Baseball Cards First Sold with Gum?

Did you know that baseball cards celebrated a 150-year anniversary in 2018? In 1868, the first baseball cards were produced by Peck & Snyder, a sporting goods store in New York.

Tobacco companies began including baseball cards with their products in the 1880s. This practice eventually died out because they learned that children were the main audience for the cards—most states prohibited children from purchasing tobacco by the end of World War I.

So, when were baseball cards first included with gum?

H.D. Smith & Company, a Cincinnati company that began in 1856, may have been the first to include a baseball card packaged with gum. An ad that mentions HD Smith & Co.’s products in Leslie’s is dated October 27, 1888. A partial ad reads:

“A novel production of theirs this season is the St. Louis and Detroit Champion Baseball Gum—a piece of gum with a perfect lithograph picture of one of the champion nine of the National League or American Association on each piece. The pictures were made to order in Germany, and are wonders in their way.”

When an auction house came across two baseball cards from 1888, they researched the origin. The players were Sam Thompson and Ned Hanlon. “H.D.S. & Co.” was printed on one of the tabs. Further digging led to the H.D. Smith & Company. If these were printed early in 1888, they believed they might have found baseball cards from the first chewing gum company to include them.

This company manufactured and sold a variety of chewing gums. The “Big Long Chewing Gum” was advertised as “the best paraffine gum made.” They sold a patented medicinal gum called “Cough.” “Red Riding Hood” gum was advertised on ceiling fan pulls.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Blitz, Matt. “How Gum and Baseball Cards Became Intertwined,” Food & Wine, 2019/03/18

“Spectactular 1888 Scrapps Uncut Pair of HOFers – Sam Thompson/Ned Hanlon – SGC Fair 20,” Love of the Game Auctions, 2019/03/18—sa-lot3962.aspx.

“Pictorial history of baseball cards covers 150 years of diamond dandies on cardboard,” Starr Cards, 2019/03/18

Woellert, Dann. Cincinnati Candy—A Sweet History, American Palate, 2017.


Confectioner of the West

Johann Meyer immigrated with his family from Württemberg to the United States in 1804. Unfortunately, sickness claimed the lives of his father, brother, and two sisters during the ocean voyage. Even worse, the family’s belongings were stolen when they disembarked in Baltimore. Then about eleven, Johann indentured himself for eight years to pay his family’s passage. Yet the skills he learned while indentured served him well later in life.

He met his wife while working for a baker in Philadelphia and, in 1817, the young couple moved to Cincinnati where Johann started the city’s first confectionery.

A few years later, Revolutionary War General Lafayette received an invitation from President James Monroe to tour all twenty-four states as the nation’s 50th anniversary approached. Lafayette accepted and his Grand Tour lasted from August of 1824 through September of 1825.

A tour stop in Cincinnati gave Johann the opportunity to create a dessert display for a grand ball held at Cincinnati Hotel, located at the northwest corner of Front and Broadway Streets on the Public Landing

Lafayette arrived by barge in Cincinnati on May 19, 1825. Though the city’s population was then only about 12,000, some 50,000 gathered at the Public Landing on the Ohio River to honor the Revolutionary War hero. Speeches by General William Henry Harrison and Ohio Governor Jeremiah Morrow remarked on the many war patriots that had settled in Cincinnati.

At the grand ball, marzipan figures recreated events from Lafayette’s Continental Army experiences on Johann’s elaborate six-foot sugar pyramid. His amazing dessert earned him the nickname of “Confectioner of the West.”

-Sandra Merville Hart


Engelking, Tama Lea. “The Story Behind CSU’s Lafayette Collection,” Cleveland State University Library Special Collections, 2019/03/18

Icher, Julien. “The Lafayette Trail: Mapping General Lafayette’s Farewell Tour in the United States (1824-1825), American Battlefield Trust, 2019/03/18

Jones, William. “Lafayette’s Visit to the United States, 1824-1825,” The American Patriot, 2019/03/18

Suess, Jeff. “Our history: Hunting for Lafayette almost 200 years later,” Cincinnati Enquirer, 2019/03/18

Suess, Jeff. “Our history: Thousands welcomed war hero Lafayette in 1825,” Cincinnati Enquirer, 2019/03/18

Woellert, Dann. Cincinnati Candy—A Sweet History, American Palate, 2017.

