For the Love of Mary Jane
by Laurnie Wilson
Mary Jane for Everyone
Let’s face it. At this point in our lives, it’s pretty hard to find someone who hasn’t tasted a Mary Jane. They’re the adorably delicious candy that is almost impossible not to enjoy. There’s just something about that cute little girl on the wrapper that makes you want to smile and then grab another. But who is that little girl anyway? And what is she doing on the wrapper? Read on to find out everything you ever wanted to know about one of America’s favorite sweets.
Birth of a Legend
Unique to the candy world, this peanut butter and molasses candy has always been in a league of its own. And how long has that league existed, you ask? Well, since 1914, to be exact! So happy 100th birthday, Mary Jane!
Way back in 1914, a man by the name of Charles N. Miller invented this sticky, sweet treat. He originally made the candies in his Boston home. This home also happened to have a history of its own, as it was the very same home that Paul Revere owned almost 150 years earlier! Now how about that for a historically minded candy?
What’s In A Name?
But what about that cute little girl? What about Mary Jane? One story says that Mary Jane was Miller’s favorite aunt. Now that’s sweet, isn’t it? I’ve never met an aunt who wouldn’t want a soon-to-be-popular candy named after her. But the story doesn’t end there.
Another story says that Mary Jane was also the name of a girl in a popular comic strip at the time. Miller couldn’t resist the free advertising his candy would get if he gave it the same name and so he created the “favorite aunt” story to prevent a lawsuit. Now that’s quite an interesting tale to unwrap, isn’t it?
Mary Jane Lives On
Whatever the case, this bite-sized treat (which now comes in a longer bar size!) has been pleasing sweet tooths ever since. Nowadays, Mary Janes are made by Necco in Revere, Massachusetts. And believe it or not, since they contain no dairy, eggs, or gluten, they might just be one of the first health-conscious candies around. Who knew? You may not have before, but now you do.