Evaporated Milk Association collection, 1924-1934, 1939-1967

Navigate the Collection

Using These Materials Teaser

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials

Collection is open for research.
More about accessing and using these materials...


Evaporated Milk Association
The Evaporated Milk Association, organized by manufacturers in 1923, issued free publications promoting the use of evaporated milk throughout the United States. This collection consists of publications with recipes, scientific studies, and stories encouraging the consumption of canned evaporated milk. These pamphlets and booklets were donated to Duke University Libraries in the 1930s by the Evaporated Milk Association. Collection also includes engineering documents about the design of evaporated milk facilities.
0.75 Linear Feet
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

This collection originally arrived at Perkins Library as three binders of promotional materials from the Evaporated Milk Association. The materials have been transferred to Rubenstein Library and are no longer in binders.

The materials include both pamphlets and booklets covering a wide range of themes -- all relating to evaporated milk and targeting potential consumers. Topics include: recipes, both for regular cooking, desserts, and for preparing large quantities of food; studies and articles promoting infant feeding using evaporated milk; plays and activities for children centering on the emergency delivery of evaporated milk rations (among other supplies) to isolated areas; cost breakdowns of evaporated milk versus fresh milk, aimed at budget-conscious families; cartoons detailing the delicious flavor of evaporated milk; reprints of medical or scientific journal articles discussing evaporated milk's consumption in impoverished or malnourished communities, or by populations with various diseases; and articles about the history of evaporated milk, its manufacturing process, and general information about evaporated milk as a product. All of these pamphlets date from the pre-World War II period and are aimed at American readers.

The booklets and pamphlets have been kept in the order in which they were arranged in the binders. Dates are included when known.

Additional materials include two booklets not included in the original donation, as well as engineering design manuals. Three binders of engineering design manuals were found in an old Nestle Milk Evaporation plant in South Dayton, N.Y. Contents address the design of evaporated milk facilities. Material disbound by Rubenstein staff.

Biographical / historical:

Evaporated milk was developed over the course of the 19th century to address the need of armed forces in Europe to preserve food for long periods of time. Initially, milk was boiled and reduced, bottled with sugar, and then boiled again to create a seal. By the end of the American Civil War, sweetened condensed milk had grown in popularity, and its success encouraged inventors John B. Meyenberg and Louis Latzer to form the first unsweetened evaporated milk plant in Highland, Illinois. Meyenberg received an 1884 U.S. patent covering the process of sterilizing by steam under pressure. In 1885, evaporated milk was manufactured commercially for the first time.

The Spanish-American War further popularized evaporated milk as a sterile and transportable means of feeding troops. The introduction of homogenization in 1909 and continuous sterilization in 1922 led to increased consumption by the general public, and the milk was widely used to feed American troops during World War I.

The Evaporated Milk Association was organized by manufacturers in 1923, seeking to promote and encourage the consumption of evaporated milk, and also to research additional uses for the product. In the following years, recipes were developed and disseminated by the EMA through women's magazines, home economics professors, newspapers, and EMA pamphlets such as those sent to Duke Libraries. Furthermore, the Association sponsored numerous clinical studies (and reprinted independent studies) that encouraged the use of evaporated milk for infant feeding. This promotion was steadily expanded through the 1930s with an experimental kitchen, movies, educational outreach, and additional publications. The EMA sought to convince consumers that evaporated milk was a cost-effective, healthy, and safe product for budget-conscious family.

The Evaporated Milk Association continued to lobby and promote the industry throughout World War II and during the post-war period. It merged with the American Dairy Products Institute in 1987.

Acquisition information:
The Evaporated Milk Association Collection was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a transfer from Perkins Library in 2009. The collection was originally donated between 1929 and 1934. Additional material was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 2011 and 2022.
Processing information:

Processed by Meghan Lyon, May 2010

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, May 2010

Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

Accessions included in this finding aid: 2009-0157, 2022-0037, 2022-0127.

Updated by Leah Tams, August 2022.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.

Evaporated milk
Grocery shopping
Infants -- Nutrition
Home economics -- United States -- History
Vitamin D in human nutrition -- History
Breastfeeding -- United States -- History
Evaporated Milk Association
Canned foods
Milk in human nutrition


Using These Materials

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials


Collection is open for research.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Before you visit:
Please consult our up-to-date information for visitors page, as our services and guidelines periodically change.
Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Evaporated Milk Association Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.