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Wish You Were Here…

Postcards such as this one were used to promote Milton Hershey's model industrial town.
Postcards such as this one were used to promote Milton Hershey’s model industrial town.

The early 1900s saw a surge of popularity for postcards. The hobby of collecting picture postcards became the greatest collectible hobby that the World had ever known. The official figures from the U.S. Post Office for their fiscal year ending June 30, 1908, cite 677,777,798 postcards mailed. At that time the total population of the United States was only 88,700,000.

Hershey Chocolate Company took advantage of the popularity of postcards by designing and printing a series of specially sized cards. These cards were included with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate 5 cent bars. The postcards were first included beginning about 1909 and continued until 1918. At first the cards featured images of the Chocolate Factory and dairy farms.

Later town attractions such as Hershey Park, Swatara Creek, The Homestead and Chocolate Avenue were featured. The cards enabled Milton Hershey to advertise the quality of his milk chocolate and promote the town as a destination. They also became a popular bonus for consumers of his best-selling product. Over 88 different designs were developed over the years. Hershey’s sophisticated printing equipment made it cost effective to print the cards. Large quantities were printed. The local paper, the Hershey Press, (also printed in house), reported that one year 75 million cards had been printed for inclusion with Hershey’s milk chocolate bars. Originally the cards were printed in black and white. Later a green tint was added and finally the cards were printed in 4 colors. All of the cards included the phrase “Home of the Hershey Chocolate Company.”

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