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#AceHistoryDesk – Today in History – Dr. John S. Pemberton, a pharmacist and inventor of patent medicines, sold the first Coca-Cola on May 8, 1886, at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia.
Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, coined the name and it is his handwriting we recognize as the Coca-Cola trademark. Originally marketed as a tonic, the drink contained extracts of coca leaf, which includes cocaine, as well as the caffeine-rich kola nut.
We Ought To Serve A Little Something.
Any Coca-Cola ‘Round Here?
“A Happy Family.” Rev. T.A. Snyder, interviewee; Mattie Jones, interviewer; West Columbia, SC, 1939. American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940.Manuscript Divisionnone
By the late 1890s, Coca-Cola was one of America’s most popular fountain drinks. With another Atlanta pharmacist, Asa Griggs Candler, at the helm, The Coca-Cola Company’s servings of the beverage increased from one million to one hundred million between 1890 and 1900. Advertising was an important factor in Pemberton and Candler’s success, and by the turn of the century, the drink was sold across the United States and Canada. Around the same time, the company began selling syrup to independent bottling companies licensed to sell the drink. Even today, the U.S. soft-drink industry is organized on this principle.
Until the 1960s, both small town and big city dwellers enjoyed carbonated beverages at the local soda fountain or ice cream parlor. Often housed in the drug store, the soda fountain counter served as a meeting place for people of all ages. Often combined with lunch counters, the soda fountain declined in popularity as commercial ice cream, bottled soft drinks, and fast food restaurants came to the fore.
- The Zachary Taylor Papers contain approximately 650 items dating from 1814 to 1931, with the bulk from 1840 to 1861. The collection is made up primarily of general correspondence and family papers of Taylor (1784-1850), with some autobiographical material, business and military records, printed documents, engraved printed portraits, and other miscellany relating chiefly to his presidency (1849-1850); his service as a U.S. Army officer, especially in the 2nd Seminole Indian War; management of his plantations; and settlement of his estate.
- A Guide to the Mexican War compiles links to digital materials related to the Mexican War that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site.
- Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music ca. 1820-1860 contains more than forty items relating to Zachary Taylor from marches celebrating military victories to music (funeral dirges, songs, and marches) composed on the occasion of his death.
- Search the collections of Prints, Photos, Drawings to find more than one hundred images related to Zachary Taylor.
- Zachary Taylor: A Resource Guide compiles links to digital materials related to Taylor such as manuscripts, letters, broadsides, government documents, and images that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site.
- Search across the Library’s collections of photos, prints, and drawingsfor an overview of the impact of Coca-Cola on society.
- Reminders to drink Coca-Cola dot the landscape as seen in photos of outdoor advertising found in the Duke University Libraries collection Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920.
- Ice cream sodas or floats are one way to enjoy Coca-Cola and another American favorite, ice cream. Read the Today in History feature on the ice cream cone, a treat that vaulted to popularity after being sold at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
- Use Thomas Jefferson’s Recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream available via the exhibit American Treasures of the Library of Congress. Explore additional resources about ice cream compiled by the Library’s Science Reference Services.
- Prefer something a little stronger with your soda? Learn to sing and play Charles E. Pratt’s arrangement of the 1871 homage “Soda and B,” part of the collection Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870 to 1885.
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