I remember the excitement that I felt shortly after purchasing this photograph. I had flipped the photograph over to the reverse side and found an inscription which identified the three subjects in the photograph. The three names were “Harry E. Hershey, Dora E. Hershey” and “Frances Mayer Hershey”. The photograph was dated “1907”. Seeing the “Hershey” name, and noting that the photograph was from a studio in Lancaster, Pennsylvania made me think that the subjects of this photograph could be quite interesting. The Hershey family is quite important in the history of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Think Hershey Chocolate! I knew that the founder of Hershey Chocolate was Milton Hershey but I thought perhaps that Harry E. Hershey may have been an integral part of the business, or in some of the family’s other enterprises. Research found no such connection between Harry or Milton. The 1880 census found Harry Elmer Hershey (1863-1911) at age 16 living with four older siblings and his parents (Jacob and Annie Hershey) in East Hempfield, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The 1900 census listed the 36 year old Harry as married to 30 year old Dora Elizabeth Mayer Hershey (1870-1924). They were newlyweds having been married just three months. Harry, Dora, and both sets of their parents were all born in Pennsylvania. Harry was listed as working as a treasurer of a hardware company. A number of business directories between 1888 and 1907 reveal that he worked in this position for many years. The 1910 United States census adds 8 year old daughter Frances Mayer Hershey (1902-1994) to the family unit. The 1920 census indicates that 17 year old Frances and her mother lived together and both were unemployed. Harry had been dead for nine years. This Hershey family portrait features a well dressed family. Harry and Dora are both smiling, and cute little five year-old Frances’s body language seems to be saying, “Hey, don’t forget about me”. The photographer is the Miesse studio in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. D. Walter Miesse (1878-1964) had a studio at 24 West King Street in Lancaster between 1894 and 1940.
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