Parks Sausage Company photograph and ephemera collection
The Parks Sausage Company was founded in 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland by entrepreneur Henry G. Parks, Jr. and became the first African American-owned business to be publicly traded on the New York Stock exchange. The collection consists of black and white photographs and ephemera related to the company and Henry Parks from 1960-1983.
- circa 1960-1967, 1983
- Parks Sausage Company (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Conditions Governing Use
The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.
Biographical / Historical
Henry G. Parks, Jr. (1916-1989) opened the Parks Sausage Company in an abandoned dairy in Baltimore, Maryland in 1951. The company was successful and sold its products along the east coast, from Virginia to Massachusetts, with their slogan “More Parks Sausages, Mom” becoming popular across the northeast. The company became the first African American owned business to be publicly traded on the New York Stock exchange. By the 1970s, the company employed over 300 employees, and was known for its high standards of production and cleanliness.
Henry G. Parks Jr., owner and founder of the Parks Sausage Company, was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1916 to parents Henry G. Parks, Sr. and Gainelle Esther Williams. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University. Parks studied business and marketing at Ohio State, where he earned honors and was the only Black student in the marketing department. His professor encouraged him to move to South America after graduation, so that he could learn Spanish and pass himself off as a South American among white businessmen in the United States. Parks instead chose to stay in America, despite the challenges that came with working in a majority white business. After working in marketing and public relations jobs, in 1951 he decided to open his own business and started the Parks Sausage Company, creating his own recipes for the products. In 1977, Parks sold his share of the company for $1.58 million.
In addition to his company, Parks was involved in public organizations and politics, notably the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Urban League, among others, and served on the Baltimore City Council from 1963-1969. He was encouraged to become the first Black mayor of Baltimore, but instead stepped out of politics, citing his business conflicts. He died in 1989 of Parkinson’s disease.
0.8 Linear Feet (1 box; 1 oversize folder)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Dr. Maurice W. Dorsey, January 1991.
Dorsey, John. "HENRY PARKS: The Man Behind the Sausage: At 59, He is a Scarred and Handsome Loner." The Sun (1837-), Jul 27, 1975. https://washcoll.idm.oclc.org/historical-newspapers/henry-parks-man-behind-sausage/docview/535542061/se-2.
Dorsey, Maurice W. “Henry Green Parks, Jr. (1916-1989),” Black Past, September 12, 2014. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/people-african-american-history/parks-henry-green-jr-1916-1989-0/.
Simpson, Ralph. "Henry Parks is Black and Proud." The Sun (1837-), Oct 03, 1971. https://washcoll.idm.oclc.org/historical-newspapers/henry-parks-is-black-proud/docview/533814156/se-2.
Smith, Jane A. and Dennis O'Brien. "Henry Parks, Civil Rights and Business Leader, Dies." The Sun (1837-), Apr 25, 1989. https://washcoll.idm.oclc.org/historical-newspapers/henry-parks-civil-rights-business-leader-dies/docview/1639322308/se-2.
Scope and Contents
The Parks Sausage Company photograph and ephemera collection consists of black and white photographs and ephemera related to the company and its founder, Henry G. Parks, Jr. from approximately 1960 - 1983. The collection is arranged in two series: Series I: Photographs, and Series II: Ephemera.
Series I: Photographs consists of 18 black and white photographs depicting workers manufacturing sausage, Henry Parks in his office, and workers operating sausage manufacturing equipment.
Series II: Ephemera consists of two certificates awarded to Henry G. Parks, Jr. for the Miller Award and Distinguished Citizenship award.
- Parks Sausage Company (Organization)
- Parks, Henry G., Jr., 1916-1989 (Person)
- Guide to the Parks Sausage Company photograph and ephemera collection
- Hilde Perrin
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository
H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States