Breakfast Cookies from Libby’s Cuppa Joe

Today’s post is written by friend and fellow author, Rebecca Waters, who is sharing a yummy recipe from her latest release. Welcome back, Rebecca!

 Sonja, the young entrepreneur in my new release, Libby’s Cuppa Joe, is excited to introduce fancy West Coast lattes and biscotti to the people of Door County, Wisconsin. She soon learns her customers simply want a good cup of coffee and a delicious homemade cookie. Sonja’s mother shares the recipe for Breakfast Cookies with her daughter. This soon becomes the signature cookie for the coffee shop.

But Libby’s Cuppa Joe is more than the story of a young entrepreneur. It is the story of forgiveness, love, and second chances.

Breakfast Cookies :Yield: 8 dozen

Cream together

2 C brown sugar

1 C. white sugar

1 ½ C. cooking oil

2 t. vanilla


Add 4 eggs

4 C. flour

2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 ½ C oatmeal

4 C. cornflakes


Mix together well and drop by teaspoonful on a greased cookie sheet

Bake at 350° for twelve minutes or until brown.

-Rebecca Waters

Libby’s Cuppa Joe 

Coffee barista and shop owner Sonja Parker is a single mom on her last leg financially and emotionally when Melissa, a college student comes to work at the Door County store. Melissa, with the help of Kevin Hanson, the young and energetic minister in the area, finally bring the message of God’s love and favor to Sonja. But is it too late? Libby’s Cuppa Joe is about second chances.  It’s about forgiveness and about a grown woman making faith in God her own.


You can use this link to both buy and review the book:  Amazon

Meet Rebecca Waters

Libby’s Cuppa Joe is Rebecca Waters’ second novel, following Breathing on Her Own (2014). She has published three books for writers, Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing, Marketing You 101, and Writing with E’s. Rebecca has published five stories in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books. To learn more about Rebecca or to read her blog, visit her blog.


1870s Advice on Setting Up the Bedroom

The author of Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping advised homemakers to set up the family bedroom on the first floor if it’s not damp.

Use matting as a thin floor covering as it holds less dust than carpet. Wash matting twice a season. To wash, mix a pint of salt into a half-pail of warm water. It’s not clear if the solution was sponged onto the fabric or if the matting was dipped into the water. Dry immediately with soft cloth.

This was the room where the medicine cabinet was kept, though still out of the reach of children. Items such as camphor, mustard, strips of linen, and hot drops (?) were stored in the cabinet, tucked away in case of illness or accident.

A large closet should have low hooks for children to hang their clothes. Provide a box for them to store their stockings. Shoes should be kept in a bag. Teaching children to care for their belongings at an early age should help them to be organized in adulthood.

Blankets should be of soft wool. Cotton comforters require frequent exposure to sun and air, so these should be used cautiously. In the author’s opinion, delaine fabric made the best comforters. Delaine is a high-grade of wool fabric made of fine combing wool.

The author strongly recommended allowing the bedding to lie open for several hours each morning to air it out. Even though many housekeepers want to tidy the bed soon after rising, this was not recommended. Pillows should be aired in the wind, but kept away from sun.

This is probably good news for those who prefer not to make their beds!

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

“Delaine,” Enclyclopedia Brittanica, 2018/12/17

1870s Advice on Exterminating Bedbugs

The problem of bedbugs is not a new one. My dad used to say to us, “Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.” We never had bedbugs but that sure didn’t sound pleasant. It must have been a Southern way to say “good night.”

The author of Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, an 1877 book, gives a few remedies to exterminate bedbugs.

Inspect beds for vermin in July and August. Proper steps should take care of the problem.

