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1909 Ad Genesee Pure Food Jell-O Child Birthday Party - ORIGINAL ADVERTISING GH2

1909 Ad Genesee Pure Food Jell-O Child Birthday Party - ORIGINAL ADVERTISING GH2

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This is an excellent original 1909 black and white print ad promoting JELL-O from Genesee Pure Food Company located in Le Roy, New York.


This 102+ year old Item is rated Near Mint / Very Fine. Light aging throughout. No creases. No natural defects. Some light surface rub. No tears. No water damage. There is some bleed through visible on this ad.

  • Product Type: Original Print Ad; Black / White
  • Grade: Near Mint / Very Fine
  • Dimensions: Approximately 6.25 x 9.25 inches; 16 x 23 cm
  • Authentication: Serial-Numbered Certificate of Authenticity w/ Full Provenance
  • Protection: Packaged in a custom archival sleeve with an acid-free black board (great for display, gift-giving, and preservation)


The Jell-O brand was inspired by the gelatin compound, a protein that is created by collagen when it is extracted from boiled bones, connective tissues and animal intestines. Gelatin first became popular during the Victorian period when jelly molds were a crowd pleaser, especially among the high class. Initially, the gelatin compound was sold in sheets and required purification, which proved to be a time consuming task.

Peter Cooper (builder of the first American steam-powered train) received a patent for his powdered gelatin in 1845. However, after little success in promoting and selling his product, Cooper finally sold the patent (almost forty years later) to Pearle B. Wait, a cough syrup manufacturer and carpenter in LeRoy, New York. In 1897, Wait and his wife May decided to enhance the powdered product by adding strawberry, orange, lemon and raspberry flavoring. Unfortunately, Wait also experienced great difficulty in making the gelatin a success; thus, in 1899, he sold the business to Francis Woodward of WoodwardÕs Genesee Pure Food Company. Woodward decided to take a more aggressive approach to selling the gelatin and, in 1902, he advertised the product in the LadiesÕ Home Journal with the tagline ÒAmericaÕs Most Famous Dessert.Ó Such a tagline created public interest in what they had not known was something so popular and delicious. While the ads generated some success, Woodward had not created the gelatin giant he had hoped for; thus, two years later Woodward employed an army of salesmen to go door to door distributing free Jell-O cookbooks, a breakthrough marketing tactic at the time. Within the next ten years, Woodward began featuring famous celebrities in his advertisements, including opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink and actress Ethel Barrymore. Some celebrities even incorporated their own Jell-O recipes, as well as testimonials about the product.

In 1923, the company introduced an artificially sweetened adaptation of its Jell-O called D-Zerta. During the 1930s, there was a prevalence of chilled salads in American cooking and, in attempts to appeal to the masses, Jell-O created lime flavor to its line. By the 1950s, the chilled salad craze exploded and Jell-O added flavors including Celery, Seasoned Tomato, Mixed Vegetable and Italian. The uncommon flavorings have since been discontinued.

In 1934, comedian Jack Benny became the Jell-O spokesman. Also, around this time Jell-O employed advertising agency Young & Rubicam, who came up with the famous musical jingle ÒJ-E-L-L-O.Ó

In 1936, Jell-O came out with their line of pudding, which included such flavors as Butterscotch, Egg Custard, Flan, Tapioca, Vanilla, Chocolate, Pistachio, Coconut and Rice.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the company removed the unsuccessful flavors from shelves, while adding more exotic tropical flavors like pineapple-grapefruit and black-raspberry.

In 1974, Bill Cosby signed on as the new Jell-O spokesperson, and remained such for almost thirty years. During CosbyÕs Jell-O reign, he aided in the introduction of a variety of Jell-O products, including Sugar-Free Jell-O, which had replaced the D-Zerta brand, Jell-O Jigglers, frozen Jell-O Pops and more.

Since 2008, the Jell-O brand has sold more than 150 products.

Interesting Fact:

Green Jell-O was deemed the ÒOfficial State SnackÓ of Utah by Governor Michael O. Leavitt in 2001. Certain souvenir pins from the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City featured green Jell-O.

Copyright 2016, Period Paper LLC

This piece was illustrated by O'Neill, Rose. Artist signature in print - embedded in image.

Keywords specific to this image: jelly, gelatin, sweets, dessert Vintage Advertising