Today in History: July 23
The Ice-Cream Cone
I give Bette the church money for the family, but I do my own charity work myself, so I can see where my money goes. I like to send the ragged little boys who hang around the shop to the movies occasionally, and give them money for ice cream cones to cool them off in summer.
"Growing Up with the Automobile,"
Charleston, South Carolina,
Rose D. Workman, interviewer,
February 10, 1939.
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
On July 23, 1904, according to some accounts, Charles E. Menches conceived the idea of filling a pastry cone with two scoops of ice-cream and thereby invented the ice-cream cone. He is one of several claimants to that honor: Ernest Hamwi, Abe Doumar, Albert and Nick Kabbaz, Arnold Fornachou, and David Avayou all have been touted as the inventor(s) of the first edible cone. Interestingly, these individuals have in common the fact that they all made or sold confections at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, known as the St. Louis World's Fair. It is from the time of the Fair that the edible "cornucopia," a cone made from a rolled waffle, vaulted into popularity in the United States.
Another claimant, Italo Marchiony, actually received a patent in 1903 for a device to make edible cups with handles. However the patent drawings show the device as a molded container rather than the rolled waffle seen at the Fair. Although paper and metal cones were used by Europeans to hold ice cream and pita bread was used by Middle Easterners to hold sweets, the ice-cream cone seems to have come to America by way of "the Pike" (as the entertainment midway of the St. Louis World's Fair was called).
As for the origins of ice-cream, an equal amount of folklore abounds. In the fourth century B.C., the Roman Emperor Nero apparently ordered ice be brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings. Although legend has it that Marco Polo brought back to Europe a Chinese method for creating an ice and milk concoction, recent scholarship indicates that if he did bring back such a recipe, it was probably not from China but from elsewhere along his route. Over time, recipes for ices, sherbets, and milk ices evolved and were served in the fashionable Italian and French royal courts. After the dessert made its appearance in the United States, it was served by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Dolley Madison. It also was set out for guests at the inauguration of Andrew Jackson.
The use of ice mixed with salt to lower and control the temperature of the mix of ingredients proved a major breakthrough in the creation of ice cream as we know it. The invention of the wooden bucket freezer with rotary paddles facilitated its manufacture at home, making ice-cream a staple of kitchens across the land.
A Baltimore company first produced and marketed wholesale ice-cream in 1851. The treat became both distributable and profitable with the introduction of mechanical refrigeration. The ice-cream shop or soda fountain has since become an icon of American culture.
Indulge your taste for the heavenly cream with the American Memory collections:
- Enjoy the parody, "Molly Guzzled the Ice Cream" from the collection America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets. This ditty, coined by the pseudonymous"Professor" was intended to be sung to the tune of a popular tear-jerker of the time,"Mother Kissed Me in My Dream," available online in Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920.
- Learn to sing another popular nineteenth-century song, "I Scream; or, Ice Cream" found in Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885.
- View images of ice cream parlors and soda fountains of yesteryear:
- Several photographs of Zaharako's Ice Cream Parlor, which opened in 1900 in Columbus, Indiana, are available in the collection Built in America: Historic American Building Survey/ Historic American and Engineering Record, 1933-Present.
- View the photograph captioned In the Days When You Could Buy a 5-Cent Ice Cream Soda in the collection The Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920: Photographs from the Fred Hultstrand and F. A. Pazandak Photograph Collections.
- Find more images of ice cream in the following collections:
- America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI Photographs, ca. 1935-1945
- Washington as It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959
- Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920
- Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America: Photographs by Samuel Gottscho and William Schleisner, 1935-1955
- Listen to a debate on the economic potential of an ice cream sale in Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941.
- Thomas Jefferson's Recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream, one of several recipes acquired while he was ambassador to France in the 1780s, is featured in American Treasures of the Library of Congress. Find more historical culinary treasures in the Imagination section of the exhibition.
- Search on ice cream in American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940 for topical stories and recollections. For example, let Anna Potter Davis tell you about dating and making ice-cream.
- Explore additional resources about ice cream compiled by the Library’s Science Reference Section.
- For those who fancy an ice cream-and-coke "float," see the Today in History feature on Coca Cola. Then see more of that famous soda fountain drink in Fifty Years of Coca-Cola Television Advertisements: Highlights from the Motion Picture Archives at the Library of Congress.
