Hollis G. Gerrish Papers 1865-2002, n.d. (inclusive) 1920-1997 (bulk)
8.34 linear feet
Date: April 2010
Access: Employment records and payroll records (Series II, Box 5 Folder 28 and Box 6 Folder 3) are restricted until 2030.
Permission to Publish: Requests for permission to publish from the collection should be made to the Executive Director.
Copyright: The Cambridge Historical Society does not hold copyright on the materials in the collection.
Hollis G. Gerrish, the son of Perley G. and Grace Guptill Gerrish, was born on June 23, 1907 in Berwick, Maine and was the owner and president of Squirrel Brand Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He often went by the nickname Guppy. He attended Cambridge Public Schools and graduated from the Cambridge High and Latin School in 1925. He enrolled in Harvard College and graduated in 1930 with an A.B. degree. Upon graduating he continued his studies at Harvard Business School but dropped out of the program after one year to work full-time for the family business, the Squirrel Brand Company.
During World War II, Gerrish served as lieutenant commander in the United States Navy. He was a Navy contracting officer in the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts in Washington, D.C., where he headed the Contract Modification Section. After the war he remained in the United States Naval Reserve, from which he retired as a Captain. In September 10, 1946, he married Catherine Ruggles, whom he met at a Harvard-Radcliffe meeting. Catherine was born on July 10, 1911 and graduated from Radcliffe College in 1932. Gerrish affectionately called her his "best girl" of his college days. The Gerrish family resided at 20 Chester Street, Somerville, Massachusetts from the 1930s to the 1950s. They later lived at 207 Grove Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and owned summer homes and hunting cabins in Rowley and Ipswich, Massachusetts; Berwick, Maine; and Somerset, New Hampshire. The couple had no children.
Gerrish was an active hunter and fisher and was a member of the Norfolk Trout Club and National Rifle Association. Throughout his life he was involved in several Cambridge community organizations and served as director of the Young Men's Christian Association, the Boy Scouts of America, and St. Peter's Episcopal Church. He was also devoted to many philanthropic efforts and donated time and money to several organizations, including the Cambridge Economy Club, the Cambridge Rotary Club, and the Cambridge Club (later renamed the Cambridge Associations), Harvard University, the Andover Newton Theological School, the Friends of Arnold Arboretum, the Arthritis Foundation, the American Heart Association, the American Suicide Foundation, the Friends of Caldwell, Christ Church Cambridge, Cambridge Family and Children Services, the Cambridge Historical Society, Cambridge Homes, the Cambridge Visiting Nurse Association, Cambridge School Volunteers, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Episcopal Chaplaincy at Harvard and Radcliffe, the Essex County Greenbelt Association, the Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, and the Salvation Army. He was a trustee of Leslie University and established the Hollis and Catherine Gerrish Endowed Scholarship Fund in 1987 to award students committed to children's education.
Originally called the Austin T. Merrill Company, the Squirrel Brand Company was established in 1888 on Dudley Street in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 1899, Perley G. Gerrish acquired the company and relocated it to Main Street in Cambridge under the name Squirrel Brand Company. He introduced Nut Zippers in 1903. The candy's name came from a newspaper article about a Vermonter who was talked down from a tree and told police it was "nut zipper," a local mixture that included alcohol, that caused him to climb it. Hollis Gerrish began working for the company at the age of ten and became president after his father's death in 1939. He was an active member of the National Confectioners' Association and the American Association of Candy Technologists and attended annual conferences. During his time as president the company employed approximately 21 workers. The company was purchased by Southern Style Nuts in 1999 and is currently operating in McKinney, Texas as The Squirrel Brand Company. In 2004, the New England Confectionery Company (Necco) acquired the license to manufacture Squirrel Nut Zippers and Caramel Chews in their Revere, Massachusetts factory. The candy’s name was adopted by the popular 1990s swing revival band The Squirrel Nut Zippers.
After suffering a stroke, Hollis Gerrish died on November 9, 1997 in Cambridge, MA. Catherine died on July 25, 2003.
The Boston Globe. Obituaries, Hollis G. Gerrish, manufacturer of Squirrel Brand candies;
at 90. November 11, 1997.
Necco Additional Brands. New England Confectionery Company, 2010. Web.
