Friday, April 04, 2008

I Suppose It's Better Than 'Butter'

Nancy Bovy spotted this little girl in the Missouri Death Certificates.

A little research turns up an Oleomargarine Fristoe, born in 1922, who married in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1965.

Why did Missourians around 1920 name kids after fake butter? Maybe because oleomargarine was for many years an illicit substance, but started to gain wide popular acceptance during and after World War I. Missouri seems to have been the first state to ban margarine, in 1881. A later statute prohibited the manufacture or sale of any substance "in imitation or semblance of natural butter," or which "resemble[d] yellow or any shade of genuine yellow butter." Other states went so far as to require that margarine be colored bright pink, so that consumers would not mistakenly think it was edible. My mother, born in 1944, remembers adding yellow coloring to white margarine when she was a girl. Only after Congress passed the Margarine Act of 1950 were companies allowed to sell the yellow sticks of oleo we know and love today.


Then there's also: Parkay Smith, who lived in Akron Ohio in 1920, according to the census.

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