{ subscribe_url:'//blogs.loc.gov/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/inside_adams.php' }

Featured Advertisement: Cracker Jack

On this day in 1918 the featured Cracker Jack ad appeared in Washington, D.C.’s Evening Star suggesting folks ship the treat to troops overseas for Thanksgiving. The fine print in the middle of the ad states:

Cracker Jack is a favorite with soldiers and sailors everywhere. They learned to love it before the war, and now nothing brings memories of happy boyhood days like this Famous Food Confection.


Evening star. (Washington, D.C.), 23 Nov. 1918. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Having been a huge fan of “this famous food confection” as a kid, I was surprised to learn it had been around so long. Apparently, the product was first introduced in 1893 by brothers Frederick and Louis Rueckheim at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (Jaramillo, p. 8).

The recipe had originally called for popcorn, molasses and roasted nuts, however at the Exposition less-expensive peanuts were used instead (Smith, p. 85).   The origin of the name “Cracker Jack” most likely came from the popular slang term of the time describing something as “first-rate or excellent” (p. 86).

So, as you enjoy your favorite confections tomorrow, be sure and have a crackerjack day!

Works Cited

Jaramillo, Alex. Cracker Jack Prizes. New York: Abbeville Press, 1989.

Smith, Andrew F. Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1999.

Start now, Shop Early for Christmas! (1918 edition)

Black Friday, which has marked the beginning of the Christmas shopping season for decades, is not until the day after Thanksgiving, but every year it seems that the Christmas shopping season comes earlier and earlier. This year, in some stores Christmas displays have appeared in September! However, this isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon — the […]

Give the Gift of Music

Giving musically themed gifts at Christmas has been popular for a long time, as you can see from this 1915 advertisement for Victrolas. The Victor Talking Machine Company, maker of the Victrola, was founded in 1901 by Eldridge R. Johnson to manufacture machines specifically designed to play the disc records Emile Berliner had patented. In […]

Seeing American Enterprise at the Smithsonian

A new exhibit at the Smithsonian – American Enterprise in the Innovation wing of the National Museum of American History – is telling the history of American business and innovation.   According to the Smithsonian, this exhibit “chronicles the tumultuous interaction of capitalism and democracy that resulted in the continual remaking of American business–and American life.” […]

Featured Advertisement (card): Aunt Sally Baking Powder

Advertising cards, also known as trading or trade cards, originated in 18th century England and made their way across the Atlantic. They were very popular in the Victorian era and functioned somewhat like a modern business card would today. They are highly collectible and offer a pretty window into advertising and companies in the 19th […]

Battling with the Scale: A Look Back at Weight Loss Trends in the U.S.

As we enter this new year, many of us have made resolutions to spend more time with family, to volunteer, perhaps to stop smoking, and of course, to get fit and lose weight. The widespread desire to become healthier and shed those extra pounds is met with a plethora of weight loss products, programs, and […]

Featured Advertisement: Shop Early and Make it Something Electrical

In July 2013 we published a post that featured an advertisement from the New York Edison Company. In it were a series of stylized characters doing a number of activities illustrating the usefulness of electricity. It turns out this was just one of many advertisements over several years that used similar illustrations. The image in […]

Featured Advertisement: a 1914 Thanksgiving Shoppers Guide

Every Thanksgiving people stock up on the food and ingredients they will need for their feasts.  Because retailers want shoppers, and their goal is to let people know what they have and what deals are to be had, special fliers are run in newspapers and commercials are aired on television. This advertisement from the Rock […]

King of Winter Sports

For the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Games I wrote about an exhibit I created of ‘classic’ winter sport and game books (1800-1950) in the post  He Shoots, He Scores: A Love of Winter Games. In this post I mentioned that the Library has been involved in digitization of its pre-1923 U.S. monograph imprint collection. Over the […]