Borden Turns 150
Beloved brand is honored at special event in New York.
To commemorate June Dairy
Month and the 150th anniversary of the Borden brand, a scrapbook compiled
by and including handwritten notes by Borden founder Gail Borden —
the “Father of the Modern Dairy Industry” and inventor of
condensed milk — was donated to the New York Historical Society.
The scrapbook, along with a portrait of Borden on a
metal printing plate, will remain permanently at the historical society.
The real Elsie the Cow, Borden’s beloved mascot, joined company and
museum officials for a presentation ceremony held on the steps of the
historical society. Accompanying Elsie (who travels in a 40-foot
“cowdillac” trailer) were her handlers, along with 90-year-old
Jim Cavanaugh, one of the original “Borden Boys” and one of the
men credited with selecting the first Elsie at the 1939 New York
The Borden Boys were 60 young agriculture and dairy
college students recruited to handle the cows at the Borden Exhibit during
the fair. Cavanaugh, today one of only nine surviving Borden Boys,
maintains personal contact with the close-knit group. “Borden and
Elsie have a rich history, especially within the state of New York,”
Cavanaugh said. “It is gratifying and heart-warming to return to New
York with Elsie almost 70 years after the World’s Fair to participate
in this momentous event.”
Alexander Hoyt, whose family owns the original John
Gail Borden homestead and 100 acres of the famous Borden Home Farm in
Wallkill, N.Y., donated the items to the historical society. The scrapbook
was only recently discovered, while the tin portrait was found many years
ago, just after the Hoyt family purchased the homestead and farm acreage in
“Gail Borden founded one of the most enduring
brands in American history and we felt it important that this personal
scrapbook showcasing his thoughts and interests be preserved
appropriately,” Hoyt said.
Marilyn Kushner, curator and head of the Department of
Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections at New York Historical
Society, added: “We are pleased to add the Gail Borden scrapbook and
tin portrait to our library collection. Gail Borden spent much of his life
in the state of New York. He was a scientist, farmer and businessman who
revolutionized the dairy industry, so it is fitting that some of his
personal possessions have found a permanent home at the New York Historical
The Borden brand has been a fixture of Americana
through parts of three centuries, 30 U.S. presidents, two world wars, the
Great Depression and the birth of rock and roll, noted Tom Camerlo,
chairman of Dairy Farmers of America, which owns the Borden brand.
“Very few brand names have resonated with consumers over as many
decades,” he said.