between Cramer Sachs and Stanford University, and floor plans of the house designed in 1912 by German architect Hermann Muthesius. A framed black-and-white photographic print of Haus Cramer is fragile and is housed in a sink matte, box 9.
Poetry materials, songs, and stories are contained in bound books, published songbooks, original sheet music, and copyright records for song words, manuscripts written by Cramer Sachs, as well as correspondence records related to her writings. The song "With Love From New York" was used in the marketing of "Joy New Yorkshire Pudding Mix," and the records contain a vinyl recording which doubles as a marketing piece. Allusions to her husband, Alexander Sachs, and daughter, Eleanor, are found in some of her songs and stories.
Translation materials are comprised of correspondence (mostly in German), as well as Cramer Sachs's complete English translation of the "Stoffel Flies Across the Ocean" story, originally written in German by Erika Mann, circa 1932.
Series 2: Invention Records, 1905-2002
Invention Records contain information related to Cramer Sachs as an inventor and are divided into eight subseries. Materials include: patent related records; samples and prototypes; marketing and advertising materials; newspaper and magazine clippings; business correspondence records; customer account records; Wine Museum materials; and patent searches. These present a broad overview of Cramer Sachs's many inventions, although the majority of information is concentrated in the Household/Office, Food Products, and Wine-related series. Records are arranged chronologically by invention. The final subseries contain patent searches requested by the inventor.
Subseries 2.1: Cramer Products Company and Affiliate Company Records, 1942-2002
Materials include financial records, business correspondence, company awards and certificates, real estate materials, license agreements with outside inventors, a promotion prospectus for the company, and three company stamps (three dimensional). Also included are records of an invention for which Cramer Sachs sought copyright, "Orthodontic Device," 1954, and those having to do with products distributed—not invented—by Cramer Products Company, "Forster Longfresh," 1985. In addition, there are black-and-white photographic prints of an office opening which include images of Cramer Sachs in 1967. These records are arranged chronologically.
Subseries 2.2: Household/Office Records, 1913-1972
These records relate to seven different inventions, each with varying degrees of information. "Combination Key and Flashlight," 1940 was an improvement on previous patents and therefore consists of the earlier patent materials (1913 and 1938), Cramer Sachs's patent application materials, an official, sealed patent application (1940), prototype drawings, correspondence records related to manufacturing and distribution, photographic prints, and a newspaper article. "Cozi-Crib," 1958 and 1968, and "Joy Originals Log Cabin Furniture Set," 1957, records include marketing materials whereas "Holdit," 1972, and "Party Platter," 1962, are minimally represented by one or two photographic prints. "Gaitray" materials consist of four product samples. Materials for "Miracle Knee Tray," circa 1953 include marketing ephemera, a photograph, and two product samples. A prototype for the "Traypron," 1954, is also included. These records are arranged alphabetically by invention name.
Subseries 2.3: Food Products, 1940-1969
Records in this subseries are mostly comprised of Joy Products prepared mix materials. Two exceptions are the small, fragile recipe book, 1940, and the "Caviodka," 1962, records. Business correspondence materials contain those from a food and equipment consultant, the Colgate-Palmolive Company, and Arthur Colton Company, in addition to those relating to the incorporation of Cramer Sachs's "baking mix manufacturing plant" (1945). There are numerous packaging samples of various Joy Products, along with handwritten recipes and notes. An example of early packaging for Joy Products "Early American Muffin Mix" is in flat box 10. This subseries also includes customer surveys and comments, marketing plans and proposals, advertisements, and a marketing portfolio compiled by the inventor. A scrapbook contains Joy Products newspaper clippings, advertisements, marketing ephemera, and photographs of store displays. The scrapbook pages are extremely brittle and are housed in sleeves. Preservation copies are available for research use. These records are arranged chronologically.
Subseries 2.4: Pet Accessories, 1953-1954
This subseries consists of materials relating to three inventions: "Bonnie Stand," circa 1953-1954; "Guidog," 1953; and "Watch-Dog," 1953. Records include photographic prints, marketing materials, printing blocks (for "Bonnie Stand"), as well as a declaration of invention for, and a product sample of, "Watch-Dog." These records are arranged alphabetically by invention name.