Dud Leaves Home
Dud wants to buy his girlfriend Maime an ice cream cone, so he breaks open his mother's bank and splits her last dime in half in the process. His mother punishes him, so he runs away. Dud is scared by imaginary ghosts in the dark, so he runs back home where he gets a spanking from his mother.
The Origins of American Animation documents the development of early American animation. The collection includes twenty-one animated films and two fragments which span the years 1900 to 1921. The films features clay, puppet, and cut-out animation, as well as pen drawings.
Roman Catholic Cardinal James Gibbons, champion of labor and advocate of the separation of church and state, was born to Irish immigrants in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 23, 1834. Not long after his birth, Gibbons' ailing father moved the family back to Ireland at his doctor's suggestion. After his father's death in 1847, Gibbons' mother decided to move her family back to the United States. On their harrowing journey, their boat was shipwrecked in the Bahamas, but the family eventually reached its destination of New Orleans in 1853.
In 1857, Gibbons entered St. Mary's Seminary, the oldest seminary in the United States, to study for the priesthood. (St. Mary's was founded in 1791 by the Sulpicians, a community of diocesan priests that originated in France in 1641; its sole mission is to educate fellow priests.) He was ordained in Maryland in 1861. During the Civil War he served as a volunteer chaplain at Fort McHenry and Fort Marshall. He next spent nine years as a missionary in the South where he interacted with many different types of people. These formative experiences led to his famous exposition of Catholic doctrine, Faith of Our Fathers.
Gibbons was esteemed within the Catholic Church and was appointed to positions of increasing importance. He became vicar apostolic of North Carolina at the age of thirty-two and bishop of Richmond in 1872. In 1877 he was appointed coadjutor to the archbishop of Baltimore and titular archbishop of Ionopolis (Janopolis). Five months later, following the death of the archbishop of Baltimore, Gibbons became the head of the oldest archdiocese in America.
On June 30, 1886, Pope Leo XIII named Archbishop Gibbons the second American cardinal. (The first American cardinal, Archbishop John McCloskey, was named by Pope Pius IX in 1875.) Gibbons became the first chancellor of the Catholic University of America in 1889.
An ardent proponent of American civic institutions, Cardinal Gibbons frequently lauded democracy, calling the U.S. Constitution the finest instrument of government ever created. In his communications with church leaders in Rome, he and "the Americanizers" championed the benefits of the separation of church and state. After the Canadian branch of the Knights of Labor was declared incompatible with the Roman Catholic faith, Gibbons convinced the pope to support the laborers.
Gibbons was known to several presidents. He was a frequent visitor to the Cleveland White House. President William Taft honored Gibbons for his contributions at his 1911 golden jubilee celebration of his ordination as a priest. In 1917, President Theodore Roosevelt hailed Gibbons as the most venerated, respected, and useful citizen in America.
Consecrated in 1821 and designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the first Roman Catholic cathedral built in the United States is a beautiful example of the classic Revival style.
The American Memory collections are rich in materials on religion in America.
- Search the Today in History Archive on Catholic to find more features on the history of Roman Catholicism in the United States, such as the founding of the colony of Maryland and the inauguration of Patrick Francis Healy as president of Georgetown University. Also search on the names of other religious groups to find features on significant events in the history of these groups in America, such as the establishment of the first Jewish community and the first synagogue in America; William Penn's founding of the first Quaker colony in America; Roger Williams' championship of freedom of worship and his founding of the Rhode Island colony; and Brigham Young's establishment of the Mormon community in Utah.
- Search on Catholic church, Catholic missionary, cardinal, or priest, to find items in the American Memory collections related to the history of Catholicism in the United States. See, for example, a Catholic Church at the Manzanar Relocation Center in "Suffering under a Great Injustice": Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar.
- Learn more about the early history of Catholics in America, as well as the history of other religious persuasions in this country. See "America as a Religious Refuge: The Seventeenth Century," part of the online exhibition Religion and the Founding of the American Republic.
- Built in America: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historical American and Engineering Record, 1933-Present includes many photographs of the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States and the first Catholic seminary founded in the United States as well as photos and drawings of Fort McHenry.
- View two films from the collection Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film in which Cardinal Gibbons makes a brief appearance during President Roosevelt's 1918 Liberty Loan campaign in Baltimore.
- Find an Irish song to sing. Search on Irish in California Gold: Northern California, Folk Music from the Thirties Collected by Sidney Robertson Cowell, Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920, or in The Library of Congress Presents… Music, Theater & Dance, the Library's performing arts digital library.