Peanut Butter in Victorian America

Peanut Butter in Victorian America… that is to say, A Victorian Canadian Invention.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America: Illustration of vintage silver butter knife.

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Although I recall stories of peanut butter (P.B.) in history, it’s possible they’re fictional.

The more I learn, the more I view history books with skepticism. Despite improvements in recent decades to fairly represent historical happenings, “facts” are often prejudiced and distorted. For example, I was taught George Washington Carver invented peanut butter (false!).

How can we know what is TRUE about P.B. history and what is not? Primary sources seem  trustworthy, yet newsmen lied (or believed false information) in the 1870s as they do today. In addition, some publications liberally created news when weather disasters prevented transmission of legitimate news. Nevertheless, it’s possible to construe answers based upon myriad vintage sources.

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Kristin Holt | Quote: "Just becuase someone says something does not--cannot--make it true." ~ Mothers Everywhere

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America; image: vintage illustration of a silver butter knife

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Is P.B. a 19th Century Development, Or Not?

To verify, I’ll share several newspaper clippings from vintage publications and the original United States Patent for peanut butter.

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Farmers grew goober peas in the United States

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Snip from The Daily Commonwealth of Topeka, Kansas, August 23, 1871. Peanuts are grown upon the sand hills of Cowley county, and with little labor. (Peanuts are grown in Kansas.)

Peanuts grown in Arkansas City, Kansas, published in The Daily Commonwealth of Topeka, Kansas on August 23, 1871.

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Featured at the U.S. Universal Exposition

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Peanut butter was first sold in the United States at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis by C.H. Sumner.  He sold $705.11 of the “new treat” at his concession stand.

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~ National Day Calendar: National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day- March 1

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The Universal Exposition in St. Louis was an annual fair hosted by the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association, 1855 through 1902. As preparations were underway for the 1904 World’s Fair (also in St. Louis), this annual fair closed. [Paraphrased from Wikipedia: Saint Louis Exposition]

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19th Century Inventors

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… Modern peanut butter, its process of production and the equipment used to make it, can be credited to at least three inventors.

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In 1884 Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Canada patented peanut paste, the finished product from milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces. In 1895 Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (the creator of Kellogg’s cereal) patented a process for creating peanut butter from raw peanuts. He marketed it as a nutritious protein substitute for people who could hardly chew on solid food. In 1903, Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis, Missouri, patented a peanut-butter-making machine.

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~ National Peanut Board

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Photograph of George Washington Carver. Canadian phramacist Marcellus gilmore Edson was granted a US Patent for peanut butter manufacturing 12 years before George Washington Carver began his famous work. (Source: reddit)

Photograph of George Washington Carver. Canadian pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson was granted a US Patent for peanut butter manufacturing. When? 12 years before George Washington Carver began his famous work. [Source: Reddit]

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Photograph: John Harvey Kellogg, MD. (Image: Wikipedia)

John Harvey Kellogg, M.D. (pictured h ere at about 29 years of age). Kellogg was an also a nutritionist, inventor, health activist, and businessman. “Kellogg is best known today for the invention of the breakfast cereal corn flakes, with his brother, Will Keith Kellogg.” (Image: Public Domain) [source: Wikipedia]

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United States Patent No. 306727

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Image: United States Patent No. 306727, for the method of creating peanut butter, awarded to Marcellus G. Edson of Montreal, Quebec, Canada (1884).

Image: United States Patent No. 306727, for the method of creating peanut butter, awarded to Marcellus G. Edson of Montreal, Quebec, Canada (1884).

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These original sources answer the question with a YES.

Yes, peanut butter belongs in Victorian America.  Or perhaps to Victorian America. (At least as far as these samples suggest.) Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America; image: vintage illustration of a silver butter knife

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Educating Housewives (1897)

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: All about Peanuts, Part 1 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897.

All About Peanuts, Part 1 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897.

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: All about Peanuts, Part 2 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897.

All About Peanuts, Part 2 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897. (Suggestions for peanuts, including additions to

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: All about Peanuts, Part 3 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897.

Part 3 of 8 (All About Peanuts), published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897. (Peanut paste recipe continued, peanut meringue shells, and peanut croquettes)

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: All about Peanuts, Part 4 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897.

Part 4 of 8 (All About Peanuts), published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897. (Peanut croquettes recipe continued, salted peanuts, and peanut soup recipe)

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: All about Peanuts, Part 5 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897.

All About Peanuts, Part 5 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897. (peanut jumbles recipe)

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: All about Peanuts, Part 6 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897.

All About Peanuts, Part 6 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897. (a mayonnaise-based peanut salad, peanut wafers recipe)

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: All about Peanuts, Part 7 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897.

Part 7 of 8 (All About Peanuts), published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897. (peanut candy, peanut caramel)

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: All about Peanuts, Part 8 of 8, published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897.

Part 8 of 8 (All About Peanuts), published in The Ozark County News of Gainesville, Missouri on February 11, 1897. (another peanut candy, dinner bonbon, peanut coffee [a coffee substitute!])

