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SPAM Introduced

On July 5, 1937, the Hormel Foods canned meat product SPAM came on the market. While it remains the target of many jokes, SPAM has been enormously popular since its introduction. Because it was easy to ship, SPAM became common fare for World War II soldiers. After the war, a musical group of 60 women dubbed the “Hormel Girls” traveled the United States to perform and advertise SPAM. The meat remains enormously popular today in Hawaii and Guam, and in 1998 the SPAM packaging became part of the Smithsonian Institution collection.

The Factoria Supermarket in Bellevue, Washington, with a sign advertising SPAM in the window, ca. 1955. Image courtesy of the Eastside Heritage Center

Opening History includes items throughout its collections documenting the history and traditions of food in the United States. In particular, HEARTH (Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, and History) at Cornell University offers a large selection of home economics journals.

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