Interesting Historical Facts
Baby Ruth is an American candy bar made of peanuts, caramel and chocolate-flavored nougat covered in chocolate. In 1921, the Curtiss Candy Company refashioned its Kandy Kake into the Baby Ruth. The bar was a staple of the Chicago-based company for some seven decades. Curtiss was purchased by Nabisco in 1981. In 1990, RJR Nabisco sold the Curtiss brands to Nestlé.
Although the name of the candy bar sounds like the name of the famous baseball player Babe Ruth, the Curtiss Candy Company traditionally claimed that it was named after President Grover Cleveland's daughter, Ruth Cleveland.
The candy maker, located on the same street as Wrigley Field, named the bar "Baby Ruth" in 1921, as Babe Ruth's fame was on the rise, over 30 years after Cleveland had left the White House, and 17 years after his daughter, Ruth, had died.
The company did not negotiate an endorsement deal with Ruth, and many[who?] saw the company's story about the origin of the name to be a devious way to avoid having to pay the baseball player any royalties. Curtiss successfully shut down a rival bar that was approved by, and named for, Ruth, on the grounds that the names were too similar.
In the trivia book series Imponderables, David Feldman reports the standard story about the bar being named for Grover Cleveland's daughter, with additional information that ties it to the President: "The trademark was patterned exactly after the engraved lettering of the name used on a medallion struck for the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and picturing the President, his wife, and daughter Baby Ruth."
He also cites More Misinformation, by Tom Burnam: "Burnam concluded that the candy bar was named ... after the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Williamson, candy makers who developed the original formula and sold it to Curtiss." (Williamson had also sold the "Oh Henry!" formula to Curtiss around that time.)
The writeup goes on to note that marketing the product as being named for a company executive's granddaughter would likely have been less successful, hence their "official" story.
However, David Mikkelson of Snopes.com denies the claim that the Williamsons invented the recipe, as Mr. George Williamson was head of the Williamson Candy Company, producers of the Oh Henry! bar.
He continues to say that "the Baby Ruth bar came about when Otto Schnering, founder of the Curtiss Candy Company, made some alterations to his company's first candy offering, a confection known as 'Kandy Kake.'
Baby Ruth sign at Wrigley Field - As if to tweak their own official denial of the name's origin, after Babe Ruth's Called Shot at Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series, Curtiss installed an illuminated advertising sign for Baby Ruth on the roof of one of the flats across Sheffield Avenue, near where Ruth's home run ball had landed in center field. The sign stood for some four decades before being removed.
In 1995, a company representing the Ruth estate licensed his name and likeness for use in a Baby Ruth marketing campaign.
On p. 34 of the spring, 2007, edition of the Chicago Cubs game program, there is a full-page ad showing a partially-unwrapped Baby Ruth in front of the Wrigley ivy, with the caption, "The official candy bar of major league baseball, and proud sponsor of the Chicago Cubs."