Today reminds me of the 2015, $3 billion lawsuit the “supposed” family of “Aunt Jemima” brought against PepsiCo, the parent company of Quaker Oats, Pinnacle Foods and Hillshire Brands. The lawsuit was for failing to pay royalties for the use of Anna Short Harrington’s likeness on the famous pancake mix brand. The judge that heard the case threw it out for lack of proof.
So who is Anna Short Harrington, the woman we know as “Aunt Jemima”? Why was her name trademarked, copyrighted and became synonymous with all things pancake? The information below is all Wikipedia stuff, but fascinating nonetheless!
Aunt Jemima is owned by Quaker Oats of Chicago, the trademark dates back to 1893. Although the pancake mix debuted in 1889 when a group of flour mill owners faced with a “glut” decided to package flour in a bag as pancake mix and one of the mill owners decided to name it after a vaudeville act. So was there ever a “real” Aunt Jemima? There sure was and she really was famous for making pancakes, read on.