Chocolate Rabbits and...Elephants!
The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes a catalog from the company that first created a popular Easter candy called Marshmallow Peeps. The trade catalog is entitled Chocolate Covered Cocoanut Cream Easter Eggs and Easter Specialties, from the R. E. Rodda Candy Company of York, Pennsylvania. Marshmallow Peeps are not included in this catalog, but it does show their line of decorated chocolate in the shape of eggs, crosses, bunnies, elephants, and other animals. They even created a chocolate covered rabbit playing a guitar and bunnies decorated as cowboys and golfers. The company also produced “The Celebrated” Jelly Egg, known as “The Jelly Egg with the Real Jelly Center.”
According to the Just Born, Inc. website, R. E. Rodda Candy Company was acquired by Just Born, Inc. of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1953. R. E. Rodda Candy Co. had been making Peeps by squeezing marshmallow through pastry tubes by hand. It took them 27 hours to make just one Marshmallow Peep! Just Born decided to automate the process, and today each Peep takes only six minutes to make. Besides the chick-shaped Peep for Easter, they also come as a heart for Valentine’s Day, a ghost or pumpkin for Halloween, and a snowman for Christmas.
Happy Easter from Smithsonian Libraries! —Alexia MacClain