aunt jemima cookie jar

 

All About the Name Jemima


Random House dictionary says the word "Jemima" is a female name originating from the Hebrew word for dove.

Historical use of the name is scarce until the late 19th century when it is was picked up the name for Aunt Jemima products, and in particular a depiction of a black woman.

MooseRoots indicates the name was used in England in the early 1700s. Otherwise, it has been rarely used. In the US about 35 babies per year are given this name.

According to trademark filings by Quaker Oaks, the initial use of "Aunt Jemima" for a product was on November 27, 1889. The first time "Aunt Jemima" was trademarked for a product was in 1890 by the Aunt Jemima Manufacturing Co. in St. Joseph, Missouri.

The product was self-raising flour and the picture looks strikingly similar to what we still see on products today:



We found an uncited reference to this original product name and depiction being taken from traveling minstrel shows of the time and their depiction of a black woman.

The initial use of "Aunt Jemima" for pancake mix comes from a 1917 trademark filing by the Aunt Jemima Mills Company Corporation in St. Joseph, Missouri.

This trademark depiction, though, has not carried on to modern times.



The successor to the Aunt Jemima Mills Company was the Quaker Oaks Company.

In 1936 Quaker Oaks significantly modified the trademark for the Aunt Jemima look across a variety of products:



In 1969 Quaker Oaks declared that the name "Aunt Jemima" is fanciful and did not represent any particular person.

In 1991 Quaker Oaks significant modified and modernized the Aunt Jemima look again:



Recent uses of the name include:

  • Character in the musical Cats

  • Jemima Puddle-duck as a character in the Beatrix Potter children's books

  • Character in book "Vanity Fair"

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