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America; image: vintage illustration of a silver butter knife

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Uses for the Goober Pea

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Recipe for Peanut Puree. From The Baltimore Sun of Baltimore, Maryland. October 10, 1894.

Peanut Puree Recipe, published in The Baltimore Sun of Baltimore, Maryland on October 10, 1894.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Peanut Sandwiches Instructions/recipe. From The Buffalo Enquirer of Buffalo, New York. January 3, 1895.

Peanut Sandwiches, The Buffalo-Enquirer of Buffalo, New York on January 3, 1895.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Products of the Peanut. Newspaper article from The Washington Standard of Olympia, Washington. November 11, 1898.

Products of the Peanut, The Washington Standard of Olympia, Washington on November 11, 1898.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Recipe for Duchesse Potatoes using Peanut Flour. From The Kansas Patron of Olathe, Kansas. December 1, 1898.

Recipe for Duchesse Potatoes using Peanut Flour. The Kansas Patron of Olathe, Kansas on December 1, 1898.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: Peanut Products,, Part 1 of 2. From The Watchman and Southron of Sumter, South Carolina. April 19, 1899.

Peanut Products, part 1 of 2. The Watchman and Southron of Sumter, South Carolina on April 19, 1899.

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Newspaper Article: Peanut Products,, Part 2 of 2. From The Watchman and Southron of Sumter, South Carolina. April 19, 1899.

Peanut Products, Part 2 of 2. The Watchman and Southron of Sumter, South Carolina on April 19, 1899.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Peanut Paste Cookies Recipe from The Times of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. February 3, 1900.

Recipe: Peanut Paste Cookies, published in The Times of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 3, 1900.

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…and buy it commercially prepared

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Purity Peanut Paste advertisememnt in News-Journal of Mansfield, Ohio. March 30, 1900.

Purity Peanut Paste advertised in News-Journal of Mansfield, Ohio on March 30, 1900.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Peanut Uses, referencing the United States crop in 1899. Bulk of the crop is from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. From Melvin Transcript of Melvin, Illinois. May 18, 1900.

Peanut Uses, referencing the United States crop in 1899, where the bulk of the crop is from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. Melvin Transcript of Melvin, Illinois on May 18, 1900.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Peanut Scotchies, a new candy.. with slight flavor of butterscotch. Looks like a buttercup candy, and is filled with peanut paste. From The Los Angeles Times on June 16, 1900.

Peanut Scotchies Candy, advertised in The Los Angeles Times of Los Angeles, California on June 16, 1900.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America. Image; Photograph of peanut butter in a blue-rimmed stoneware bowl. (Freepik.com; used with paid subscription)

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America -- National Peanut Butter Day Jan 24

January 24: Wikipedia

United States National P.B. Day

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National P.B. Lover’s Day

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Which would you acknowledge?

National Peanut Butter Day? Or National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day? In other words, are you a P.B. fan?

Invitation: Scroll down, by all means, and reply.

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Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America; image: vintage illustration of a silver butter knife

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Other “National Days”

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January 27: National Chocolate Cake Day, as an illustration.
Kristin Holt | Victorian Baking: Devil's Food Cake~ Not What You Think! Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

February 23: National Banana Bread Day, indeed.Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Banana Bread. Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

April 7: National Coffee Cake Day, in addition.Kristin Holt | Vintage Coffee Cake- Victorian Recipes. Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

April 23: World Book and Copyright Day, accordingly.
Kristin Holt | World Book and Copyright Day (April 23). Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

aApril 30: National Oatmeal Cookie Day, as an example.Kristin Holt | Victorian Oatmeal Cookies. Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

June 5: National Gingerbread Day, in other words.
Kristin Holt | Victorian Gingerbread Recipes (on June 5, National Gingerbread Day). Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

June 20: National Ice Cream Soda Day, to clarify.Kristin Holt | June 20th: National Ice Cream Soda Day- Not your Victorian Ice Cream Sodas.

July 6: International Kissing Day, albeit.

July 6: National Fried Chicken Day, after all.Kristin Holt | Victorian America's Fried Chicken. Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

jJuly 9: National Sugar Cookie Day, as an illustration.
Kristin Holt | Sugar Cookies in Victorian America. Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

July 30: National Cheesecake Day, at the same time.Kristin Holt | Victorian Cheesecake??? Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

September 17: National Apple Dumpling Day, to demonstrate.
Kristin Holt | Victorian Apple Dumplings. Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

October 13: National Yorkshire Pudding Day, most importantly.Kristin Holt | Victorian Fare: Yorkshire Pudding. Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

November 26: National Cake Day, on the other hand.Kristin Holt | Vintage Cake Recipes with Frosting. Related to Peanut Butter in Victorian America.

December 4: National Cookie Day, on the contrary.

December 30: National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, nevertheless.

Kristin Holt | Peanut Butter in Victorian America; image: vintage illustration of a silver butter knife

Updated July 2019
Copyright © 2018 Kristin Holt LC