Monday, July 25, 2011

Cancel for July 25: Nelson Morris & Company

N.  M.  &  CO.

Nelson Morris was one of the great Chicago-based meat packing firms of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Upton Sinclair's cathartic, muckraking and famous book "The Jungle" targeted firms like Nelson Morris.
From the July 11, 1906 edition of The New York Times:


Says the Packers' Trade is Vanshing Because of Government's Action.
Special to The New York Times.

DENVER, July 10--"There is not a word of truth in all this hue and cry about embalmed beef, and the investigation of the packing companies ordered by the Government will injure the country more than the San Francisco fire," said Nelson Morris of Chicago today.
  "Our trade is vanishing away, and it will be taken by Argentina and other South American States," he continued.  "South America will supply the canned meats that we have been supplying to foreign nations.
  "The time is at hand when the West will again have to raise cattle for their hides.
  "Who is responsible for this State of affairs?  did the book written by Upton Sinclair have much to do with it?" Mr. Morris was asked.
  "The book nothing! exclaimed the packer.  "There is only one man who read the book."
  "Do you mean President Roosevelt?"
  "Well, you know, returned Mr. Morris, "that book didn't have anything to do with it."

Ham shaped promotional folding card from the Chicago World's Fair (or Columbian Exposition) of 1893.

German-born Nelson Morris arrived in Chicago in 1854 and found work with meatpacker John B. Sherman. Morris started packing under his own name in 1859. During the Civil War, he sold cattle to the Union armies. Morris's company was one of the original meatpacking companies at the city's Union Stock Yard, which opened in 1865. By 1873, the company's annual sales were about $11 million. Like other leading Chicago packers such as Swift and Armour, Morris's operations extended across the nation during the last decades of the nineteenth century. The company owned packing plants in East St. Louis and Kansas City, as well as cattle ranches in Texas and the Dakotas. The Morris-owned Fairbank Canning Co. slaughtered more than 500,000 cattle a year by the beginning of the 1890s. At the turn of the century, Nelson Morris & Co. had nearly 100 branches across the United States and employed over 3,700 people at the Union Stock Yard. By the time the founder died, in 1907, annual sales had reached about $100 million. Still a leading American food company at the end of the 1910s, it was merged into Armour & Co. in 1923.

1 comment:

  1. this is an awesome list of blogs, i have already checked out the first few, will surely give them all a review. Thanks for sharing.Palletizing