Subseries 2.5: Games, 1961-1969
The inventor created two games: "Domi-Notes," circa 1961 and "Musicards," circa 1969. "Domi-Notes" materials include an order form citing the distributor as G. Schirmer, Inc. and the addressee as Walter Kane and Son, Inc., and three games two in cardboard boxes, (fragile) and one housed in the original hard plastic case. Records relating to "Musicards" consist of two game samples including directions for playing.
Subseries 2.6: Wine-Related, 1966-2002
Wine-related records cover twenty distinct inventions and range from specialty cabinets—which make-up the bulk of the materials—to bottle accessories such as the "Bottle Bib" and the "Cramanna Bottle Ring." The type and number of records vary, with the majority concentrated in the "Cool-Safe," "Cramarc Multiple Cabinet," "Modern Wine Cellar," and "Well Tempered Systems" folders. Records in invention-specific folders are arranged alphabetically and include marketing materials, press releases, photographic prints and some negatives, cabinet drawings, brochures, order forms, correspondence, as well as product samples of "Bottle Bibs."
Customer account records are arranged alphabetically and consist of billing statements, invoices, receipts, blueprints, correspondence, cabinet drawings, customer feedback, bills of lading, and memoranda. Letters from David H. Wollins laud Cramer Sachs's cabinet as "the finest home wine storage system in the world." Examples of how the inventor handled an unsatisfied customer can be found in the Col. Charles Langley folder.
Miscellaneous wine-related materials follow the customer account records. Included are advertising ephemera, photographs, and newspaper clippings originally assembled into a binder by Cramer Sachs. Taped to the inside front cover was a cut-out from a magazine advertisement which reads, "If you stick with the herd, you could end up as a lamb chop." Miscellaneous materials also include unlabeled cabinet drawings, photographic prints, competitor materials, photocopies from Grossman's Guide to Wines, Spirits, and Beers, as well as marketing materials and newspaper clippings covering a range of wine-related inventions. These records are arranged alphabetically by subject.
The final section of the wine-related subseries documents the development and eventual dissolution of The Wine Museum of New York. Records are arranged chronologically and include a provisional charter; an extension of the provisional charter; a newspaper clipping; outreach correspondence; a binder of wine museum materials including brochures, event invitations, exhibition opening cards, board member profiles, a press release, and newspaper clippings; wine museum exhibition information; and records related to the dissolution of the museum.
Subseries 2.7: Temperature and/or Humidity Controlled Devices, 1968-2002
This subseries documents the inventor's temperature and/or humidity controlled inventions that do not relate to wine. Cramer Sachs created the "Well Tempered Cabinet" for both wine and musical instruments; it is documented in this and the wine-related subseries. These records cover eight distinct inventions which range from specialty cabinets for musical instruments, furs, and cigars to devices designed to cool the body. Records relate to marketing, invention-specific business correspondence, confidential information and competition agreements, and include photographic negatives and prints. Miscellaneous cabinet drawings, cigar-related materials, and newspaper articles are also included. Records are arranged alphabetically by invention name followed by miscellaneous materials.
Subseries 2.8: Patent Searches, 1905-1980
Records in this subseries include correspondence as well as copies of several patented inventions for which Cramer Sachs requested information.

Tha collection is arranged into two series.
Series 1: Creative and Artistic Papers, 1933-2002
Series 2: Invention Records, 1905-2002
Subseries 2.1: Cramer Products Company and Affiliate Company Records, 1942-2002
Subseries 2.2: Household/Office, 1913-1972
Subseries 2.3: Food Products, 1940-1969
Subseries 2.4: Pet Accessories, 1953-1954
Subseries 2.5: Games, 1961-1969
Subseries 2.6: Wine-related, 1966-2002
Subseries 2.7: Temperature and/or Humidity Controlled Devices, 1968-2002
Subseries 2.8: Patent Searches, 1905-1980

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Charlotte Cramer Sachs was born in Berlin, Germany on September 27, 1907. Her father, Hans Siegfried Cramer, worked as a businessman for a successful grain import and export company whose innovative enterprises included the import of soy beans from Eastern Europe. In 1903, Hans married Gertrud Bruck, one of the first women to attain her Abitur, somewhat similar to an American high school diploma, at age eighteen. Bruck's formal education ended there, as her wish to attend university was thwarted by her father Adalbert, a judge who insisted that she remain at home. The couple settled in Berlin and had two children—Frederick H., born March 2, 1906, and Charlotte. From 1913 to 1924 The Cramers lived in the Berlin Dahlem suburb occupying "Haus Cramer," a villa built in 1912 to their specifications by German architect Hermann Muthesius.