  • Scald every crack with hot water, taking care not to damage bed furniture. If the hot water harms the varnish, wet a cloth with oil or turpentine and rub the spot immediately.
  • Another method of extermination is to fill crevices with salt. Wash the bed furniture with either a strong brine (salty water) or kerosene. (Kerosene seems like it would injure the furniture to me.)
  • A third method is to mix 1 part quicksilver to twenty parts egg whites. Using a feather, apply this mixture in every crevice on bed and throughout the room. This will kill bedbugs.

The original author advises that, if any of the above recipes are followed faithfully, the pests will be removed.

I (Sandra Merville Hart) cannot vouch for any of the recipes since I’ve not tried them. I share them because it’s an interesting part of our history. As a writer of historical novels, I’m always on the lookout for fascinating facts to include in my stories. You never know–this fit into one of them someday.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

1870s Tips for Keeping Bugs Out of the Home

Under the heading of “General Suggestions,” I found several interesting tips about keeping bugs out of the home in an 1877 book, Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping.

To keep red ants away, store a small bag of sulphur in a cupboard or drawer.

Having a problem with cockroaches? Sprinkle hellebore (a winter flower also known as a Christmas Rose) over the floor at night. Cockroaches eat the poisonous plant.

To keep moths away: Add 1 ounce of gum-camphor and 1 ounce of powdered red pepper to 8 ounces of alcohol. Mix together and allow it to set for a week and then strain it. Sprinkle clothing with the strained solution then wrap the clothes in strong paper or cloth.

To keep moths out of the carpet, wash the floor with benzine or turpentine before laying the carpet.

Flies on gilt frames? Boil 3 to 4 onions in a pint of water. Brush on the mixture with a soft brush. (I’m assuming it is cooled when applying.)

Alum is crystalline powder used in cooking vegetables and fruits. It is also used in pickling. If you have a problem with ants and other insects, dissolve 2 pounds of alum in 3 quarts of water. Brush hot solution over crevices where ants are found.

Alum is also good to keeping moths away from furs. Dust powdered alum into the roots of the fur.

As a writer of historical novels, I’m always looking for fascinating facts to include in my stories. It’s fun to find out how folks lived and coped with issues a century or two ago.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

“Helleborus niger – Christmas Rose,” Cornell University, 2018/12/22

“Spices,” McCormick, 2018/12/22

Cornbread Recipe from Mingus Mill Cornmeal

On the way to a North Carolina beach last summer, my husband and I planned to spend a few hours in Cherokee. As we neared Cherokee, we saw a sign for Mingus Mill and decided to explore it. The mill is a short walk from the parking lot. We crossed a foot bridge over a beautiful mountain stream to arrive at the still operating mill.

The historic grist mill was built in 1886 at its current location in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The mill, which uses a water-powered turbine, is also a museum where visitors can learn about the milling process.

This beautiful, peaceful place is about two miles from Cherokee and is well worth stopping.

Cornmeal and wheat flour are sold at the mill. What a treat to talk with the miller who had milled the cornmeal that morning. I couldn’t resist the temptation and purchased both. How fun to buy meal and flour that is tied shut with a string!

This week I followed their suggested recipe for cornbread and used it to make cornbread dressing.

The cornmeal makes a heartier cornbread—and more filling. It was hit at a recent family gathering. The remaining cornmeal went back into storage in the refrigerator so we’ll enjoy cornbread another day.

If you are in the area, stop by. The mill is open daily mid-March through mid-November from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

-Sandra Merville Hart


“Mingus Mill,”, 2018/12/26

“Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill,” National Park Service, 2018/12/26

Apple Cider Applesauce

I needed to prepare a side dish, a dessert, and a fruit dish for a recent family dinner. I found a recipe for applesauce in an 1877 book, Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping and decided to try it.

The local grocery store sold several types of apples. I usually choose Granny Smith for pies but didn’t know if that type was best for applesauce. I chose Gala apples. Not only are they my daughter’s favorite brand, but they also are good for cooking and sauces.

Mrs. W. W. W.’s recipe called for enough apples to fill a gallon-sized porcelain kettle. I didn’t need that much so I bought 8 apples.

