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Black and white photograph of a Finnish Stock Company, Ely, 1915.

Finnish Stock Company

Finnish Stock Company, Ely, 1915.

Women on the World War I Home Front

After the United States entered World War I in 1917, Minnesota women, like Americans across the nation, were called to contribute to the war effort. Though some went to Europe and served as nurses, drivers, and aid workers on the battlefields, many more participated on the home front. They took on new jobs, conserved vital resources, and joined volunteer organizations. At the same time, they struggled to come to terms with conflicting ideals of patriotism, loyalty, and what it meant to be an American.

Black and white photograph of a worker packing butter at a creamery in Hawley, c. 1917.

Butter packing at a Hawley creamery

A worker packs butter at a creamery in Hawley, c.1917.

Editorial cartoon, commissioned by the National Cooperative Milk Producers Federation, advocating repeal of the federal tax on oleomargarine and the continuation of the ban on yellow margarine, 1949. Image from the Roy Wier Papers, 1920–1969, Minnesota Historical Society.

A New Policy on Butter and Oleomargarine

Editorial cartoon, commissioned by the National Cooperative Milk Producers Federation, advocating repeal of the federal tax on oleomargarine and the continuation of the ban on yellow margarine, 1949. Image is from the Roy Wier Papers, 1920–1969, Minnesota Historical Society.

Swift’s oleomargarine newspaper advertisement

Newspaper advertisement for Swift & Company, a national meatpacker and margarine producer with operations in St. Paul.

Receipt for illegal margarine seized from a St. Paul grocer, November 8, 1916. From the Davis, Kellogg & Severance Law Firm Records, 1878-1941, Minnesota Historical Society.

Receipt for illegal margarine

Receipt for illegal margarine seized from a St. Paul grocer, November 8, 1916. Image is from the Davis, Kellogg & Severance Law Firm Records, 1878-1941, Minnesota Historical Society.

Cover of a brochure published by Swift & Company, a national meatpacker and margarine producer with operations in St. Paul. From the Davis, Kellogg & Severance Law Firm Records, 1878-1941, Minnesota Historical Society.

Swift’s Jersey Butterine

Cover of a brochure published by Swift & Company, a national meatpacker and margarine producer with operations in St. Paul. Image is from the Davis, Kellogg & Severance Law Firm Records, 1878-1941, Minnesota Historical Society.

Cover of a brochure published by Swift & Company, a national meatpacker and margarine producer with operations in St. Paul. Image is from the Davis, Kellogg & Severance Law Firm Records, 1878–1941, Minnesota Historical Society.

Profit in Butterine

Cover of a brochure published by Swift & Company, a national meatpacker and margarine producer with operations in St. Paul. Image is from the Davis, Kellogg & Severance Law Firm Records, 1878–1941, Minnesota Historical Society.

Cover of a brochure published by Swift & Company, a national meatpacker and margarine producer with operations in St. Paul. Image is from the Davis, Kellogg & Severance Law Firm Records, 1878–1941, Minnesota Historical Society.

8 Different Ways You Can Save Money by Using Swift’s Premium Butterine

Cover of a brochure published by Swift & Company, a national meatpacker and margarine producer with operations in St. Paul. Image is from the Davis, Kellogg & Severance Law Firm Records, 1878–1941, Minnesota Historical Society.

Minnesota’s Margarine Battles, 1885–1975

During the late 1800s, dairy farmers in Minnesota and other states faced what they considered a serious and immediate threat to their livelihoods: the growing popularity of a butter substitute called oleomargarine. For nearly a century, the dairy industry and its legislative allies waged a series of campaigns to prohibit or limit the manufacture and sale of margarine. No state retained its anti-margarine laws longer than Minnesota.

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