Welcome to the stage: the Spamettes!

The Hormel Girls at a training in Hollywood. Date unknown. Eleanor Jones Papers, McIntyre Library Special Collections and Archives.  

World War II was over, the economy was booming, and the airwaves were full of the latest songs. One of the most prominent radio sponsors of the day, Hormel Foods, piped ads for SPAM and Hormel Chili into living rooms across the country, along with exuberant performances from the Music with the Hormel Girls program.

From 1946 to 1953, a traveling musical troupe known as the Hormel Girls brought together a group of female military veterans to promote and sell Hormel products. Popularly referred to as the Spamettes, the women traveled across the country selling products in grocery stores, ringing doorbells, and performing in radio and TV specials.

What started as a drum and bugle corps created by company president Jay Hormel soon evolved into a highly successful advertising strategy for the company. But while Hormel may have monetized the women's military service and femininity, the women marched past societal and gender limitations of the era to achieve financial independence, forge life-long friendships, and travel the US from coast to coast. 

Follow the journey of the Hormel Girls through the experiences of Eleanor Jones, a Cornell, Wisconsin native who was forever changed by her experiences with the group. 

Photo courtesey of Hormel Foods Corp. 

Flyer promoting a Music with the Hormel Girls radio broadcast in Boston, Massachusets.  Eleanor Jones Papers, McIntryre Library Special Collections and Archives. 

 “S-P-A-M! The first meat of its kind in America preferred by most people! SPAM! Over eleven years ago the news sensation of the meat packing industry, SPAM. Today, this miracle meat of many uses continues to maintain its leadership from coast to coast.” 

                                     - 1948 radio advertisement for from Hormel Foods