Focus on the Collections: Museum Archives: The Candy Man (Little's Candy Collection"

How many of our readers remember buying lollipops, clear toy candy, chocolates, and caramel corn from Little's Home-Made Candies booth in the Old Market House, the Wrightstone Market and at the Carlisle Fair? In 2010 the museum accessioned a large donation of Little's candy making equipment from Joanne Bear, granddaughter of Herbert P. Little. The accession is wonderful on two accounts. First, it is a fairly thorough documentation of a home-based candy making business. More importantly, it represents the lifelong love and energy that Herbert poured into his hobby - a side business making candy - as well as the support he received from family and friends.

During the day Herbert delivered laundry for Troy Laundry and Dry Cleaning for three generations of Newville and Carlisle residents. When he retired in 1968 the owner of Troy Laundry described 75 year old Herbert as having more energy than some of the younger men in the company.

This energy was quite apparent even in 1939 when Herbert took a candy making course through the mail and began a sideline candy business. Joanne remembers her grandfather whistling along with the radio while making candy in his basement weekday evenings after working all day. "He always insisted on using only the best ingredients ... real butter, real vanilla, good quality chocolate .... "

The business was definitely a family affair. Herbert made all the candy and his wife Myrtle put sticks on the lollipops, unmolded and wrapped them. She also packed chocolates, bagged peanuts and popcorn. Myrtle and Betty (Joanne's mother) made trips to Harrisburg for packing supplies and helped prepare for the Saturday market. When Joanne was old enough she wrapped lollipops, too.

The Littles offered special candies during the holidays. In November Herbert pulled over 200 clear toy molds out from storage for Christmas. His daughter, son-in-law, and friend Pearl Doyle helped pour countless red, green, and amber candy into various clear toy molds shaped like Santas, reindeer, dancing ladies, teapots, and bears, to name only a few. They also made large stand-alone shapes which included reindeer and Santas. During the Easter season, Herbert made chocolate Easter bunnies and creme-filled Easter eggs which Betty embellished with decorator frosting. Joanne remembers many nights when chocolate eggs and bunnies covered the kitchen table and counters. For Halloween Herbert made taffy apples and lollipop moony faces of clear red hard candy decorated with lifesaver eyes, gum drop noses, and halved lifesaver smiles.

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