Friday, May 19, 2006
The Land O'Lakes Indian Maiden
Land O'Lakes Creameries didn't start out with that name. The organization was incorporated on July 8, 1921, as the Minnesota Cooperative Creameries Association. In 1924, the association decided to expand its butter market, and a search was made for an appropriate brand name and trademark. A contest was announced to choose a name. To tie in with the golden color of butter, $500 in gold was offered as prize money.
Two contestants, Mrs. E.B. Foss and Mr. George L. Swift, offered the winning name — Land O'Lakes, a tribute to Minnesota's thousands of sparkling lakes. The name became so popular that in 1926 the association changed its corporate name to Land O'Lakes Creameries, Inc. The now-famous Indian maiden was created during the search for a brand name and trademark. Because the regions of Minnesota and Wisconsin were the legendary land of Hiawatha and Minnehaha, the idea of an Indian maiden took form.
In 1928, Land O'Lakes received a painting of an Indian maiden facing the viewer and holding a butter carton. Lakes, pines, flowers and grazing cows decorated the background. That painting inspired a new design for the butter carton, and remained until the spring of 1939, when it was simplified and modernized by Jess Betlach, a nationally recognized illustrator. Fifty years later, with only minor changes, his design continues on Land O'Lakes products.