These photos of the Founders of Cleveland's Sweetest Day were first published on page two of the Sweetest Day Section in The Cleveland Plain Dealer on October 8, 1922.
The images show the photos of the 12 Candymakers who "Arranged the Details of The Sweetest Day in the Year and Planned It's Success." The Candymakers' names are (from left to right) C.R. Canter, A.E. Barton, R.T. Fuller, J.J. Wilsdon, R.H. Sheehan, W.A. Katzenmeyer, A.A. Sarouch, Louis Hahn, W.J. Nichols, C.C. Hartzell (chairman of the "Sweetest Day in the Year Committee"), L. Narwood, and L.E. Gruber. The caption at the top of the page reads: "Eat Candy as a Portion of Your Daily Meal and Enjoy the Best of Health." The sub-headline below the caption reads: "Cleveland Committeemen Who Arranged the Details of the Sweetest Day of the Year and Planned It's Success." Under the photos of the Founders of Sweetest Day is an article written by The Commissioner of Health from New York City, Royal S. Copeland M.D. (later U.S. Senator from New York). The article is entitled "Eat Candy As Part Of Meal And Be Happy." Below the headline is a caption which reads: "Love of Sweets is an Inborn Instinct, and Craving Should be Satisfied, Since Nature Expresses Her Bodily Needs Through Demands of the Stomach."
Also on page two of the Cleveland Plain Dealer's October 8th, 1922 Sweetest Day Section are Sweetest Day advertisements for 12 companies, which include: The Edward M. Becker Candy Company, The Euclid Candy Company, MacKenzie's Candy Company, The Hoffman Ice Cream Company, DeKlyn's Chocolates, Winger's Cut Rate Drug Store, The Wm. M. Hardie Candy Company (Two Factories in Cleveland), The Kelly Peanut Company, The Max Glick Candy Company, Standard Drug Stores (sixteen locations), and Troughton's Sugar Jar Candies.
Digital scan courtesy of The Cleveland Public Library.
Sweetest Day is an observance celebrated primarily in the Great Lakes region and parts of the Northeast United States on the third Saturday in October. Once known as a day to spread love and cheer to the unfortunate, this popular holiday in the northern U.S. is now known as a day to show affection to the man in your life. It is described by Retail Confectioners International as an "occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember not only the sick, aged and orphaned, but also friends, relatives and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed."Sweetest Day has also been referred to as a "concocted promotion" created by the candy industry solely to increase sales of candy.
The twelve Cleveland committeemen who planned Cleveland's Sweetest Day, as published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer on October 8, 1922.
Although it is rumored that the holiday was begun by Hallmark during the recession of 1982, a happier story of the origin of Sweetest Day is frequently attributed to candy company employee Herbert Birch Kingston as an act of philanthropy. However, Bill Lubinger, a reporter for The Plain Dealer, contends that "Dozens of Cleveland's top candy makers concocted the promotion 84 years ago and it stuck, although it never became as widely accepted as hoped." The Cleveland Plain Dealer's October 8, 1921 edition, which chronicles the first Sweetest Day in Cleveland, states that the first Sweetest Day was planned by a committee of 12 confectioners chaired by candymaker C. C. Hartzell. The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee distributed over 20,000 boxes of candy to "newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor" in Cleveland, Ohio. The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee was assisted in the distribution of candy by some of the biggest movie stars of the day including Theda Bara and Ann Pennington.
There were also several attempts to start a "Sweetest Day" in New York City, including a declaration of a Candy Day throughout the United States by candy manufacturers on October 8, 1922. In 1927, The New York Times reported that "the powers that determine the nomenclature of the weeks of October" decreed that the week beginning on October 10, 1927 would be known as Sweetest Week. On September 25, 1937, The New York Times reported under Advertising News and Notes that The National Confectioners Association had launched a "movement throughout the candy industry" to rank Sweetest Day with the nationally accepted Mother's Day, Father's Day, and St. Valentine's Day. In 1940, another Sweetest Day was proclaimed on October 19. The promotional event was marked by the distribution of more than 10,000 boxes of candy by the Sweetest Day Committee. The candy was distributed among 26 local charities. 225 children were given candy in the chapel at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children on October 17, 1940. 600 boxes of candy were also delivered to the presidents of the Jewish, Protestant and Catholic Big Sister groups of New York.
Sweetest Day now largely involves giving small presents such as greeting cards, candy, and flowers to loved ones. While it is not as large or widely observed as Valentine's Day, it is still celebrated in parts of the United States, despite persistent allegations of being a "Hallmark holiday."
Retail Confectioners International describes it as "much more important for candymakers in some regions than in others (Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo being the biggest Sweetest Day cities)". In 2006, Hallmark marketed 151 greeting card designs for Sweetest Day. American Greetings marketed 178.