Author! Author: Chicago’s Sweet Candy History

November 13th, 2012by Gary JohnsonFiled under: Stories

President’s Commentary, November 2012:


Leslie Goddard.  Chicago’s Sweet Candy History. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing (2012). 

At its peak, Chicago produced one third of America’s candy. Curtiss, Brach, Tootsie Roll, Leaf, Wrigley, and Mars were the big-name manufacturers, but there were many smaller companies, too. This book uses historical images to tell the story of Chicago’s candy makers and their brands. One Chicago candy tycoon deserved greater attention. German-born Charles F. Gunther, who lived from 1837 to 1920, is best remembered not for the candy he manufactured in Chicago, but for what he did with the profits. An avid private collector, Gunther opened a museum in 1889 using building materials from Libby Prison, a former Confederate facility in Richmond, Virginia. Its greatest treasure was Lincoln’s deathbed, which Gunther had purchased in 1877. The acquisition of Gunther’s large collection spurred the Chicago Historical Society to build a new building in 1932. Those artifacts remain an essential the visitor’s experience at the Chicago History Museum. See what the profits from caramel can do?

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