Sunday, May 16, 2010

Samantha's Ice Cream Dress

In Happy Birthday Samantha (1987), Samantha and her friends, Agatha and Agnes, make ice cream using a wooden ice cream freezer. They poured ice and salt on the outer rim and then put the ice cream ingredients in the center container and stirred with the crank handle. American Girl created a miniature replica that really makes ice cream. (I'll post photos later.) The ice cream freezer model with the crank handle was probably invented in the 1840s.

In a reprinting of Happy Birthday Samantha, American Girl editors actually changed the illustration, so there's a couple versions of the dress. You can compare at Emily's book comparison website or look at the more specific illustration from 1998.

American Girl never created Samantha's ice cream outfit from the illustration. So I bought this custom copy from Heritage4, based on the 1987 illustration. It's very well made.

Here's more about the history of ice cream.

I thought it was interesting that in the 19th century Augustus Jackson, an African American in Philadelphia, made a fortune selling ice cream and confections. I doubt he was the first person in America to make ice cream, as ice cream (or some form of it) was written about by Americans" throughout the 18th century. I would be willing to credit Jackson though for being a very successful businessman in the Philadelphia area, during a time period when African Americans could not even vote.

I wonder if anyone has seriously tried looking in the census or other official records for Augustus Jackson name. But here's an interesting article to be taken with a grain of salt...

"Augustus Jackson, a Philadelphia Negro, was the first to make America's favorite frozen confection--ice cream--according to the records in the possession of citizens living in the City of Brotherly Love. In 1832 there were five Negro confectioners in Philadelphia. One of them was Jackson, know in his day and time as 'the man who invented ice cream.' He also was a caterer. For an extended period he enjoyed a monopoly of the sale of this dessert. He demanded $1 a quart, and had no difficulty selling all he made...The Jackson establishment was in what was then known as Goodwater Street, now St. James, between Seventh and Eight streets. After his death his daughter continue the business for several years on Walnut street, near Tenth street. Members of the Jackson family, with their limited facilities, were unable to meet the public demand for ice cream, and other confectioners and caterers, principally Negroes, began making it to their financial advantage."
"Phily Citizen Was First Maker of Ice Cream," Lester A. Walton, The Pittsburgh Courier, May 19, 1928 (p. 12)

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