On September 12, 1924, Cramer Sachs married Donald Samuels, a top executive of the Manhattan Shirt Company and moved to New York from England where their daughter Eleanor was born on June 11, 1926. Several years later, the couple divorced. Mother and daughter lived together in London for a few years before moving back to New York around 1936. Charlotte's parents relocated to New York at the same time, after a brief stay in London following their flight from Berlin after Hitler's rise to power. In August 1945, Charlotte Cramer married Alexander Sachs, a leading economist who had introduced Albert Einstein to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and acted as advisor to the President.
Although she established her business career in America, Cramer Sachs retained fond memories of the house and extensive grounds in Dahlem. In 1977 she composed the song "A Salute to Berlin" to commemorate the designation of Haus Cramer as one of the city's historic landmarks. In 2000, she donated a painted portrait of herself from the time she had lived in Haus Cramer to the villa's new owner, Stanford University. The house retains additional significance in the context of this collection because Cramer Sachs credited its wine cellar—unusual in that it provided a separate, climate controlled environment for red and white wines—as an inspiration for her line of custom-built, vibration-free wine storage devices, which would later make Cramer Products Company a household name among wine connoisseurs.
While she did not attend university her pursuit of learning continued throughout her life as she studied poetry, musical composition, and the fine arts. Cramer Sachs often told her niece, Lilian Randall, that she wished she had received further education, although her public art exhibitions, poetry awards, numerous original songs, the establishment of Crambruck Press (her own publishing company), as well as language fluency in French, English, and German, are testaments to this inventor's intellectual curiosity and development. Evidence of Cramer Sachs's entrepreneurial spirit surfaced in her early thirties with her first patent: Improvements in Combined Key and Flashlight, July 16, 1940, patent number 2,208,498.
In 1940, Cramer Sachs completed courses from the New York Institute of Dietetics, an effort spurred by the onset of her daughter's diabetes. With financial assistance from her parents in the early 1940s, Cramer Sachs developed Joy Products prepared mixes, marking the beginning of a successful career in inventing. "We were a pioneer in that field," said Cramer Sachs of her baking mix manufacturing company, an operation that consisted of a Bronx neighborhood factory employing ninety workers. The enterprise began with corn muffin and popover mixes and expanded into frostings, puddings, and breads. Newspaper clippings from the time promoted Joy packaged mixes as ideal gifts for "the boys overseas" who were in locations where it was "impossible to get together the makings of a cake." Cramer Sachs refused an early offer to sell her mix formulas which were subsequently copied and exploited by larger, more powerful companies. Joy Products, whose name was chosen to express the inventor's delight in creativity, remained in business as a modest one-woman operation for over twenty years before succumbing to competition.
Cramer Sachs created another highly successful invention, the specialty wine cabinet, more than twenty years after she founded Joy Products. In addition to her memories of visits with her father to the wine cellar in her family's German villa, further motivation came from an interest—though she hardly drank it at all—in wine and recognition that "standard cooling and refrigerating appliances [were] too cold for wines." Reportedly, Cramer Sachs "started looking for [an appropriate device] and could not find one," and thus the impetus to invent took shape. The "Modern Wine Cellar," 1966, was an early example of over twenty wine-related inventions, most of them storage devices. A mention of her product in Grossman's Guide to Wines, Spirits, and Beers, increased demand among wine lovers and may have prompted Cramer Sachs to state that she "should find a good market" for her newest invention line. Testimony from David H. Wollins, a successful New York lawyer and customer of Cramer Sachs, lauded the cabinet as "the finest home wine storage system in the world." She framed his letter and hung it in her office at 381 South Park Avenue, her base operation where she employed one or two part-time helpers from the 1960s until her death in 2004.
