Bake Sale Tidbit

Happy Tuesday! Here’s an interesting tidbit found on, about the history of bake sales.

The practice of raising funds (as well as donating labor & materials) for charitable causes dates back to the dawn of civilization. Modern bake sales descend from this venerable tradition. The general purpose of a bake sale is an inexpensive way to raise funds for a common cause. Bake sales are hosted by churches, schools, scouts, community organizations and library volunteers.

The Oxford English Dictionary (online edition) traces the first print reference to a bake sale (as a fundraising event) to 1902. This term is used in North America/USA. Earliest references pop up in local newspapers in the eastern states. By WWI, the term is common. Presumably it was a favorite way of Ladies Aid Societies to raise money for their causes. It is interesting to note that earliest reference are connected to churches. Such was also the case of ice cream socials.

“bake sale n. orig. N. Amer. a sale of donated (and usually home-made) baked goods, held as a fundraising event. 1902 Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) 21 Sept. 14/2 The ladies of the Baptist Church held a bake sale. 1949 N. JONES For Goodness’ Sake 60 You then speak of the Bake Sale the previous Saturday and grow lyrical about the home-made bread offered there. 2006 Luton Today (Nexis) 24 Mar., There were cakes galore at Ashton Middle School when it held a bake sale in aid of charity.”

[1907: New Brunswick NJ]
“The social and bake sale held at the home of Rev. E. J. Meeker under the aucpices of the ladies of the Highland Park Reformed Church last evening was a very pleasant and successful event. About thirty dollars was cleared. Violin music was rendered by Miss Catherine Craven accompanied on the piano by Miss Ethel Flemming.”<
—"Bake Sale a Success," Daily Times [New Brunswick NJ] April 20, 1907 (p. 5)


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