Everything has a story, and it is the mission of the American Treasure Tour blog to explore all of the stories of the world one by one – at least so long as they somehow connect to our collection. Today, we explore the story of something important, something without which life would be a little sadder, and without which we might all be a little thinner. We refer to jellybeans. But not just any jellybeans – the most funnest and tastiest jellybeans ever. Jelly Belly. Jelly Belly started out an idea of immigrants. Gustav Goelitz traveled from Germany to Belleville, Illinois in 1866 and began his own confectionary business. Followed by brothers Albert and George, mellowcremes were their first product, which soon morphed into candy corn (inspired by Philadelphian George Renniger). Gustav’s son Herman moved to California and opened his own candy company, and he explored the jellybean and gummy bear markets.
In 1965, something called the Mini Jelly Bean was first introduced, a tiny bean full of flavor. The next year, the governor of California tried one, an act of distraction against the temptation of cigarettes. His name was Ronald Reagan and he thanked the Herman Goelitz Company for helping keep the government running. In 1976, the Jelly Belly got its name by a candy and nut distributor named David Klein, inspired by the blues musician Lead Belly. Klein also came up with the red and yellow logo that dominates the tummy (a.k.a. belly) of our happy red fella hanging in the Toy Box, introduced in 1983 and affectionately, if unimaginatively, named Mr. Jelly Belly.