Class of 2023
Born into the confectionery industry, Adolph Goelitz spent his entire life involved in the business and his contributions can still be seen today, almost 90 years after his death.
Adolph was born on May 30, 1870, to Gustav Goelitz and Helena Hugg. He grew up in Belleville, IL, with eight siblings — Gustav Jr., Augusta, Herman, Joanna, Helena, Armin, Carl and Frieda. Of these, Adolph, Gustav Jr., Herman and Joanna would play pivotal roles in the family’s future businesses.
In 1888, Adolph entered the world of candy at the age of 18, joining Goelitz Brothers Candy Co., in St Louis. Overall, he spent 47 years in the confectionery industry.
In 1893, Adolph married Anna Marie Jun and a year later he and his brother Gustav opened a new storefront business in Belleville, A&G Goelitz Confectionery Co.
Not long after, Adolph headed to Richmond, IN, and took a job with the Richardson-Weber Candy Co., while Gustav stayed behind to run A&G Goelitz.
Four years later, he was once again on the move, relocating to Cincinnati inspired by the city’s larger population and access to rail lines and the Ohio River for shipping. There he partnered with Rudolph C. Boger to create Boger & Goelitz Confectionery.
It was during this time that Adolph began shifting the focus of the business from hard candies to mellocremes. The Boger & Goelitz letterhead proudly proclaimed the candymakers to be “Royal Creamery Specialists.”
Mellocreme candy was much more difficult to make, but the exacting process produced a confection that was rich and delicious. The family began to make gourmet candy corn, a type of mellocreme, in the Cincinnati factory. The product was so successful that it carried the company through two world wars and the Great Depression.
In 1901, Adolph’s father passed away, leaving him in the role of head of the family. Soon after, his mother, along with the rest of the family moved to Cincinnati, settling in the Hyde Park neighborhood of the city.
Active in the industry, Adolph was elected to the executive committee of the Cincinnati Confectioners Club in 1907 and was later honored at a dinner hosted by the club. He was a long-time member of the NCA, as well as local candy associations.
Adolph and Herman left Cincinnati in 1909, shutting down the factory and moving operations to Chicago, where Gustav and their brother-in-law Edward Kelley had set up a factory in 1904. By 1913, they had again moved the company, now known as The Goelitz Confectionery Co., to North Chicago.
Generations later, this company was merged with his brother’s company, Herman Goelitz Candy Co., and in 2001 it became Jelly Belly Candy Co.
In 1914, Adolph formed a partnership with Peter Schleuter, the inventor of a revolutionary vacuum cooker for hard candy. The two went on to manufacture the cooker under the name Schlueter & Goelitz and it became known as the Simplex Cooker. One of these original machines is still used today at Knechtel Laboratories, Inc.
Adolph was heavily involved in the industry outside of owning and operating his own businesses. Because of his friendship with Earl Allured, he played a role in launching The Manufacturing Confectioner, a magazine devoted to the technical aspects of candy production. Adolph served as a vice-president of the publishing company until his death.
During his life, Adolph had a passion for growing things — his company, his community and his family. He believed in the promise of the future. He was in the candy industry most of his life, whether in an active role or supporting others in the industry.
Adolph died in July of 1935 at the age of 65.