< http://www.necco.com/ourbrands/additionalbrands.asp > Accessed 16 April 2010.
The Squirrel Brand Co. Website. The Squirrel Brand Co., 2010. Web.
< http://www.squirrelbrand.com/ > Accessed 16 April 2010.
St. Peter's Episcopal Church. The Burial Service in Thanksgiving for the Life of Hollis
Gerrish. November 14, 1997
Washington Post. Hollis G. Gerrish, Candy Manufacturer. November 16, 1997
The Hollis G. Gerrish Papers are arranged in three series with three subseries.
Series I. Personal Papers
Series II. Business Records
Series III. Other Materials
Subseries A: Oversized
Subseries B: Photographs
Subseries C: Memorabilia
The Hollis G. Gerrish Papers document the life of Hollis G. Gerrish and the later years of the Squirrel Brand Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts. They consist of personal and business correspondence, financial records, real estate records, journals and address books, sales records, inventories, ingredient lists, candy packaging and advertisements, photographs, and memorabilia. Some correspondence is intermingled throughout the collection and noted at the folder level.
Series I. Personal Papers, comprises the bulk of the collection. A majority of the materials are financial records, including bank and investment statements, tax worksheets, insurance policies, ledgers, real estate records in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire, and will and trust drafts. The bank records include investment and trust statements from several banks and primarily date from the late 1980s-1990s. Gerrish's philanthropic donations are listed in the tax records and on donation lists. Several folders document Gerrish's memberships in many Cambridge community organizations, including the Boy Scouts, the Young Men's Christian Association, and St. Peter's Episcopal Church, where he served as deacon and eventually director. Also included are Harvard College materials documenting drama clubs, playbills, dance invitations, athletic events, class reunions, administrative documents from his service in the United States Navy, address books, medical records for both Hollis and Catherine, biographical information, and obituaries. Gerrish kept several journals documenting his day-to-day activities both at home and at his business. There are also senior care journals written by nurses who cared for Catherine in her later years. The collection also includes the personal papers and journals of Grace, Perley, and Catherine Gerrish, as well as other relatives. Personal correspondence includes get-well cards, letters from neighbors, and letters from community organizations to which Gerrish frequently donated. Gerrish's personal notes are mostly miscellaneous in nature and include to-do lists, reminders, and contact information for friends and relatives. The financial documents of George Turner are contained in the series, though his relationship to the Gerrish family is unknown. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order.
Series II. Business Records, reveal the history and daily business activities of the later years of the Squirrel Brand Company. The collection includes price lists, employment records, receipts, fiscal records, balance sheets, inspection reports, insurance records, inventories, Board of Directors and stakeholder meeting minutes, patent records, real estate documents, sales records, income documents, tax records, and an annual report. Of particular interest are ingredient lists (some hand-written by Gerrish), packaging materials, and advertisements for Squirrel Brand products over the years. Also included are business cards for Perley and Hollis Gerrish, business memo books, company calendars, and clippings mentioning the company's achievements and documenting its advertisement.
Business correspondence includes legal letters discussing a copyright case for the squirrel icon and solicitations and negotiations for the sale of Squirrel Brand Company in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order.
Series III. Other Materials, is organized into three subseries: Subseries A: Oversized; Subseries B: Photographs; and Subseries C: Memorabilia. Most of the documents in Subseries A, Oversized, were removed from Series I and II and Subseries 3, including newspapers, property maps, Squirrel Brand Company stock certificates, and photographs. Also included are school diplomas from Gerrish’s grammar and high schools. Of particular interest are a marriage certificate for Perley Gerrish and Grace Guptill from ca. 1900 and a certificate stating that George W. Gerrish served in the Army of the Potomac ca. 1865. There are eight oversized photographs and portraits documenting Gerrish’s time in the Navy, his hunting expeditions, annual confectioners’ meetings, and Harvard Class of 1930 reunions.
Subseries B, Photographs, contains albums and portraits collected by the Gerrish family. There are 302 photographs, including portraits of Hollis, Catherine, Perley, and Grace Gerrish. Also included are photographs documenting Gerrish’s hunting expeditions, the Harvard Drama Club, his service in the United States Navy, and images of Leslie College compiled in an album by Catherine. In addition to personal photos, there are 60 company photographs showing factory scenes, employees, company cars, and peanut candies.
