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Milton Hershey’s History with The New York Times

After completing his first sugar refinery and railway in Cuba in 1918, Milton Hershey needed to restructure the capital stock of the Hershey Chocolate Company in order to expand his Cuban operations. The day after that was accomplished, on Nov. 13, 1918, Milton Hershey donated 5,000 shares of common stock—the same amount originally issued to form the Hershey Chocolate Company—to the Hershey Trust as trustee for the Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School).

Creating the Trust

Until that time, the funds needed to support the school were supplied by Mr. Hershey. When he established the trust, he did not intend to keep it a secret. However, he did not want any fanfare as recorded in an interview with a long-time Hershey employee.

It was not until five years later that news of this move became common knowledge. The headline in The New York Times, “M.S. Hershey Gives $60,000,000 Trust for an Orphanage” on Nov. 9, 1923 broke the news of Milton’s Hershey’s decision to secure the future of the Hershey Industrial School.

The New York Times article announcing Milton Hershey's trust

Breaking News

Reporters began to visit Hershey, and many other articles were published about the school. It was one of these reporters who converted the 5,000 shares into the dollar figure that surely caught people’s attention. The front-page article in The New York Times gave basic details about the school, Hershey Chocolate Company, and Hershey Cuba. It states Mr. Hershey’s desire that, “during his life he could see it develop as he desired” and “to make the life of the children as homelike as possible.”

Following this first article, The New York Times ran a full-page article titled “HERSHEY, UNIQUE PHILANTHROPIST: His Munificent Gift to Orphan Boys a Long Cherished Idea” in the Nov. 18th Sunday edition. The article included photographs, details about life in the school, and quotes from Milton Hershey.

In 2011, the MHS Department of School History acquired the original Nov. 18, 1923 edition of The New York Times and had it conserved and digitized. Recently, the school acquired the original Nov. 9, 1923 newspaper with the breaking news article on the front page.

It’s the only one in any Hershey collection and just in time for the celebration of the founding of the school on Nov. 15, 1909.

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