I heated ½ gallon of apple cider in a large kettle to boiling while I peeled, cored, and quartered the fresh apples. Evidently, I’m pretty slow because the cider began to boil before the apples were all quartered. I turned it off until the apples were peeled.

Wash apples and drain. Then add the fresh fruit slowly into the hot cider. Gently boil on a medium heat.

Mrs. W. advised covering the kettle with a plate and keep it on until done. (This keeps the apples from dropping to the bottom and scorching.) I used a plate instead of a lid, allowing an opening for air to escape so the liquid wouldn’t boil over.

Mrs. W. only said to cook the apples until done. I cooked them about 25 minutes when they were very tender. I think they’d have been fine if removed from heat after 20 minutes.

I set them aside to cool. Then the excess cider was drained from the apples. I left about a cup of cider in the cooked apples—you might like more or less.

I mashed the apples but left them a little chunky. That was the recipe—no sugar or spices. I fully intended to add brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla flavoring.

It didn’t need them. The applesauce tasted sweet and delicious.

I will make this again for my family. Hope your family enjoys it!

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

1870s Recipe for Magic Furniture Polish

Ever wonder what folks used to polish their furniture a century or two ago? I found a recipe for Magic Furniture Polish in an 1877 book, Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping.

Start with a cup of alcohol, which is the only ingredient on this list that I keep at my home.

Add one half ounce of resin. (The gum or sap of some trees, such as pine, produces a yellow or brown substance called resin. It is used in medicine and varnishes.)

Next, a half-ounce of gum-shellac is added. (Shellac is purified lac used in varnishes, inks, and paints. Old phonograph records—78 rpm—contained shellac.)

A few drops of aniline brown are then added to the mixture. I’d never heard of this. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, aniline is a poisonous oily liquid obtained by reducing nitrobenzene.

Let this mixture stand overnight.

The next day, add the final 2 ingredients—12 ounces of raw linseed oil and 1 cup spirits of turpentine. Linseed oil is yellowish drying oil obtained from flaxseed. It’s used in ink, paint, and varnish. Used as a solvent, spirits of turpentine—also called turpentine and oil of turpentine—is distilled resin from trees.

Shake the mixture well before applying with cotton flannel. Rub dry with a different cloth.

My furniture polish doesn’t list ingredients so I don’t know if these have changed over the years. Kind of fun to find out how folks lived a century or two ago.

-Sandra Merville Hart


American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

“Aniline,” Merriam Webster, 2018/12/26

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

“Linseed Oil,” Merriam Webster, 2018/12/26

“Resin,” Merriam Webster, 2018/12/26

“Turpentine,” Wikipedia, 2018/12/26

Lemon Snaps Recipe from 1877

When my sister asked me to bring lots of cookies to her Super Bowl party, I took that as an invitation to try a few old-fashioned recipes. Mrs. E. L. C. of Springfield is the 1877 baker who shared this cookie recipe.

Though the original baker left out a few important details, I’m happy to say that I only had to make this recipe once—and the cookies were a hit! Or since this was for a Super Bowl party, maybe I should say they were a touchdown. 😊

Dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda into 2 teaspoons of hot water. Set aside.

Cream together 1 cup of sugar and 10 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the prepared baking soda.

Mrs. C. simply said to flavor with lemon. I added the zest of 2 lemons, the juice of 1 lemon, and ½ teaspoon of lemon extract to the batter.

Since this was for a Super Bowl party where one of the teams wore yellow, I added yellow food coloring to the batter.

Mrs. C. was another one who advised adding “flour enough to roll thin.” I used 1 ½ cups of flour, blending into the wet ingredients a little at a time.

Lightly flour the counter and rolling pin and then roll out the batter. Cut into desired shapes.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. The cookies flatten while baking so allow room between them. Bake cookies at 350 degrees about 9 – 11 minutes.

Delicious! Wonderful lemony flavor really came through. Guests loved the texture and flavor. If you like lemony desserts, this is the cookie for you.

I’d definitely make these again.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.