How sweet is this?
Priscilla Wegers, copy editor for my magazine, recently gave me this sweet little box of Mary Jane taffy. Now made by Necco, the company that gave us Necco Wafers, Clark Bars, and more, this candy has been around since 1914, first manufactured by the Charles N. Miller Company. It was a favorite penny candy sold in general stores in the first half of the 1900s.
I’d seen the individually wrapped little nuggets of peanut-butter taffy chews before, but I hadn’t ever seen the little box. Miller named the candy after his favorite aunt, Mary Jane, and the same illustration of little Mary Jane has appeared on the wrappers since 1914.
According to the Necco website. “Through the years, countless school children learned about the midnight ride of Paul Revere. Those same kids would run out of school to the closest store and buy as many Mary Jane candies as their pocket change would permit. Little did they know, the lesson they just learned and the delicious sweet they were about to unwrap had a common history. Miller got his start by making candies with his father in their Boston home, a home whose previous owner happened to be Paul Revere. And coincidentally, today we make these favorite chews in the Massachusetts city of Revere!”
Thanks for this sweet little piece of Mary Jane history, Priscilla.
I might add that Mary Jane candy is the reason my business name, MaryJanesFarm, doesn’t have an apostrophe or spaces. Mary Jane was already trademarked so I couldn’t be Mary Jane’s Farm or even MaryJane’s Farm. Once I turned all three words into a stylized “logo” of sorts, I was able to use my name, MaryJane, as part of my business name. Also, there’s a Mary Jane Bread, that’s been a mainstay for many years in the South, that I couldn’t infringe upon.
I love this little history lesson, MaryJane! Mary Jane candies were such a big part of the candy culture of my growing up and a staple of Halloween trick or treat give outs. I have never seen the big box, shown here, either. The candy was always just the little nuggets for a penny in some little store. The Mary Jane bread is something I do not ever remember from growing up in Charlottesville. Virginia sort of sits on the fence about being “in the south” , and perhaps this bread was found more in the lower tier states like Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama. Love that wrapper with the little girl on it! Thanks for sharing this fun bit of history and I am going to have to find me a Mary Jane to eat one day soon. It’s been a very long time since I enjoyed one!
I have a little something sitting by the back door to send you. I’ll include a Mary Jane!
Here are the Bakery Locations and its distribution:
Any of these breads ring a bell (all made by Flowers Foods who make Mary Jane Bread)?
Flowers’ top brands include Nature’s Own, Whitewheat, Wonder Bread, Cobblestone Bread Co., Tastykake, Mrs. Freshley’s, European Bakers, and Mi Casa and regional brands that include Merita, Home Pride, Butternut, Country Kitchen, Barowsky’s Organics, ButterKrust, Captain John Derst’s, Evangeline Maid, Sunbeam, Bunny, Mary Jane, Aunt Hattie’s, Holsum, and Mary Jane & Friends.
Yes, Nature’s Own is everywhere here and we had a Wonder Bread Bakery in Charlottesville when I was little. Periodically, they made these promotional mini loaves and Mom would get me one. It made for great tea party sandwiches with stuffed animals or dolls! The other brands I am not familiar with. We see a lot of Arnolds and Pepperidge Farm products.
Looking forward to some Farmgirl Mail that will have a MaryJane to enjoy!!
My oh My! My absolutely, positively, favorite candy,right after the silly named ” Squirrel Nut Zippers”. Very similar candies too. Maryjane candies are very popular here and I can even buy them in bulk in my local food market. We also have in the next town over a wonderful candy and nut outlet store called Weaver’s
heres where you find necco products 🙁 even the Squirrel Nut Zippers! :
They sell all the old fashioned stuff you thought was gone gone gone.They are evidently a huge wholesale operation but this store is where you can buy in smaller amounts. Very fancy nuts roasted on the premises, all your holiday favorites ( go before Easter, Christmas and Halloween to have some flash-from-the-past fun ) When you go in the store everyone is sighing in ecstasy , it’s such fun , especially to see older folk relive their childhoods.
akk -oops dont know where that frowny face came from -im all about happy with this post!
thanks! needed that happy face for a happy talk about a sweet candy
Love the candy! Not familiar with the bread, but then I’m not in or from the South.
Thanks for the “rest of the story”!
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I grew up in the Canal Zone in the Panama Canal area, and I have strong nostalgia for the Enriched Mary Jane White Bread and I finally see it on your site as I remember it as a child. God Bless ! I have been searching but to no avail is the first time I see the bread I ate has a child. We ate it with marmalade, peanut butter and butter. When time was hard it tasted good just plain. How can I get to purchase it or get the recipe, I was born in the 50″s that was wonder bread for me can you help me.
The recipe will be coming out in my upcoming bread book, Wild Bread, available for pre-order to be shipped mid-February, http://shop.maryjanesfarm.org/store/p/1306-Wild-Bread.aspx Thanks!