The inventor took great joy in music, expressed in her own numerous compositions and her creation of the games "Domi-Notes" and "Musicards" in 1961 and 1969. Her fondness for music also prompted the expansion of her specialty cabinets to include temperature and humidity controlled devices for storing a variety of items, most notably the "Well Tempered Cabinet for Musical Instruments," which Cramer Sachs first designed for legendary violinist Isaac Stern. Soon the inventor began producing similar cabinets for the storage of cigars, furs, and documents.
Described by her niece as "shy with people but a great admirer of talent, intellect, and humanity," Cramer Sachs also "harbored a great love for animals." She invented several pet accessories in the early 1950s, including: "Watch-Dog," a dog collar with a time piece; "Bonnie Stand," a holder fashioned to accommodate disposable food bowls; and "Guidog," an early version of a retractable dog leash.
In 1972, Cramer Sachs suffered the loss of her only child, Eleanor, and in the summer of the next year her husband Alexander passed away. She continued her "business of creating new product ideas" for the remainder of her life. The most recent invention materials represented in the collection are those for the "Conservator" from 2002, a temperature and humidity controlled device with compartments to store a variety of items. In her last telephone conversation with her niece, on March 10, 2004, Cramer Sachs expressed her hope that she would feel "strong enough to get to the office the next day or so." The inventor died the following day at the age of 96.
Patents issued to Charlotte Cramer Sachs:
United States Patent: 2,208,498, "Combined Key and Flashlight," July 16, 1940
United States Patent: 2,509,423, "Wedge Heel Shoe," May 30, 1950
United States Patent: 2,808,191, "Lap Tray," October 1, 1957
United States Patent: Des. 363,618, "Cabinet," October 31, 1995

Leslie Schuyler
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were donated to the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History in the spring of 2005 by Lilian Randall (niece), Erich Cramer (nephew), Aileen Katz (niece), Elisabeth Weissbach (niece), and John Cramer (nephew).
Processing Information
Processed by Leslie Schuyler, 2005; supervised by Vanessa Simmons, archivist; finding aid revised by Julie Pepera, February, 2006.
Custodial History
Erich Cramer, nephew of Charlotte Cramer Sachs, was in custody of the records prior to their donation.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives.
Preferred Citation
Charlotte Cramer Sachs Papers, 1905-2002, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials in Other Organizations
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Related materials on husband Alexander Sachs's political and professional life found in the Papers of Alexander Sachs
Art Gallery of Ontario, E. P. Taylor Research Library and Archives, Toronto Ontario, Canada
Correspondence between Cramer Sachs and Sam and Ayala Zacks dating from the 1970s and relating to Zionist art found in the Sam and Ayala Zacks Fonds.
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Drawings & Archives Collections Haus Cramer architectural records and papers, 1911-2004, (bulk 1911-1955)
This collection primarily contains original and reprographic architectural records, photographs, correspondence and personal and professional records related to the design, construction, and ownership of the Haus Cramer in Dahlem, Berlin, Germany, designed by German architect Hermann Muthesius in 1911-1913 for Hans and Gertrud Cramer, with later additions by Muthesius and other architects. A significant portion of the collection also documents the Cramer family's efforts to obtain restitution after World War II for the seizure of the house in the 1930s. Also included are records documenting the restoration and reuse, an effort led by noted architectural historian Julius Poesner.
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
Cramer papers, 1938-1954
Cramer, Frederick Henry, 1906-1954; historian and college teacher. Mount Holyoke College faculty member, 1938-1954. Papers consist of writings, biographical information, and photographs; primarily documenting his scholarly activities and his interest in automobile racing.
German Historical Institute
Charlotte Cramer Sachs in the Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present.
The collaborative research project Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present sheds new light on the entrepreneurial and economic capacity of immigrants by investigating the German-American example in the United States. It traces the lives, careers and business ventures of eminent German-American business people of roughly the last two hundred and ninety years, integrating the history of German-American immigration into the larger narrative of U.S. economic and business history.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Advertisements Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Awards Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baked products Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business records -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Food mixes Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventors -- 20th century -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notes Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Patents Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Patent applications Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sheet music Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wine -- Storage Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women inventors Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women inventors -- 20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Works of art Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cramarc Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cramanna Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Crambruck Press Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cramer Products Company Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Joy Originals Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Joy Products Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sachs, Alexander Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Samuels, Donald Personal Name 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