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Ora Snyder papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Snyder

Scope and Content of the Collection

Writings, speeches, photographs, promotional materials, and artifacts documenting the career of Ora Snyder (1876-1948), a Chicago candy maker founder of Mrs. Snyder’s Candies in 1909. Includes a number of Snyder’s writings, speeches, and published articles about being a woman business owner and observations about the candy business. Photographs show Ora throughout her life, business activities, and Mrs. Snyder’s Candies storefronts and interiors. Ephemera and photographs document the Mrs. Snyder’s Candies concession shop at the Century of Progress International Exposition in 1933-1934, featuring a fully operating candy kitchen with air conditioning.

The collection also includes materials from Snyder’s leadership in the Associated Retail Confectioners of the United States and Business and Professional Women’s Club. Correspondence includes professional and fan letters, a few family letters, and one letter from Warren G. Harding. An oversize scrapbook contains newspaper clippings, photographs, and some letters throughout Snyder’s career and was likely compiled by Hortense Starek. Scrapbook pages are very fragile and have been individually foldered. Collection also contains 9 empty Mrs. Snyder’s Candies branded boxes for various products, one containing 8 branded drinking straws.


  • Creation: 1887-1955
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1910-1945



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Ora Snyder papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Ora Snyder papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Ora Snyder and History of Mrs. Snyder's Candies

White, Chicago candy maker and businesswoman.

Aurora “Ora” Henrietta Hanson was born in 1876 in Michigan City, Indiana. She married William Allen Snyder in 1894 and had one daughter, Edith. In 1909, William became ill, prompting Ora to make and sell homemade candy in her local community. In 1910, she rented a store in the Hamilton Club Building in Chicago, selling confections under the name Mrs. Snyder’s Home Made Candies. By the early 1920s, Mrs. Snyder’s Candies had expanded to five locations, including a seven-story building at 119-21 North Wabash Avenue.

In addition to her business, Ora Snyder helped found the Associated Retail Confectioners of the United States, serving as their President between 1930 and 1932. She was also a member of the Chicago Business and Professional Woman’s Club and regularly gave speeches to a number of similar groups.

Ora Snyder continued to be active in business until 1947, when she stepped down as head of her company due to illness. She died in Chicago in 1948, leaving behind sixteen shops in the Chicagoland area and hundreds of employees. William Snyder served as Chairman of the Board for Mrs. Snyder’s until his death in 1955. The business remained in the family with son-in-law Seymour W. Neill and grandson William J. Neill until it became part of Fannie May in 1967.


6.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes, 1 record carton, and 3 oversize boxes)


Writings, speeches, photographs, promotional materials, and artifacts documenting the career of Ora Snyder (1876-1948), a Chicago candy maker founder of Mrs. Snyder’s Candies in 1909. Snyder was a pioneer in marketing and promoting candy, and often gave lectures on being a woman business owner.


Materials are arranged alphabetically by type with oversize and artifacts at the end.


1 51 4


Gift, ScottAllen Barber, 2020.

Processed by

Catherine Grandgeorge, 2023.

Ora Snyder papers, 1887-1955, bulk 1910-1945
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States