Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ad: Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix

1917 Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix
 I was poking around the internet and I found this 1917 ad for Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix.  Honestly I liked it because it is a glimpse into how much social and racial attitudes have changed.  Of course the year is 1917, December to be exact.  We have a picture of absolute domestic bliss over the breakfast table.  Husband remarks to wife, "Dear it's absolutely splendid the Allies are still dukeing it out toe to toe with Hun.  Why father and I have made a fortune off War orders but that damned Wilson had to go muck it all up by throwing in with the Allies.  Now damn it all I've been drafted!  Head out for training tomorrow to Bayonne. But I know my clever little bride will keep things going while I am gone."

The "clever little bride" of course is staring into the flowers thinking "Gods!  if he calls me a 'clever little bride' one more time I swear I'm going to stick this fork right in his eyeball."  Ok, so I made all that up but dear me it is fun to tag such silly conversations on these old ads.  Noteworthy words in the ad are of course the real conversation where the husband comments that "Surely only the old time cooks of the South (read negroes) know how to make pancakes such as these."  It also remarks how the bride knows "Cook is no genius".  Yes back then we had to prove ourselves as masters of the human race by keeping negroes stupid and in the kitchen... times have changed.  In the lower right corner is an ad for the Aunt Jemima family rag dolls.  Only 4 box tops and 17 cents.  I went casting around the internet and finally came up with a picture:

They were printed on high quality fabric and ready to stuff.  Ready to stuff?  With what? Spanish moss? Shredded Paper?  No, what else to stuff a gross ethnic stereotype doll of a negro with than cotton.  Aunt Jemima was there in her calico glory as was Uncle Mose and "those cunning little pickaninnies" Diana and Wade Davis.  Funny nowadays they would probably be named Shanee'qua and Tyrone.  The dolls changed over the years and were eventually removed from the market due to changing racial attitudes.  Aunt Jemima herself has survived both as the pancake syrup and pancake mixes despite many tries to take her off the packaging.


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