|The Main Chicago Public Library. Circa 1898|
|The Harold Washington Library Center.|
FURTHER READING: The History of the Main Chicago Public Library.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.
On a personal note:
In the late 1960s I visited the Main Chicago Library to complete a grammar school assignment. For those who remember, there were two hallways running north-south from entrance to entrance. In those hallways were displays of cultural arts; sometimes paintings, sometimes display cabinets lined both hallways with collections of "stuff." I was lucky enough to be there during the exhibit of Cracker Jack (1896) toys thru time. I was a vast collection, over 2,000 toys, and took all the cabinets in both long hallways.
|Pot Metal Toys|
Cracker Jack originally included a small "mystery" novelty item referred to as a "Toy Surprise" in each box. The tagline for Cracker Jack was originally "Candy-coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize." Prizes were included in every box of Cracker Jack beginning in 1912. Early "toy surprises" included rings, plastic figurines, booklets, stickers, temporary tattoos, and decoder rings.
|1960s-70s Plastic Toys|
The prizes attained pop-culture status with the catch-phrase "came in a Cracker Jack box," particularly when applied sarcastically to engagement and wedding rings of dubious investment value.