H. Thiessen Pickle Company (Omaha, Neb.) [RG5508.AM]

HISTORY NEBRASKA MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID

RG5508.AM: H. Thiessen Pickle Company (Omaha, Neb.)

Records: 1918-1967, 2000
Omaha, Douglas County, Neb.: Pickle cannery
Size: 0.5 cu.ft.; 1 box

BACKGROUND NOTE

In 1898 the Herman Thiessen Pickle Company was founded by Herman Thiessen in his small apartment located near 38th and Leavenworth streets in Omaha, Nebraska. Three years earlier, Herman had emigrated from Germany to the city of Chicago and worked for the Claussen Pickle Company. This is where Herman gained all of his knowledge in pickle making and related products. The Pickling bottling plant owned and operated by the Thiessen Pickle Company was located at 3101 S. 24th street in Omaha. The original wooden frame building was built in 1905, with an addition built in 1921. In 1933 a new brick building was built on the same spot. At this time the company manufactured pickles made from cucumbers purchased from growers in Minnesota and Colorado. The Thiessen Company also sold pickles to other pickle companies who would market them under their own label. Thiessen’s largest customers at this time were the Heinz Company and Safeway grocery stores located in Omaha and Kansas City.

On May 1, 1946, the H. Thiessen Company was incorporated. On that date, John Herman Thiessen, Herman Thiessen, Catherine Thiessen, and Helen Thiessen all became stockholders and were elected to the Board of Directors. John H. Thiessen was elected President of the company. The company experienced a great deal of competition from other local pickle companies such as the Gedney Pickle Company, but still managed to make a significant profit.

In July of 1960 the Directors voted to sell all of the Corporation’s assets in the states of Minnesota and Colorado to the M.A. Gedney Company. It was also decided to sell the pickle inventory in Omaha, sell and junk the aging equipment at the plant, and rent out the property. These actions removed the H. Thiessen Pickle Company from the pickle business. The corporation continued in existence until late 1967 mainly to manage investments of capital.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

This collection consists of business records relating to the H. Thiessen Pickle Company of Omaha, Nebraska. Included in the collection are articles of incorporation, minutes of meetings, correspondence, product information, financial records, etc. Materials in the collection date from ca. 1918-1967.

Note: See the photo component [RG5508.PH] for Thiessen family photos and photos of the pickling business. Also included are photos relating to the 1936 Goodman vs. Thiessen lawsuit. See the moving image component [RG5508.MI] for six reels of 8mm home movie footage of the Omaha pickling and bottling plant (ca. 1940) and salting stations in Minnesota and Colorado (ca. 1950s). Two publications were transferred to the Library collection: Cucumbers for Pickling: A 1948 Survey of Literature Dealing With Their Production by Albert A Banadyga, 1949; and Campbell’s Book: A Manual on Canning, Pickling, and Preserving, by Clyde H. Campbell, 1950. Several artifacts relating to the H. Thiessen Pickle Company are also held by the Nebraska History Museum.

INVENTORY

Box 1
Folder

  1. Company history by Thomas D. Thiessen, 2001, Aug. 26
  2. Administrative records (articles of incorporation, partnership agreement, etc.)
  3. Minutes of Stockholders Meetings, 1946-1967
  4. Correspondence, 1944-1965, 2000
  5. Product information
  6. Sales and expenses, 1946-1961
  7. Inventory and wages, ca. 1956-1959
  8. Financial records, misc., ca. 1918-1962
  9. Stock book, 1946-1966
  10. Court documents, Goodman vs. Thiessen, etc.
  11. Miscellaneous (includes samples of letterhead, business cards, newspaper clippings, labels for pickles, horseradish and mustard, etc.)
    Plat map showing the location of the H. Thiessen Pickle Co. in Omaha (see oversize)

Subject headings:

Food industry and trade — Nebraska — Omaha
H. Thiessen Pickle Company (Omaha, Neb.)
Omaha (Neb.) — Businesses
Pickles

I. Hartwell/kfk 04-07-2004
Revised TMM 08-09-2011

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