Subseries C, Memorabilia, includes several items from Gerrish’s time in the Navy, including epaulets, buttons and insignia pins. Also included are assorted buttons, a belt labeled “Police,” a bride and groom wedding cake figurine and a United States Congressional Medal of Honor that was awarded to George C. Cole for service in Company E, 27th Maine Volunteers. Squirrel Brand Company memorabilia consists of two peanut butter jar lids.
Removed from this collection are a videotape of President McKenna’s opening address on September 2, 1997 and two audiotapes of memorial vespers at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on January 2, 1996. These were added to the Cambridge Historical Society Audiovisual Collection.
Candy industry--United States--History
Harvard Business School
Hunting and fishing clubs—United States
National Confectioners’ Association of the United States
United States. Navy
Hollis G. Gerrish
Papers, n.d., 1865-2002 (Inclusive) 1920-1997 (Bulk)
Series I. Personal Papers, n.d., 1897-2002
Box Folder Title
Series II. Business Records, n.d., 1899-1997
Advertising, 1933, 1987-1992
*Business calendar removed to Box 7OS>
|5||3||Annual report, 1994|
|5||4||Balance sheets, 1975-1981|
|5||5||Balance sheets, 1982-1996|
|5||6||Business memos, 1950-1993|
|5||7||Business memo book, 1950-1993|
|5||8||Business memo book, 1982-1983|
|5||9||Business memo book, 1985, 1996|
*Candy Industry newspaper removed to Box 7OS
|5||11||Clippings, n.d., 1987-1997|
|5||12||Company stationery, n.d.|
|5||13||Corporate resolutions, 1967-1997|
|5||17||Cost and ingredient lists, 1929-1987|
|5||18||Cost and ingredient lists, 1988|
|5||19||Cost and ingredient lists, 1989|
|5||20||Cost and ingredient lists, 1990-1991|
|5||21||Cost and ingredient lists, 1992|
|5||22||Cost and ingredient lists, 1993|
|5||23||Cost and ingredient lists, 1993|
|5||24||Cost and ingredient lists, 1994-1995|
|5||25||Cost and ingredient lists, 1996|
Employment records, 1956-1961
*RESTRICTED UNTIL 2030
|5||27||Expenses and receipts, 1985-1994|
|5||28||Fiscal records, 1929-1996|
|5||29||Inspection reports, 1970-1996|
|5||30||Insurance records, 1988-1992|
|5||34||Inventory, December 31, 1995|
|5||35||Inventory-Profit and loss statements, 1944|
|5||36||Inventory-Profit and loss statements, March 31, 1995|
|5||37||Inventory-Profit and loss statements, June 30, 1995|
|5||38||Inventory-Profit and loss statements, September 30, 1995|
|5||39||Inventory-Profit and loss statements, March 31, 1996|
|5||40||Inventory-Profit and loss statements, September 30, 1996|
|5||41||Minutes, board of directors, 1967-1994|
|5||42||Minutes, stakeholders, 1982-1987|
|5||43||Newsletter, 1938, 1989|
|6||1||Packaging, n.d., 1993-1994|
|6||2||Patent records, 1914|
Payroll records, 1953-1992
*RESTRICTED UNTIL 2030
Price lists, 1926-1996
*Price lists removed to Box 7OS
Real estate records, 1913-1914, 1985-1993
|6||6||Sales records, 1961-1982|
|6||7||Sales records, 1985-1990|
|6||8||Sales records, 1991-1996|
|6||9||Sales accounts and related items, 1981-1993|
|6||10||Sales contact forms, ca. 1950|
|6||11||Statements of cost of sales, 1993-1995|
|6||12||Statements of income, 1993-1996|
|7||OS||Squirrel Brand Company bond certificates, 1899-1900|
|6||13||Tax records, 1945-1972|
|6||14||Tax records, 1975-1981|
|6||15||Tax records, 1986-1996|
Series III. Other Materials
Subseries A: Oversized, ca. 1865-1997
|7 OS||1||Army of the Potomac certificate to George W. Gerrish, ca. 1865|
|7 OS||1||Business calendar removed from #5.1|
|7 OS||1||Cambridge High and Latin School diploma, 1925|
|7 OS||1||Candy Industry newspaper removed from #5.10|
|7 OS||1||Contract removed from #6.5|
|7 OS||1||Deed of burial lot removed from #1.32|
|7 OS||1||Estate appraisal removed from #2.26|
|7 OS||1||Harvard Grammar School diploma, 1921|
|7 OS||1||Naval department change order removed from #3.37|
Perley Gerrish and Grace Guptill marriage certificate, ca.
