Founded by Benjamin Heller, whose family practiced sausage-making for generations, Chicago-based B. Heller & Co. began in 1893 as a wholesale manufacturer of dry powders used in the preparation of meat products. Eager to take advantage of new developments in food science and chemistry as well as his skills as a salesman, Benjamin Heller was the quintessential American entrepreneur. Over the years, the company expanded into the manufacture of a variety of food ingredients, as well as insecticides, cleaning agents, and a broad range of kitchen and office supplies. The company continues today as Heller Seasonings & Ingredients, a wholesale supplier based in Chicago.
The B. Heller & Co. Collection was assembled by Americana collectors Sally and Herb Loeb; Benjamin Heller was Sally Loeb's grandfather. The Loebs presented a collection of sample labels, publicity material, business records and photographs to the University of Chicago, which also acquired a selection of packaging materials. This exhibition features a sampling from the B. Heller & Co. Collection, which is a marvelous resource for students of advances in food technology, as well as developments in product marketing and design in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Maija Anderson, Processing Archivist
Robin Secco, Archives and Manuscripts Accessions Manager
Special Collections Research Center