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Missouri State Archives
Guide to African American History

Record Group 005: Office of the Secretary of State, Commissions Division, Trademarks (1893-Present)

Many late nineteenth century and early twentieth century companies used stereotypical images of African American men and women and black culture to market products. Placed in historical context, researchers can better understand the racial motivations behind these trademarks and the marketing culture.

#2592 "Old Mammy's Brand," filed 17 November 1911 by the Scottsburg Canning Company, manufacturer of canned goods in Scottsburg, Indiana. "The essential features of the trade mark consist of the words "OLD MAMMY'S" with the picture of the Old Mammy.," the company explained on its application.

#2707 "Porter's Favorite Polish," filed 20 January 1913 by George E. Ragan Supply Company, Kansas City, Missouri. The application describes the trademark as ".a negro porter in the act of polishing a bar fixture showing faucets."

#6117 "Cream of Wheat," filed 30 June 1930 by The Cream of Wheat Corporation of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A ".negro chef dressed in white coat and cap holding a steaming bowl" was the company's description of its trademark.