|7 OS||1||Price lists removed from #6.4|
|7 OS||1||Property maps and deed removed from #3.29|
|7 OS||1||Property map removed from #3.30|
|7 OS||1||Registration envelope removed from #2.33|
|7 OS||1||“Sarah” income record from #2.16|
|7 OS||1||Stock portfolio valuations removed from #2.24|
|7 OS||1||Will copy removed from #3.38|
Squirrel Brand Company bond certificates removed from
Series II, 1899-1900
Subseries B: Photographs, ca 1906-1996
Photographs of Gerrish's Hunting shack in Ipswich,
Massachusetts, ca. 1976-1978 (5 Photographs)
Portrait of Hollis G. Gerrish in Naval Service, ca. 1940s
Photographs of the Navy, ca. 1940s (22 Photographs)
Photograph album, 1954-1955 (8 Photographs)
Photograph album, 1957 (26 Photographs)
Photograph album, 1958 (18 Photographs)
Photograph album, 1959 (17 Photographs)
Photograph album, 1962-1963 (6 Photographs)
Photograph album, 1969 (14 Photographs)
Photograph album, n.d. (11 Photographs)
Photograph of Gerrish’s hunting shack, n.d., 1957
Group Photograph of 1930 Reunion, n.d.
Photographs of Class, n.d.(4Photographs)
Photographs of Harvard Dramatic Club, n.d., 1927
Photographs of Catherine Gerrish, n.d., 1945
Photographs of Perley and Grace Gerrish, ca.
1931-1966 (25 Photographs)
Photographs of Hollis G. Gerrish and relatives, n.d.,
Photograph album of Lesley College, 1996
Company photographs, n.d., 1945-1962
Subseries C: Memorabilia, n.d., ca. 1911-1990
|9.01m||Ammunition belt, “Police,” n.d.|
|9.02m||Bride and groom wedding cake figurine, n.d.|
|9.03m||Compass, ca. 1911|
|9.04m||Ducks Unlimited sponsor pin, 1990|
|9.05m||Northridge High School, Ohio, pin, n.d.|
|9.06m||Squirrel Brand peanut butter jar lids (2), n.d.|
|9.07m||United States Constitution lapel pin (1), ca. 1939-1945|
United States Navy lieutenant commander epaulets (1 pair),
|9.09m||United States Navy lieutenant epaulets (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.10m||United States Navy supply corps name plate, 1939-1945|
|9.11m||United States Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to George C. Cole, Co. E, 27th Maine Volunteers, ca.1862|
|9.12m||Victorian mourning armband, ca.1870|
|9.13m||WWII United States Navy belt buckle, 1939-1945|
|9.14m||WWII United States Navy gold buttons (26), 1939-1945|
|9.15m||WWII United States Navy black buttons (7), 1939- 1945|
|9.16m||WWII United States Navy captain insignia pins (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.17m||WWII United States Navy captain insignia collar pins (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.18||WWII United States Navy captain insignia collar pins (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.19m||WWII United States Navy captain insignia pins (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.20m||WWII United States Navy captain insignia pins (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.21m||WWII United States Navy captain insignia pin (1), 1939-1945|
|9.22m||WWII United States Navy commander epaulets (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.23m||WWII United States Navy commander insignia pins (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.24m||WWII United States Navy lieutenant commander insignia pins (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.25m||WWII United States Navy officer insignia pins (1 pair), n.d.|
|9.26m||WWII United States Navy supply corps insignia pins (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.27m||WWII United States Navy supply corps insignia pins (1 pair), 1939-1945|
|9.28m||WWII United States Navy supply corps insignia pin (1) 1939-1945|
|9.29m||WWII United States Navy supply corps insignia pin (1) 1939-1945|
|9.30m||WWII United States Navy supply corps insignia pin (1) 1939-1945|
|9.31m||YMCA Hollis G. Gerrish photo button, n.d.|