20th Century, Business, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Betty Crocker

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“The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air”

1921
Betty Crocker, General Mills’ symbol of the perfect homemaker, will become known to nine out of ten American women by 1940. Created in 1921 to answer letters about baking problems, she becomes a network-radio personality and cookbook author, and lends her name and changing image to hundreds of products.*

Betty Crocker became the personification of Washburn Crosby Company which later grew into General Mills. The iconic radio station WCCO, whose call letters are an acronym of the company’s name, was rescued by Washburn Crosby to become her voice. “According to Fortune magazine in April 1945, she was the second best-known woman in America, following First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Betty Crocker was known as the First Lady of Food.”**

Lord, how does one pray for a “First Lady”, especially a fictional one? We constantly interact with icons and symbols in the present era: through smartphones and devices, in all kinds of advertising, and through mascots of our favorite sports teams. You also use the power of symbols and icons, Good Shepherd, and lead Your sheep to better know and remember You.

I will begin with thanking You for the impact of Betty Crocker on the state of Minnesota. How many millions or billions of bags of beautiful Gold Medal Flour did she sell? How many farmers, truckers, railroad workers, dockworkers, millers, and barge crew members were kept employed by her friendly voice and baking tips? How many families ate dinners, cookies, and pies that were touched by her red spoon? For these, and so many other unmentioned aspects, I give thanks to her creators, the voice of WCCO, and the Washburn Crosby Company.

Will You bless this company and the genius of personifying the fairly mundane product of spring wheat flour? Will You help the businesses of Minnesota to take joy in meeting the needs of its customers because they are worthy persons created in Your image? Will You bless the imagery of service that Betty Crocker implies: to her family, for her friends, and to herself through the soul-feeding acts of cooking and baking?

“And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.” Ezekiel 34:23 ESV***

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://www.bettycrocker.com/menus-holidays-parties/mhplibrary/parties-and-get-togethers/vintage-betty/the-story-of-betty-crocker#!
***http://biblehub.com/ezekiel/34-23.htm

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19th Century, Business, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Sears Starts Selling

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1886
Twenty-two-year-old Richard Sears starts selling pocket watches out of Redwood Falls. Encouraged by his quick success, he opens a mail-order company in Minneapolis. He then moves to Chicago, takes on a partner, and in 1893 forms Sears, Roebuck & Company.

By the turn of the century, only the Bible has more readers than the Sears, Roebuck catalog. From its pages people order everyday items and oddities including clothing, harnesses, buggies, bicycles, guns, pianos, and parlor organs.

1897 – Sears, Roebuck sends 318,000 catalogs across the Midwest.

1908 – 3.6 million people receive Sears, Roebuck catalogs in a single mass mailing.*

G-d bless Richard Sears, and his embrace of the imagination You gave him. Thank You for fulfilling his vision to provide people with a new way to acquire needs, and wants irregardless of geography. Thank You that his catalog was a bridge builder between urban and rural, mountain and prairie, young and old, and many other stratifications of society!
Father You are generous with us. You allow us to express both needs and wants, and are infinitely able to provide for us. Your freedom allows our heart to be tested with what we have been given. Will we share our blessings? We will humble ourselves to make our needs known to others, or pridefully hide our lacking from the eyes of others?
Will You forgive the judgements cast on Richard Sears, his company, his employees, and his astounding success? He put possibilities in front of millions of eyes, and let them decide what was useful, or what was luxury. His business created heaps of jobs, and probably ended many smaller enterprises that could not, or would not, adapt to this new way of doing business. It is hard for us to admit when we have been outdone by another’s incredible effort. Have mercy! Will You forgive us this type of jealousy? Will You release us from the envy of another’s success in Minnesota? Will You give us hearts that rejoice at our brother or sister’s success?
In many ways, the mail order business predicated the modern world of advertising. Through it, we are tested daily to discern between our needs and wants, likes and dislikes. It is a good thing to have a choice! It is wonderful to have a plethora of options for nearly every item we desire. However, the knowledge of many things often leaves us with a craving for many things. We often feel a lack by the simple knowledge of what we do not yet possess. Again, this option tests our mettle! Is it bad to know what we do not have? Sometimes it inspires us to new efforts. Sometimes a new tool gives us an inspiration for working a new way.
Lord, forgive us for when we have chosen to focus on our discontent. Forgive the pining for something new that will bring us contentment! We too often love things, and use people! Will You break the roots of those cravings that came from the Sears catalog, and still bind us today? Will You help us in this struggle between enough and excess?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**More about this extraordinary pioneer of marketing? https://www.britannica.com/biography/Richard-W-Sears

 

 

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